SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The Fresno State Bulldogs, having won seven of their last nine contests. take a four-game winning streak into their meeting with Georgia Tech in the Silicon Valley Classic.
It took a while, but the Bulldogs are finally prospering without David Carr, the top pick in this year's NFL draft and the starting quarterback for the expansion Houston Texans.
If anything, Fresno State (8-5) is more balanced this year. While quarterback Paul Pinegar earned Western Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year honors after passing for 2,741 yards and 20 touchdowns, Rodney Davis rushed for 1,433 yards and seven TDs, including a career-high 221 in the the Bulldogs' season-ending 43-19 victory over Louisiana Tech.
Pinegar's favorite target is Marque Davis, who has 64 receptions for 956 yards and seven scores. The Bulldogs also have one of the nation's best kickers in Asen Asparuhov, who converted 20-of-26 field goal attempts.
Fresno State went 6-2 in the WAC, finishing third behind Boise State and Hawaii.
"The perception is that they spread it around and throw it all over the ballpark," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "But they're a physically tough team. Their offensive line is big and strong."
Georgia Tech (7-5) is making a school record-tying sixth straight bowl appearance, matching the mark set by Bobby Dodd from 1951-56. However, the Yellow Jackets will need to rebound from a 51-7 drubbing to Georgia in the regular season finale, their worst loss since a 49-3 setback to Florida State in 1996.
In addition, Georgia Tech will be without its top two running backs, Tony Hollings and Gordon Clinkscale, who are sidelined with injuries. Hollings has been out since the fourth game of the season.
Filling the void are a trio of inexperienced backs - redshirt freshman P.J. Daniels and true freshmen Ajenani Eziemefe and Michael Sampson.
Georgia Tech likely will rely heavily on its experienced group of wide receivers in Kerry Watkins (66 receptions), Will Glover (47) and Jonathan Smith (35). A.J. Suggs passed for 2,202 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Georgia Tech has an all-time bowl record of 20-10, including a 24-14 victory over Stanford in last year's Seattle Bowl.
Fresno State, which is facing a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time, is 6-6 in the postseason. The Bulldogs are making their third straight appearance in the Silicon Valley Classic, but lost their two previous trips, 37-34 to Air Force in 2000 and 44-35 to Michigan State last season.