College Bowl season kicks off on Saturday and it all begins in Albuquerque with the New Mexico Bowl. This is the fifth edition of this bowl that features a WAC-MWC match up. This year the Fresno State Bulldogs take on the Wyoming Cowboys. This will be the second consecutive appearance for the Bulldogs (8-4) in the Land of Enchantment. Meanwhile the Cowboys (6-6) have exceeded expectations all year long under new head coach Dave Christensen and a youthful roster.
The media has written this bowl off but there are several reasons to tune in on Saturday.
- Ryan Mathews of the Bulldogs leads the nation with 151 yards rushing per game. This could be your final chance to see him as he may bolt for the NFL after Saturday.
- Wyoming is led by true freshman and dual threat qB Austyn Carta-Samuels. ACS has led the Pokes to four fourth quarter comebacks this year including a 24 point comeback over San Diego State.
- Fresno features the nations 14th rated offense averaging 34 points a game. Their defense has struggled this year and this could turn into a high scoring affair. Wyoming averages just 17 points a game but has averaged nearly 29 points in their victories. The Cowboys have not lost when scoring more than 11 points this year.
These two teams have met six times before with the home team winning each time. This time they face off on a neutral site but the bowl is hosted at a Mountain West school - The University of New Mexico. The Bulldogs are favored by 10-13 points but are 0-4 versus Mountain West teams in bowl games including a loss to 6-6 Colorado State in last years New Mexico Bowl.
Fresno Coach Pat Hill was rumored to be on his way out but just had contract extended this week. Coach Christensen is making his appearance in a bowl game as a head coach but has a 5-2 record as an assistant and has this will be his fifth straight year with a bowl game.
Players to watch:
QB Ryan Colburn - 2333 yards passing and 18 touchdowns.
RB Ryan Mathews -1664 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns.
WR Seyi Ajirotutu - 671 yards and 7 touchdowns.
QB Austyn Carta-Samuels -1752 yards passing and 295 rushing yards plus 10 total touchdowns.
WR David Leonard - 70 receptions for 645 yards.
RB Alvester Alexander - 503 yards rushing and six touchdowns.