The much-anticipated duel between top senior quarterbacks Derek Carr and David Fales more than lived up to expectations, combining for 1,066 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns in a wild 62-52 San Jose State win over Fresno State on Friday.
With no fewer than 15 NFL scouts scheduled to attend, both Fales and Carr more than solidified their pro prospects. Fales was 37-of-45 passing for a school-record 547 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Carr was 38 of 50 for 519 yards, six touchdowns and one interception.
All 12 passing touchdowns came in the first half, as the Spartans and Bulldogs combined for 1,006 yards of total offense, 83 points and 45 first downs in the opening 30 minutes.
"If you love offense, this is the game you want to be at," NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci, a Bay Area resident, said during a sideline interview.
Carr, regarded as a possible first-round draft pick in the mold ofDallas Cowboys' signal-caller Tony Romo, showed off his outstanding arm strength throughout. At one point in the first half, Carr threw the ball 40 yards from the near hash mark to the other end of the field and out of bounds while falling backward under pressure.
Carr also showed off his underrated mobility, rushing for 32 yards on eight carries and moving well in the pocket to avoid pressure.
The younger brother of former No. 1 overall pick David Carr, Derek (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) has all the prototypical attributes of a franchise quarterback. With the likes Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Brett Hundley of UCLA struggling down the stretch and more likely to return to school now than they were at midseason, it shouldn't be a surprise if Carr ends up going in the first half of the first round after totaling 4,462 yards and 45 touchdowns against five interceptions with two games remaining.
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But the real revelation was Fales, showcasing an effective deep ball to go along with his outstanding accuracy. Fales hit on his first 13 pass attempts to start the game, and a Fales pass didn't hit the ground through the first 18:21 of the game, including a 75-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Nunn.
Once regarded as a quarterback that would have to be managed within the structure of a West Coast offense, Fales looked well rounded enough to be a potential option on Day 2 of the draft, especially if the expected waves of underclassmen do not declare for the draft.
The other noteworthy prospect in action, Fresno State redshirt sophomore Davante Adams, also excelled. Adams had 13 receptions for 264 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came in the first quarter.
For San Jose State, Nunn had 10 receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and teammate Tyler Winston added 10 receptions for 164 yards and one touchdown.
San Jose State became bowl eligible with the win, whereas Fresno State's hopes of reaching a BCS bowl came to an end.