DEREK CARR, QUARTERBACK
No Bulldog has more motivation to beat the Broncos, or is more important to the effort, than Carr. The younger brother of former Fresno State star David Carr lives with a Boise State flag on his wall a message from his older brother. He cant take down the flag unless he beats the Broncos, who spoiled Davids senior season with an upset in Fresno.
My wife is begging me to take it down, Carr said. Im going to do my best.
Carr is the triggerman for the Bulldogs spread attack and it has been a perfect fit. He has thrown 18 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. His quick release, accuracy and decision-making allow him to get the ball to the Bulldogs stable of speedy playmakers in open space.
He also can run enough to avoid rushers and move the chains.
He gets in and out of his reads very quickly, the ball is out of his hands, Boise State defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. That goes to coaching, and also you can tell hes a very smart man, because he knows when he needs to get the ball out.
ROBBIE ROUSE, TAILBACK
The slippery Rouse, the schools career rushing leader, has become a dual threat in the Bulldogs offense. He leads the team with 711 rushing yards well on his way to a third straight 1,000-yard season and is second with a career-high 33 catches. He averages 27.5 touches and 153.2 yards from scrimmage per game with 10 touchdowns.
Hes about 5-foot-6, maybe 190 pounds, and probably has as big of a heart as anybody Ive been around coaching football, first-year Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said. Tremendous character, which I think he displays all the time when hes on the field. He has great balance and vision and determination, and in our offense hes a key, key cog because we spread people out. He doesnt need much room.
Rouse has 34 carries for 195 yards in three games against the Broncos.
I personally like those backs who are a little bit shorter, powerful, kind of hide behind the O-line, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. He has a nice blend of power and low center of gravity that can make you miss.
PHILLIP THOMAS, SAFETY
Thomas sustained a broken leg and dislocated ankle in a non-contact drill three days before the 2011 season opener. He missed the entire year. Hes made up for it this season grabbing a national-best six interceptions, giving him 11 in his career. He already is tied for second in Mountain West history for single-season interceptions.