Fresno State quarterback is a man on a mission

Fresno State QB Derek Carr wants to go out on a high note as a senior — and notch his first win over Boise State.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.com © 2013 Idaho StatesmanSeptember 18, 2013 

Fresno State senior quarterback Derek Carr has been “given more authority” by coach Tim DeRuyter to operate the Bulldogs’ spread offense. Through two games, Carr has made the most of it, as the Bulldogs offense has scored a combined 93 points in wins over Rutgers and Cal Poly. “If we make any minor mistakes, we know he’ll capitalize,” Boise State safety Darian Thompson said.

  • CARR CRASH

    The Carr brothers vs. Boise State

    Though Fresno State senior quarterback Derek Carr has tried to downplay what could be his last matchup against Boise State, it is the last chance for the Carr brothers to win a regular season game against the Broncos. The two programs still could meet in the Mountain West championship game in December.

    Here is how Derek and his brother, David, have fared in starts against Boise State:

    Oct. 19, 2001: BSU 35, Fresno State 30

    Future NFL No. 1 pick David Carr completed 30-of-49 passes for 345 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, but was sacked late as the Broncos busted the Bulldogs’ BCS hopes.

    Oct. 7, 2011: BSU 57, Fresno State 7

    Derek Carr, playing at home, completed 17-of-30 passes for 126 yards with an interception, the only game where he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass as a starter.

    Oct. 13, 2012: BSU 20, Fresno State 10

    In his only appearance in Bronco Stadium, Derek Carr completed 29-of-43 passes for 266 yards with one touchdown and an interception in Boise State territory.

Derek Carr was the Mountain West offensive player of the year in 2012 after he threw for a league-record 4,104 yards with 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

But that was not reason to celebrate, the senior quarterback said this week.

“Turning on the film from last year makes me sick when I look at myself,” said Carr, who struggled all season with an abdominal tear just above the groin.

Through two games this season, heading into Friday’s home game against Boise State, Carr is off to a strong start that puts him on pace for a bigger 2013.

In a pair of wins, Carr has completed 74-of-104 passes (71.2 percent) for 661 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.

“I like how I’m playing this year,” he said.

Click here for video of Carr discussing this week's game against Boise State

There are a handful of reasons to believe Carr’s senior season might be even better in his second season in coach Tim DeRuyter’s up-tempo, spread system. First, there is a better understanding of the offense — and the increased knowledge coupled with the fast pace has earned him the right to call quite a few plays on his own. And there’s the fact Carr is healthy — he played all of last season with the abdominal tear.

“It affected us gameplan-wise, we couldn’t move the pocket like we wanted to at times,” DeRuyter said. “… I think all those things add up to him being more efficient and more effective because we can move at a faster rate with him.”

With his regained health, it allows Carr to play with a little less fear. He has five carries for 35 yards, including a 16-yarder on a fourth-and-3 that set up a third quarter touchdown pass in the Bulldogs’ 52-51 overtime win over Rutgers on Aug. 30.

“It’s funny to say from the quarterback position, but I’m trying to play more physical,” Carr said. “In the pocket, I try and be better against pressure.”

Carr is also playing for more than a conference championship or a better slot in the NFL Draft. His first-born son, Dallas, spent the first three weeks of his life in the hospital in August with an intestinal issue that required two surgeries.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen, whom Carr said “is one of the best coaches about ever,” can relate — his son Sam, battled a brain tumor when he was just a 1 year old. Petersen said he is looking forward to speaking with Carr on Friday prior to the game, but is not necessarily excited to face him on the field.

“He’s been playing for a long time — I cannot believe he’s still there,” Petersen said. “He has a great command of what they’re doing and he can throw. He’s got really good arm talent.

“He’s a heck of a player, a good guy.”

Petersen recruited Carr in high school, though he opted to follow in his brother David’s footsteps to Fresno State — which saw a rivalry created when the Broncos went into Bulldog Stadium in 2001 and upset the then-No. 8 Bulldogs, 35-30, with David Carr then a senior.

Twelve years later, Derek Carr is a senior, and again the Bulldogs are ranked, No. 25 in the latest USA Today coaches’ poll. A Boise State flag that served as a motivator, placed in Derek’s house by his brother, was taken down this summer — “I felt it was just a distraction to the team,” he said.

Still, from his family to the community, Carr knows Friday could be his last shot to beat Boise State, though the two teams could end up in the Mountain West championship game in December.

“I think they want to beat (Boise State) as bad as I do,” Carr said. “That’s how it always is.”

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