The best quarterback battle of the college football season wrapped up in California on Friday afternoon as the San Jose State Spartans beat the undefeated Fresno State Bulldogs 62-52. Derek Carr was unable to keep his Bulldogs’ hopes for a BCS Bowl alive, but David Fales led the Spartans to their sixth victory of the year, making them bowl eligible for the second time under the senior quarterbacks two-year reign.
Although it was the lesser-known Fales who shone the most of the two quarterbacks, both rose their draft stock in the Friday afternoon shootout. Both quarterbacks threw for over 500 yards, and actually set this season’s record for most combined passing yards in a game with 1,066 yards between the two. They both showed off their NFL-caliber arms throughout the game, but Fales’ running ability was likely what put the Spartans offense over the hump and allowed them to score 62 points.
Because it is just Fales’ second season as the starter for the Spartans, and he lacks the elite arm strength that Carr possesses, he isn’t seen as a first-round pick, and will likely be selected in the third- or fourth-round. Fales, however, did all he could to raise his draft stock as he showed off his down field arm strength, and threw for a career high 547 yards. His accuracy was seen throughout the day as he made quite a few impressive red zone throws, and totaled an astounding seven touchdowns, one of which came on the ground.
Carr was equally impressive for most of the contest as he showed off his elite arm strength by zipping the ball on a line for shorter throws, and had incredible ball placement on his deep throws as well. The main knock on Carr is his sloppy footwork, which was seen on many timing routes, and was ultimately the reason he threw a late-game interception that ultimately sealed the Spartans victory.
Carr’s interception ended his streak of 304 pass attempts without a pick thrown, and it came at the worst time possible as the Spartans were able to run six minutes off the clock before settling for a field goal. Carr responded well after the interception however as he led the Bulldogs down the field in a must score situation, and left with eight more points after a successful two-point conversion.
While Carr is already seen as a first-round talent by many draft evaluators, he showed the ability to lead a dominant offense in a high-pressure game on the road, and although he left with the loss, will remain a first day talent that many NFL teams are hoping to build around. Fales improved is draft stock the most of the two as he had the biggest game of his college career against an undefeated and 16th ranked Bulldogs squad. While it’s not the same competition Fales would face if he played in the SEC or Big 10, he displays great mechanics when throwing the ball, and has the type of accuracy and decision making that is comparable to AJ McCarron, a player whom many see as a top five quarterback.