Wyoming vs. Fresno State: Keys To A Cowboys Victory
How can the Cowboys upset the Bulldogs?
Wyoming might have to play without Josh Allen
The Wyoming Cowboys are looking for back to back years of at least eight wins for the first time since the 1987 and 1988 WAC championship seasons
WEEK 12: Wyoming Cowboys (7-3, 5-1 MW) vs Fresno State Bulldogs (7-3, 5-1 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, November 18 — 12:00 PM MT
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, WY
TV: AT&T Sportsnet
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network- 1030 AM Casper, 1240 AM Cheyenne, 1290 AM Laramie and 1600 AM Denver
SERIES RECORD: 5-5. In the last meeting, Wyoming won 45-17 in Fresno in 2014. In the last game at War Memorial Stadium in 2013, the Bulldogs, led by Derek Carr, won 48-10.
Wyoming enter their final home game of the 2017 season winning six of its last seven games. The Cowboys are currently in a three-game win streak after their 28-14 win last weekend over the Air Force Academy. In that game, Quarterback Josh Allen injured his right shoulder in the second quarter. Allen is currently considered day to day.
The Cowboys need to win their final two games and hope for two Boise State losses to earn a spot in the MW Championship game.
Fresno State enters the game as the West division leader and have also won 6 of their last 7 games. The Bulldogs are close to clinching a spot in the MW Championship game and could do so with a win in Laramie.
Wyoming needs yardage from someone other than Josh Allen
Allen leads the Cowboys with five rushing touchdown and is second on the team in carries through 10 games. If Allen plays through his injury, expect Wyoming offensive coordinator Brent Vigen to limit the amount of QB runs. The Pokes will need to find a way to take the rushing load off Allen.
Wyoming has played a running back by committee with neither Trey Woods or Kellen Overstreet able to take full reign of the position. Woods and Overstreet have only combined for 632 rushing yards on the season and will need to be much more effective runners in this game for the Wyoming offense to have success.
On a positive note, Senior offensive Ryan Cummings returned to practice this week and is listed as questionable for Saturday. If he can play, he could be a key piece in getting the running game going.
Cowboys defense must continue to get turnovers
Both Wyoming and Fresno State enter the contest ranked in the top 15 in turnover margin, but they find themselves there for different reasons. Entering Week 12, Wyoming led the country in takeaways with 27. On the other side, Fresno State rarely turns the ball over and they entered the week ranked 9th in the country in giveaways.
The Cowboys best offense this year has been the short field created by takeaways from the defense. With an injured Josh Allen and a stellar Fresno State defense, yards may be hard to come by for the Cowboys and any opportunities to make scoring easy for the offense will be important.
Put pressure on Fresno State offense by scoring early
In Fresno State’s seven wins, the only game they trailed in was last week to Hawaii. They took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back. In the Bulldogs only conference loss, UNLV kept the game close and were able to put pressure on the Fresno State offense to score. Fresno State has done an incredible job playing with a lead this season but have looked vulnerable in games against UNLV and BYU where they were unable to open a sizeable lead.
The Cowboys could be in trouble if they expect to make another late game rally against the West Division leaders. The Pokes will need to put pressure on the upstart Bulldogs by scoring on them early and making them chase the game.