Dec. 11, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The New Mexico Bowl kicked off its 2009 list of festivities with a Team Announcement Luncheon on Thursday at the Four Hills Country Club in Albuquerque. Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen and Fresno State head coach Pat Hill spoke to a crowd of New Mexico Bowl sponsors, volunteers and local media.
Also speaking to the gathering were Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman and Fresno State Athletics Director Thomas Boeh.
The Cowboys will be making their first bowl appearance since 2004, when they defeated UCLA, 24-21, in the Las Vegas Bowl. Fresno State will be making its second consecutive appearance in the New Mexico Bowl, having lost to Colorado State a year ago by a score of 40-35.
Cowboy fans can buy tickets to this year's New Mexico Bowl by going online HERE, or by calling (800) 922-9461. This year's game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 19 and will kick off at 2:30 p.m., Mountain Time.
Additional fan packages and information about both teams can be found at Wyoming's Bowl Central page.
Following are some of the comments from both head coaches at Thursday's Team Announcement Luncheon.
QUOTES FROM THE FOUR HILLS TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT LUNCHEON & PRESS CONFERENCE
Wyoming Head Coach Dave Christensen
"Our state is excited, from border to border. We have not been to a lot of bowl games in the past few years so everyone is really excited about it. They were excited about the football season and my first year there. Now with a bowl game, I think we will have a great fan following down here. They followed us all around the country this year. We had a couple thousand down at Florida Atlantic, and we had a huge contingent in Fort Collins for the Border War."
"As far as our football team, the interesting thing is that not one kid on the team has been to a bowl game. They are thrilled and excited. They have never experienced anything like this."
"It is a great feeling to know that our players bought in to and believe in our system, our program and what we are trying to get done. Our senior class, the 16 seniors, have done a tremendous job of laying the foundation for what this program is all about and providing unbelievable leadership throughout the year."
"I do like the match-up. Fresno State is a very good football team. Pat Hill has done a tremendous job. It will be a physical team on both sides of the ball. They are well coached and he is the guy who has built that program and has sustained a winning program which is the mark of a great coach. We know they are a very good football team. We are a young football team, we have played 12 true freshmen. We're playing with a true freshman unrecruited walk-on kicker (Ian Watts) who has won three games for us. We have a true freshman quarterback (Austyn Carta-Samuels), who was named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year. Our kids play hard and have won four of our games six games with fourth-quarter comebacks so they understand what it takes to compete at the end."
"He is a special kid who I felt after the Colorado game gave us our best chance as a starter to lead the football team and he has done just that. He's played exceptionally well and done a nice job of leading by example and making plays with his feet. Making good decisions with the football is probably one of the biggest things he's done to give us an opportunity to win and get to a bowl game. We went from 36 turnovers at Wyoming last year to 13 this year."
"I would hope that they are rooting for the Mountain West. It is my first year in the league and it's not like there is any real history between me coaching at Wyoming and our team and New Mexico. Our game against New Mexico this year could have gone either way but we got them in our element."
Fresno State Head Coach Pat Hill
"I think it is good. Wyoming has a lot of tradition and it is the second year in a row that we are going to be playing against a team that is having a rebirth. I think those match-ups are always real positive when you are playing against a team that is coming in for the first time. They are going to be excited to play and it will be a tough game and an emotional game."
"Fresno State and Wyoming are just porch lights for the city of Albuquerque and it is our job to put on a show for ESPN and the national audience and let them know what this city is all about and I think it is great. Last year the game between ourselves and Colorado State had the biggest rating ever for this bowl game and hopefully we can have another great rating this year. The time of the game, Dec. 19, is really a great time because it is the first game on. A lot of people tune in early to the bowls before Christmas but as the bowl season goes on, a lot of people tune out until the end. To be the first game up really helps not only our two teams for exposure but the city of Albuquerque and the New Mexico Bowl itself."
"The hospitality was awesome here last year. We were treated really well. They have all been good. I think this is a unique place in that a lot of our kids had been to the places where we played before. A lot of them had never been to New Mexico or Albuquerque. I also like that it is early. I think if you are going to play bowl games, I'd rather play them early and I think our players would too. These are long seasons and finals are this week and next week and it gives them a chance to be home for a month after the game before the next semester starts."
"We've won seven out of our last eight. We lost some very tough games early, double overtime at Wisconsin, a closer one than the score indicated against Boise (State), and a seven-point loss at Cincinnati. We started out the season 1-3 and then won seven of the last eight so there is a lot of momentum."
"Both teams are very capable of scoring but you never know. I didn't think our game against Illinois last week was going to be a 53-52 shootout but it was."
"He's already got national exposure with over 150 yards against Illinois, over 150 yards on Wisconsin, over 200 against Boise State and over 150 against Cincinnati. He's a very good football player and I think a lot of people will be watching this game just to watch him. The interesting thing about him is he is leading the nation in rushing with about 150 yards per game and he has missed 10 quarters because I took him out when we were ahead by enough points and he missed a game and a half with a concussion. With close to 1,700 yards, it would be interesting to see how many yards he would have had if I played him every game.