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Friday, December 18, 2009
Three keys: New Mexico Bowl

By Graham Watson

Fresno State (8-4)

1. Run the ball: Ryan Mathews is the best running back in the country and has been the workhorse for the Bulldogs all season. This might be his final game as he weighs his decision to leave school early for the NFL. The Cowboys' rushing defense is one of the worst in the country, allowing 170.50 yards per game.

2. Contain Carta-Samuels: Wyoming freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels is the most dangerous offensive player for the Cowboys. He has the ability to make plays with his feet, keep plays alive and create something out of nothing. Fresno State needs to keep him in the pocket to limit his effectiveness.

3. Make it a shootout: Fresno State can score and if it can score consistently, it can run away with this game. Wyoming doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Bulldogs. So, if Fresno State puts Wyoming in a hole early, it should come away with a win.

Wyoming (6-6)

1. Limit the big plays: Wyoming knows Mathews is going to get his yards, but limiting the big plays will help keep him out of the end zone and keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. Wyoming needs to be realistic, but have a bend but don’t break attitude.

2. Limit turnover: One of the assets that have made Wyoming so successful this season has been limiting the turnovers. But the Cowboys also have to force turnovers. That shouldn't be too hard against a Fresno State team that already has lost 23 turnovers this season.

3. Help Austyn: The best games for Wyoming this season have been those where the rest of the team has picked up the play around quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels. Samuels can create, but having a few players complement him will limit Fresno State's ability to spy him and lock him in the pocket.