Fresno State vs. Wyoming: Game Preview, How to Watch, Livestream, Odds, Prediction
The Cowboys return to Laramie for the first time in a month to face the Bulldogs.
Wyoming looks to bounce back after a tough loss to Air Force.
WEEK 7: Fresno State Bulldogs (4-2, 1-1 Mountain West) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (4-1, 0-1 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, October 16 — 12:30 PM PT/1:30 PM MT
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, WY
STREAMING: FuboTV with a free seven-day trial
RADIO: The Wyoming broadcast can be found throughout the state on the affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network, including flagship 1240 AM (KFBC) in Cheyenne. The Fresno State broadcast can be found on in and around Fresno on Fox Sports 1340 AM, as well as on the affiliates of the Bulldog Radio Network.
SERIES RECORD: Fresno State leads the all-time series, 7-5. In the last meeting on October 13, 2018, the Bulldogs defeated the Cowboys, 27-3, in Fresno.
LAST WEEK: The Cowboys lost to Air Force on the road. The Bulldogs are coming off their Bye week.
ODDS: Fresno State -3.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Fresno State by 5.3
FEI PROJECTION: Wyoming by 3.5
Returning home to the friendly confines of War Memorial Stadium after a tough loss, the Cowboys need to get right back to work to prepare for their first home game in nearly a month when Fresno State rolls into Laramie on Saturday.
Both teams are coming off tough losses and have a lot to play for in this game. Fresno State is coming off a mistake filled loss to Hawaii just before their bye week, in a game where the Bulldogs gave up six turnovers and had 120 penalty yards. Wyoming is coming off a game against Air Force where the Cowboys were dominated by time of possession from the potent Air Force rushing attack. Both the Bulldogs and the Cowboys are playing for their conference title hopes, with the loser most likely eliminated from contention for the conference title.
Here are three keys to a Wyoming victory:
Three Keys to a Cowboy Victory
1. Contain the Fresno State Rushing Attack
Fresno State, stylistically, is a team that wants to run the ball much like Wyoming does. However, this year Fresno State has deviated from that quite a bit with the success of Quarterback Jake Haener. When you also consider the fact that running back Ronnie Rivers is having a relatively down year compared to the rest of his career, it makes sense that this year Fresno State has deviated from their normal recipe for success.
Rivers has had 91 carries for 420 yards this year, 200 of those yards have come off of 10 plays, and if you take out those 10 rushes Rivers is only averaging 2.7 yards per carry. Rivers is too good of a back to be in a slump like this for too gone and he is bound to have a big game soon. On paper, it looks like Wyoming would be a prime opponent for Rivers to go off on. If the Cowboys can keep Rivers as a non-factor in this game it will go a long way to helping the Cowboys win this game.
— Josh Criswell (@criswell_sports) October 15, 2021
2. Feed Valladay
The Fresno State defense on the season has been great against the run. Only allowing 3.5 yards per carry to opposing rushers. If you look at the past several games though Fresno has shown that there are some holes in the defense that opposing teams can exploit. Over the past four games Fresno State has been giving up more yards per carry each game. This plays well into Wyoming’s strengths.
The Cowboys have one of the best running backs in the country and he needs to get going. Against Air Force Valladay only had eight carries, and if Wyoming is going to be successful against the Bulldogs Valladay needs to have more than 8 carries. If Wyoming is winning, they are doing it by running the ball. Valladay is the engine of this offense and the Cowboys need to feed him.
3. Get Pressure to the Quarterback
Wyoming’s biggest challenge this week will come in slowing down Bulldog’s QB Jake Haener. Haener currently ranks third in the country in total passing yards and is averaging 372 yards per game passing. Wyoming has one of the best defenses in the country this year at getting to the quarterback.
With a quarterback this dangerous the Cowboys need to keep him contained, and beat him up a little bit. In Fresno State’s losses this year Haener has been sacked 7 times, as compared to five times in the Bulldogs four wins. Hawaii was able to harass Haener and force him into throwing four interceptions. I don’t expect Wyoming to force four interceptions, but if the Cowboys can win the turnover battle by forcing Haener into bad passing situations, and making some bad decisions with the ball, it will give the Cowboys a much better chance at winning this game.
After a tough loss on the road to Air Force, the Cowboys will be out for blood and a fast start at home this week. Valladay is going to have his best game of the year gashing the Bulldogs for 160 yards, as the Cowboys win a statement game.
Wyoming 31, Fresno State 24