Oct. 17, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
This week's game between the Wyoming Cowboys and Fresno State Bulldogs will be the renewal of an old conference rivalry between the two schools as Fresno State begins its first season as a member of the Mountain West Conference. Saturday's game will kick off at 8:30 p.m., Mountain Time (7:30 p.m., Pacific Time) from Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif.
Wyoming (1-5 overall and 0-2 in the MW) and Fresno State (4-3, 2-1 in the MW) have met on the football field seven previous times. From 1992-97, Wyoming and Fresno State played each other for six consecutive seasons as members of the Western Athletic Conference. The two schools split those six meetings 3-3. The only previous meeting that wasn't a conference game was the most recent meeting in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl, in which Wyoming defeated Fresno State 35-28 in a thrilling double overtime game in Albuquerque, N.M.
This week's meeting between the Wyoming Cowboys and Fresno State Bulldogs will feature two of the Mountain West's and nation's top quarterbacks in Wyoming sophomore Brett Smith and Fresno State junior Derek Carr. The two have ranked among the nation's leaders all season. Based on their averages entering this week, Smith and Carr rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Mountain West Conference in passing efficiency and total offense. Carr leads the league in passing yards, while Smith ranks second.
The top two wide receivers will also be featured in this week's Wyoming-Fresno State matchup. Wyoming senior Chris McNeill and Fresno State freshman Davante Adams currently lead the Mountain West in receiving yards. Those two and FS running back Robbie Rouse are the top three in the MW in catches.
Wyoming's offensive attack has also been bolstered by the performance of three true freshmen in its backfield this season. Freshmen Jason Thompson at quarterback and D.J. May and Shaun Wick at running back combined for 248 yards rushing versus Air Force last week. May led the way with 94 rushing yards. Wick ran for 79, and Thompson had 75. Thompson, making his first start at quarterback for the injured Smith, also completed 23 of 36 passes (63.9 percent) for 195 yards and one touchdown. Thompson accounted for 270 yards of total offense on the day versus the Falcons.
On defense, the Cowboys enjoyed their second consecutive outstanding performance against the run. It held Air Force to 230 rushing yards - 160 yards under its 390-yard average - and it held the nation's leading rusher, Cody Getz of Air Force, to only 41 rushing yards - 136 yards below his average.
Fresno State's defense is ranked No. 2 in the conference and No. 29 nationally, allowing opponents only 338 yards per game, and they are one of the nation's best defenses against the pass. The Bulldogs give up only 178.3 yards passing per game, ranking them No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 16 in the NCAA.
Both teams' pass defenses will be tested as Fresno State leads the league in passing and ranks 19th in the NCAA, averaging 308.4 yards through the air. Wyoming ranks fourth in the Mountain West and 47th in the nation, averaging 252.2 yards per game
Saturday's game will be broadcast on radio over the 25 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show one hour before kickoff. The game will also be televised live by ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain and ROOT Sports Northwest.