"Any time you're in the Top 25 people are going to be targeting you," said Coach DeRuyter. "We expect everyone's best shot. We talk about it with our team, and we welcome the challenge."
First place in the West Division of the Mountain West will be on the line in Saturday's Homecoming clash against UNLV. The Bulldogs say they will be ready.
"To us, whoever we play, we put the target on their back," said Bulldogs Quarterback Derek Carr. "We prepare, we play physical during the game and during practice as if the target is on their back and they're the team that's number one in the nation. So it doesn't matter who we play. Our mentality for this whole year is we're going to put the target on our opponents back and we're going to go get it."
And they'll need to be at their best against at Rebels squad that has won four games in a row, the most recent a 39-37 thriller at home over Hawaii this past Saturday.
"Teams that do that, there's a certain moxie that you gain by learning how to win games that are tight," said Coach DeRuyter. "A lot of teams can't do that, and the more you do that the more confidence you have."
"It says a lot about when you turn the film on and you see a team playing with effort, because it says what they feel and care about their coach," added Carr. "They believe in their coach and you can tell by the way they run around chasing the football."
A busy Homecoming Saturday on campus will culminate with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Bulldog Stadium.