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New Mexico Bowl
Wyoming vs Fresno State
Betting Line - Fresno State -10.5 with a Total of 55 at most Sportsbooks
The 2009 Bowl Season kicks off with the New Mexico Bowl where we have a
matchup between the Fresno State Bulldogs and Wyoming Cowboys. The Bulldogs
finished the season 8-4 including wins over Illinois and Idaho, and also had
impressive close losses to Wisconsin and Cincinnati. They are led by their RB
Ryan Matthews who leads the nation in rushing yards per game with 151 and tacked
on 16 TD’s. This is Fresno State’s 2nd consecutive year in the New Mexico Bowl,
but this year they will be hoping for a different outcome when they take on the
Wyoming is 6-6 on the year and will get a chance to complete their first winning season since 2004 with a win over Fresno State. Wyoming is in their first year under Head Coach Doug Christensen, and with the way this season has gone Wyoming is heading in the right direction, and a bowl win would really give something for this Cowboy football team to build on.
There is no secret who the superstar is in this bowl game, his name is Ryan Matthews. Matthews has been tearing through defenses all season. Matthews rushed for over 100 yards in every single game except against Nevada where he was knocked out of the game with an injury in the 2nd quarter. This offense runs through him, so if Wyoming is going to get this bowl win they have got to be committed to stopping the run first.
The bad news for the Wyoming faithful is their defense has struggled for much of the year stopping the run. The Cowboys are ranked 8th in the MWC in rush defense allowing 170.5 yards per game, and they are going up against their toughest test of the year in Matthews. Wyoming is going to have to put 8-9 in the box to have a chance to stop Matthews, and if they are successful they can make this game interesting, but if Matthews has a big day on the ground it will open up their offense and this game could get ugly.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Wyoming’s Coach Doug Christensen has said that none of his players jobs are safe, so he understands how important it is to light a spark with his team. Whether it is effective remains to be seen, but he understands how important this game can be to his program.
Wyoming has struggled for a long time, but Christensen has turned this team around, and has things moving in the right direction, but he is going to have his hands full this Saturday with Fresno State and RB Ryan Matthews. Matthews is arguably one of the best RB’s in the country and his stats back that up.
This game all depends on how effective he is against the Cowboy’s offense. Another key to the equation is Fresno State QB Ryan Colburn. Fresno State can’t run the ball every play, so his play under center is going to play a big role in the outcome of this ballgame. Colburn has thrown for over 2300 yards and has 18 TD’s and 11 INT’s. Those stats won’t blow anyone away, but when his team needs him to throw the ball down the field he is very capable.
We expect Wyoming to do anything and everything to stop Matthews early, and since Coach Dough Christensen will have his players ready to play Wyoming should be able to make this game interesting when the teams come out of their locker rooms for the 2nd half, but RB Ryan Matthews is just too much for this Wyoming defense to handle, and he will wear them down as the game goes on, and we expect Fresno State to pull away late and win comfortably.
Something else you always need to consider in Bowl games, is motivation. Frequently you run into situations where one team is thrilled to be there and the other is disappointed and could care less. A case could certainly be made for that scenario here. Fresno State expected bigger and better things. The goal at the start of the season was NOT to revisit the same 2nd rate Bowl game they played in a year ago. What kind of a reward is that?
On the flip side, Wyoming is thrilled to death. They would have been happy with any bowl game. So, motivation could play a role here. Problem is, motivational edges work better with capable teams. Wyoming is a 6-6 team that was outscored on average 17-27 this year and managed to average just 14 points per game on the road. Hardly results that should be rewarded. Fresno State came within a touchdown of Cincinnati and a field goal of Wisconsin this year.
Fresno is the much better team and should be able to cover this number if they show up motivated and take the game seriously. Fresno State -10.5
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