Fresno State (4-3, 2-1) vs. Wyoming (1-5, 0-2)
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Television: Comcast Sports California
Radio: KMJ (AM 580), ESPN Deportes (1600 AM)
Keys to the Game
Air Attack – The offense has struggled immensely on the road, inside Bulldog Stadium it’s been a different story, especially through the air. Last time out here, Derek Carr tied a school record with 536 yards passing. Carr should be able to have another solid outing against a reeling Wyoming team.
Run Rouse – Wyoming is allowing over 228 yards a game on the ground through six games this season. Robbie Rouse has failed to rush for over 100 yards in two of his last three games after topping the century mark in his first four games. Rouse has also failed to get in the end zone in the each of the last two games. No reason to think he can’t break the funk against the Pokes.
Protect the Football – Three weeks ago, Fresno State had four turnovers versus San Diego State. Fortunately, the defense forced five to still win the turnover battle. Nevertheless, protecting the football will ensure the Cowboys will have no chance at pulling the upset on Saturday night.
Rattle the QB – The starter for Wyoming is still undetermined. Brett Smith, who ranks behind Carr in the MWC in passing, will start if able. Suffering two concussions, the sophomore quarterback has not been able to build upon his spectacular freshman season when he led the Pokes to eight wins and a bowl game. In his place this season, true freshman Jason Thompson has played in three games. Whether Smith or Thompson plays, the Bulldogs defense must force either into poor decisions.
Play Smart – Regardless if they were questionable calls, the Fresno State defense must not give the officials an opportunity to throw a flag on a high-hit on the quarterback. Penalties have killed the Bulldogs many times this season, not so much at home as on the road. But this defense needs to play smarter.
Limit the Big Play – Wyoming has been within a field goal of every game this season save a seven-point loss in overtime at Nevada and a 20-point loss at Texas. This is not a terrible Cowboys team but a struggling one. If the Pokes can get a few big plays it could give them enough confidence in a must-win situation of Wyoming wants any chance at a bowl game this season.
The goal in 2012 was to win the MWC. Losses at Oregon (followed by a 69-14 blowout over Colorado) and at Tulsa (followed by a 52-point output against San Diego State) did not effect Fresno State’s MWC title hopes. But last week’s 10-point loss at Boise State did.
The Bulldogs can still win a piece of the title but no longer control their own destiny. This week will see how the coaching staff deals with some adversity.
Wyoming has staggered to a 1-5 start after winning eight games in 2011. Quarterback Brett Smith has only played in four games this season, which certainly hampered the Pokes chances at solid start. This team is not playing terrible but cannot seem to finish games.
The Bulldogs are truly a remarkable team at home this season. FS has amassed over 600 yards of total offense in each of their last two home games. Wyoming is only allowing 231 yards passing but over 459 total yards. The Bulldogs should match that and more.
Fresno State wants to erase the memories of last week’s awful showing on the Blue. The Pokes will happen to get the brunt of it.
Fresno State 44, Wyoming 20