Cowboys Face Critical Game in Home Finale [VIDEO]
In a match-up of two teams in contention for the Mountain West Championship, the Wyoming Cowboys host the Fresno State Bulldogs Saturday in Laramie.
Both teams enter with identical records of 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Mountain West. The Bulldogs control their own destiny, as they lead the West Division. Meanwhile, the Cowboys trail Boise State by one game in the Mountain and need to win out and have the Broncos lose in order to make the MW Championship game Dec. 2.
As Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said Monday in his weekly press conference, he knows what’s at stake.
“A lot on the line for Fresno. A lot on the line for us. It’s the mid-part of November, and we’re playing for a lot.”
This game also marks Senior Day for the Cowboys. This class features a mix of four/five-year guys and some transfers. The seniors include Ryan Cummings, Kolton Donovan, Dalton Fields, Rico Gafford, Tim Kamana, Nela Lolohea, Jalen Ortiz, Robert Priester and Drew Van Maanen.
KOWB’s David Settle caught up with Van Maanen earlier this week to talk about Senior Day, reflect on his time at UW, his improvement and even a message to the fans.
The nine senior players will be honored in a pre-game introduction about 11:55 a.m. Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
As for the game, these two teams haven’t played since 2014, which was a 45-17 victory for the Pokes in Fresno. The series is tied, 5-5, and Saturday marks the 11th meeting. The first game in the series was in 1992.
The Bulldogs are enjoying a remarkable turnaround. They were 1-11 last season, but are plus-6 in victories already this year under first-year head coach Jeff Tedford. It’s very similar to what Wyoming did in 2016 with a six-win improvement.
This match-up features two of the top defenses in the MW. UW is first in the conference and No. 14 in the country in scoring defense, as they allow only 18.1 points per game. Fresno State is No. 2 in the league and 15th nationally at 18.3 points per game. Both teams are top 4 in the MW and top 30 in the country in pass defense and total defense.
Whether junior quarterback Josh Allen plays remains a mystery. With no media access to practice, players or coaches after a pre-Wednesday briefing from Coach Bohl, it looks like it will be a game-time decision.
Offensively, the Bulldogs possess an edge in all the major statistical categories, such as scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense and passing offense. Fresno State is guided by junior QB Marcus McMaryion, a transfer from Oregon State. He’s averaging 169.4 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions this season. KeeSean Johnson and Da’Mari Scott are the top two targets. Defensively, sophomore linebacker Jeffrey Allison leads the Bulldogs with 88 tackles. He also has two sacks and has forced two fumbles.