For a quarter, the Wyoming Cowboys looked like a different team against 16th-ranked Fresno State Saturday night in Laramie. In front of a national TV audience, the Pokes jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. For the second straight game, Wyoming shut out a high-powered offense in the first quarter of a game. But also for the second game in a row, that defensive effort was short lived. The Cowboys trailed 14-10 going into the locker room, but still felt they were in the game according to head coach Dave Christensen.
But obviously they weren’t in the game, as like in many games this season, and under Christensen, the second half was a disaster. Fresno State rolled to a 48-10 win, outscoring the Cowboys 34-0 in the second half. The Bulldogs came into the game as one of the top offenses in the country and the best in the Mountain West, and they held up their end of the bargain, with 600 yards of total offense. But the surprise was the powerful running game of the Bulldogs. They torched the Cowboys, especially up the middle, for 234 yards rushing, but defensive end Eddie Yarbrough felt they were prepared for it.
As Fresno State came into the game as one of the best offenses in the nation, so did the Cowboys. And it looked as if early on, it could be a shootout. But as Wyoming scored those ten first quarter points, they were held scoreless the rest of the way. Quarterback Brett Smith threw for just 141 yards, and the Cowboys had just 296 yards of total offense against a stingy Fresno defense. Wyoming had a chance before the half to put some points on the board, or possibly take the lead, but Smith threw an interception, but he doesn’t believe that set the tone for what happened second half.
Wyoming falls to 4-5 on the season and 2-3 in the Mountain West. They will be at Boise State this Saturday night for another nationally televised game. Meanwhile, Fresno State continues to carry the Mountain West flag, at 9-0.