SAN DIEGO (AP) - Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr will be playing in an NFL stadium Saturday as the No. 15 Bulldogs face San Diego State.
This time next season, Carr, a senior, should be in one on a regular basis.
"He was an NFL-type player last year," San Diego State coach Rocky Long said. "He's even more prepared for the NFL now. I was hoping he would come out (into the NFL draft) early. He reads defenses really well, he's very calm in the pocket and he's very accurate with the ball. What else can he be?"
The task facing the Aztecs (3-3, 2-0 Mountain West) is stopping Carr with the nation's 109th-ranked pass defense. If not, they'll become just another speed bump for Fresno State (6-0, 3-0).
Carr, the younger brother of former NFL quarterback David Carr, ranks second nationally with 379.8 yards passing per game and 23 touchdown passes. When comparing his numbers through the first six games to the last five Heisman-winning quarterbacks, Carr's statistics are better.
"He's really good," SDSU defensive lineman Cody Galea said. "He releases the ball fairly quickly. Most of the time, if you get a nice pass rush, the ball is going to be gone."
Carr and Oregon State's Sean Mannion are the only quarterbacks in the nation who have four games this season with over 400 yards passing and four or more touchdown passes. Carr, who is 216 of 307 with 2,276 yards, delivers the ball fast and has been sacked just three times.
"It's going to be a whole defensive effort," Galea said. "We have to get there fast, help the defensive backs out, all that good stuff. It has to be a big mesh of just getting after him."
Carr isn't perfect — he has four interceptions — but he's pretty close as he excels in the Bulldogs' hurry-up, spread offense that averages 89 plays a game.
"He has a strong arm, throws the deep-ball well and he has three outstanding wide receivers that go get it," Long said.
Five things to watch when Fresno State faces San Diego State:
TOP TARGETS: Carr is the star but he's blessed to be aiming for top-notch targets. WR Davante Adams has seven touchdowns in his last two games. Adams, who has 11 scoring receptions this season, has played in 19 games and has tied the school record for most career touchdown catches at 25. Others the Aztecs' secondary have to be concerned with are WRs Isaiah Burse (459 yards, two touchdowns) and Josh Harper (344 yards, seven touchdowns).
AZTEC RUNNER: Donnel Pumphrey is proving to be a quick study. Pumphrey, a freshman, has supplied the Aztecs' running game with a jolt. He's the first SDSU freshman since Marshall Faulk to rush for at least 100 yards in three straight games, and only the 11th to do so in school history. He's helped the Aztecs sweep their last three games by rushing 47 times for 396 yards (an 8.4 yard average) and five touchdowns.
TOUGH TO BLOCK: Ejiro Ederaine is hard to say and tougher to block. His name is pronounced A-Dro Ed-er-EYE-nay and the outside linebacker is becoming a pest to opposing quarterbacks. Ederaine has started only the last three games but leads the Bulldogs with five sacks. He is averaging one tackle for loss a game and overall has 22 tackles, one pass defensed and a quarterback hurry.
LOCKETT IN: Colin Lockett, an all-everything weapon for the Aztecs, returned to play against Air Force after missing the previous game with a concussion. In his career, Lockett has returned a school-record three kickoffs for touchdowns, led the Aztecs in receptions in games 12 times and had team highs in receiving yards in nine games. This year, Lockett has caught 24 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown, added 255 yards in kickoff returns and rushed twice for 52 yards.
OLD OIL CAN: The winning team will rally around this trophy, which signifies the long history between these schools as they meet for the 53rd time. An old oil can from Fresno (circa 1935) was supposedly found years ago during a construction project at San Diego State. In the early days of this rivalry, fans made the challenging trip over Highway 99, often carrying extra cans of oil and water in their cars.