Rutgers at Fresno State

Fresno State outlasts Rutgers 52-51 in OT barnburner wire reports

FRESNO, Calif. -- As soon as Rutgers' 2-point attempt tipped off Brandon Coleman's finger tips and fell to the ground, Derek Carr fell to his knees in relief.

His emotional month ended with a memorable victory.

Carr threw his fifth touchdown pass on the opening play of overtime and Fresno State stopped the 2-point try on the next possession to beat Rutgers 52-51 in the season opener Thursday night.

"It's the craziest game I've ever been a part of," Carr said.

The victory came two days after Carr's son, Dallas, finally got to come home after spending his first three weeks in neonatal intensive care because of digestive tract defects. Carr spent much of fall camp shuttling between the practice field and the hospital, not telling teammates of his family's ordeal until his son made it home healthy.

"I was overcome with emotion," Carr said about his postgame reaction. "I think my son made me soft. I balled my eyes out."

After Kyle Federico missed a 43-yard field goal on the final play of regulation for the Scarlet Knights, Carr capitalized right away by lobbing a 25-yard pass to Greg Watson to give the Bulldogs the lead.

Gary Nova answered with his fifth TD pass of the game to Brandon Coleman. But coach Kyle Flood opted to go for the win and Nova's pass tipped off Coleman's finger tips to end the game.

"We had the ball in the hands of two of our better players," Flood said. "It was just a little bit off his finger tips and a little bit too wide, whatever you want to say. Ultimately, I'll be judged by those decisions but I don't regret it. With both those players, I'd do it again if I had the opportunity."

Carr completed a Mountain West and school-record 53 of 74 passes for 470 yards to start his senior season off with a win. He focused mostly on three receivers with Davante Adams and Josh Harper each catching 14 passes and Isaiah Burse adding 13.

Nova threw for 348 yards, Paul James ran for 182 yards and freshman Janarion Grant returned a kick 100 yards for a score the first time he touched the ball in college but it wasn't enough to beat Carr and the Bulldogs.

The game went to overtime only after Kyle Federico missed a 43-yard field goal wide right on the final play of a roller-coaster fourth quarter that featured four touchdown passes, one made field goal and a sequence of three turnovers in three plays.

"It was a 15-round fight," Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said "Both heavyweights were throwing haymakers and landing them. I'm just happy that we got up every single time."

Nova threw two TD passes, including a go-ahead 30-yarder to Leonte Carroo with 1:18 remaining. But Carr answered that with his second touchdown pass of the quarter when he threw a 2-yarder to Justin Harper with 38 seconds left.

Instead of playing for overtime, Rutgers came out throwing and Nova completed four passes to move the ball to the 26 to set up a potential winning kick. But after making his first three kicks of the game, Federico missed at a crucial time.

"We've got to learn how to finish drives early in the game and put good teams like Fresno away," Coleman said. "They were one point better than us tonight."

Rutgers used two long runs by James in the third quarter to set up a pair of scores that gave the Scarlet Knights a 31-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Fresno State started fast by taking the opening kickoff and driving 74 yards for a score when Josh Quezada ran it in on fourth-and-1 from the 3.

Rutgers responded with 20 straight points with Grant's kickoff return and a 69-yard TD pass from Nova to Leonte Carroo.

The Scarlet Knights looked ready to take control when Carr appeared to lose a fumble on a shotgun snap in his own territory. But the call was overturned on replay because Carr briefly had possession with his knee down.

The Bulldogs took advantage of the call when Grant muffed a punt at his own 41, setting up Malique Micenheimer's 1-yard run. Fresno State took a 21-20 lead when Carr found Adams for a 2-yard score with a second left in the half.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Fresno State's Derek Carr completes 53 of 74 passes for 470 yards and five touchdowns, the last in overtime.  (USATSI)
Fresno State's Derek Carr completes 53 of 74 passes for 470 yards and five touchdowns, the last in overtime. (USATSI)

Related Video

Scoring Summary
FRESNOJosh Quezada 3 yd run (Colin McGuire kick)
RUTJanarion Grant 100 yd kick return (Kyle Federico kick)
RUTKyle Federico 48 yd FG
RUTLeonte Carroo 69 yd pass from Gary Nova (Kyle Federico kick)
RUTKyle Federico 29 yd FG
FRESNOMalique Micenheimer 1 yd run (Colin McGuire kick)
FRESNODavante Adams 2 yd pass from Derek Carr (Colin McGuire kick)
RUTKyle Federico 18 yd FG
FRESNOJosh Harper 11 yd pass from Derek Carr (Colin McGuire kick)
RUTBrandon Coleman 1 yd pass from Gary Nova (GARY NOVA 2pt run)
FRESNODavante Adams 20 yd pass from Derek Carr (Colin McGuire kick)
RUTLeonte Carroo 13 yd pass from Gary Nova (Kyle Federico kick)
FRESNOColin McGuire 47 yd FG
RUTLeonte Carroo 30 yd pass from Gary Nova (Kyle Federico kick)
FRESNOJosh Harper 2 yd pass from Derek Carr (Colin McGuire kick)
FRESNOGreg Watson 25 yd pass from Derek Carr (Colin McGuire kick)
RUTBrandon Coleman 4 yd pass from Gary Nova (failed 2pt pass)
Team Stats
First Downs2233
Third Down Efficiency3-145-18
Fourth Down Efficiency2-22-2
Plays-Net Yards73-54397-551
Passing Yds348470
Kick Return Yds113181
Punt Return Yds-147
Time of Poss.31:4828:12
Individual Stats
RUT: Paul James 22-182, Savon Huggins 6-15, Gary Nova 3-0, Team 1--2
FRESNO: Marteze Waller 8-30, Josh Quezada 7-29, Derek Carr 4-24, Malique Micenheimer 3-1, Greg Watson 1--3
RUT: Gary Nova 26-41-348-1
FRESNO: Derek Carr 53-74-470-1
RUT: Brandon Coleman 10-105, Leonte Carroo 4-124, Ruhann Peele 4-31, Quron Pratt 3-47, Michael Burton 2-14, Paul Carrezola 1-11, Paul James 1-9, Tyler Kroft 1-7
FRESNO: Davante Adams 14-148, Josh Harper 14-94, Isaiah Burse 13-118, Josh Quezada 4-21, Greg Watson 2-33, Marcel Jensen 2-25, Marteze Waller 2-17, Malique Micenheimer 2-14
Rutgers7th Big Ten East0-92-10
Fresno State6th Mountain West West0-81-11

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