Fresno State vs. Wyoming: Bulldogs Defense Stifles Wyoming In 13-7 Victory
The Cowboys never got going without Josh Allen until it was too late, and the Bulldogs did just enough to come away with a big win.
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Fresno State’s defensive effort means the Mountain West title game is set.
Before the Cowboys and Bulldogs took the field on Saturday afternoon, Josh Allen was honored alongside Wyoming seniors in a gesture which seemed to signal that this appearance at War Memorial Stadium would be his last. After Fresno State dismantled the Wyoming offense in his absence, the NFL Draft might just look that much more tempting.
In a clash highlighted by great defense on both sides, the Bulldogs did just enough with the opportunities they created to come away with a 13-7 win that, for most of the game, didn’t feel that close. Fresno State allowed 308 yards of total offense to the Cowboys, at a rate of five yards per play, and finished +1 in turnovers against a Wyoming team which had come into the day +17 on the season.
Both offenses operated in fits and starts — Wyoming had eight three-and-outs and Fresno State had seven — but the ‘Dogs turned more of their longer drives into points where the Cowboys could not most of the afternoon. A 10-play, 58-yard drive led to a 27-yard field goal from Jimmy Camacho which opened the scoring, and he would follow that with a 29-yard success that capped a 13-play, 83-yard effort in the third quarter.
Marcus McMaryion was hot and cold against a stout Wyoming defense, finishing 14-of-23 for 186 yards and a touchdown. He did, however, find big plays where many other Mountain West QBs had not. The junior had completions of 32, 30 and 44 yards against a secondary that had come into Saturday having allowed just six such plays.
Wyoming didn’t have the same kind of success. The Cowboys were just 2-of-14 against the Mountain West’s best third-down defense, and their two turnovers were significant. Austin Conway muffed a punt that led to Fresno State’s only touchdown, a 21-yard strike from McMaryion to Ronnie Rivers:
The Cowboys’ best scoring opportunity in the third quarter was erased after Drew Van Maanen fumbled in the red zone and Bulldogs linebacker Jeffrey Allison fell on it:
In the fourth quarter, however, Wyoming attempted a late rally with an 80-yard drive that was capped by a short touchdown catch by Nico Evans:
The last ditch drive which followed it was punctuated by a 41-yard completion to Austin Conway, who led the Cowboys with seven catches and 105 yards, but Nick Smith (20-of-32, 231 yards, one touchdown) couldn’t connect on his last two attempts and he was taken down by Robert Stanley on fourth down to seal the win for Fresno State.
The Bulldogs victory means that the program has clinched its first division title since 2014. In addition, Wyoming’s loss is Boise State’s gain, as the Broncos clinched their first division title since 2014, as well. Coincidentally, Fresno State (8-3, 6-1 MW) and Boise State (8-2, 6-0 MW) will meet in the season finale next Saturday at Bulldog Stadium.
Wyoming (7-4, 5-2 MW) will finish its regular season on the road at San Jose State.