UW-Fresno State postgame thoughts

All I can say is I didn’t see that coming.

Usually, when I or Wyoming football fans say that, the results aren’t good. But not in this case. The Cowboys easily beat Fresno State 45-17 Saturday night in Fresno, California.

UW rolled on offense, led by 387 all-purpose yards by true freshman running back Brian Hill, who had 281 yards rushing and 106 receiving. He is the first UW freshman running back to have multiple 100-yard rushing games since Wynel Seldon in 2005. Even then, Seldon was a redshirt freshman and he never had back-to-back 100-yard games. Hill had 121 Oct. 25 at Colorado State.

Here’s Hill after the game:

Here are some first and second half highlights, and you can see for yourself how good Hill was — in case you didn’t see the game on television.

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UW-Frenso State key to the game; other notes and quotes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s top key for the Wyoming football team in tonight’s game at Fresno State, which kicks off at 8:45 p.m. MT at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California.

Better middle quarters: Wyoming has been outscored 151-62 in the second and third quarters this season. The Cowboys need to play a complete game to have a chance tonight, but they must do a better job in the middle two quarters offensively and defensively.

What do you think, folks? For more keys and more on today’s game, see today’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Gagliardi and WyoSports editor Scott Nulph preview with their weekly video blog on tonight’s game:

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 10

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 10 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Colorado State (7-1 overall, 3-1 MW): Still atop the rankings after the Rams won their league-leading sixth straight game last week against Wyoming. However, the gap is narrowing. Still, Colorado State is playing some of the best football in the conference right now. Good luck trying to defend that passing game. This week: at San Jose State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). This game pits the best pass defense in the MW in San Jose State (99.7 ypg) against the league’s best passing offense in Colorado State (353.5 ypg). Tricky game for the Rams, but they find a way. Colorado State 38, San Jose St. 31.

2. Boise State (6-2, 3-1): The Broncos beat Colorado State earlier this season so they control their own destiny to win the league’s Mountain Division. Boise State seems to be hitting its stride now, and it might not be long until it is atop the rankings. This week: Off.

3. San Diego State (4-3, 3-1): After a bye week, the Aztecs may get get a couple of key players back on offense and defense. Along with Boise State, San Diego State is the most physical team in the MW. The Aztecs lead the league and are 12th nationally in scoring defense (18.7 ppg). This week: at Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). A tough road game, but that defense and running back Donnel Pumphrey should be enough for a close win. San Diego State 24, Nevada 20.

4. Utah State (5-3, 2-1): Now on its fourth quarterback due to injuries, and some other key guys banged up. The Aggies will be hard-pressed to stay this high for long. But they’ve shown a toughness so far that most teams could never do after losing so many key players. Got to admire that. This week: at Hawaii, 9 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). It won’t be pretty, but the Aggies find a way to win. Utah State 17, Hawaii 12.

5. Air Force (5-2, 2-2): This is the biggest week for the Falcons as a win at Army Saturday will give them their first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy since 2011. Air Force is one of the better stories in the conference after winning just two games last season. This week: at Army, 9:30 a.m. MT Saturday (CBS). Both are among the nation’s top rushing teams, but Air Force has the edge on defense. Air Force 31, Army 26.

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UW-Fresno State football Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Robert Kuwada, who covers Fresno State football for the Fresno Bee, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming. Kickoff is at 8:45 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California.

Follow on Twitter: @rkuwada

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

As the defending MW champs and picked by many to win the West Division, are you surprised the Bulldogs are 3-5 overall and what has been the biggest issues or struggles with this team?

Robert Kuwada

Robert Kuwada

The 3-5 record is not much of a surprise. The three losses at the start of the season certainly are not. Fresno State isn’t at a point yet where it can compete physically with well-established Power Five teams like USC, Utah or Nebraska. Even last year, they needed extraordinary performances from an offense with Derek Carr, Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse to get by the more physical teams on the schedule. The surprise in there is the loss at UNLV, but they threw the ball 44 times against a defense that was ranked second to last in the nation in rushing defense and didn’t make any plays at the end.

The issues on offense are to be expected to a point, with a lot of last year’s playmakers gone. They have had very inconsistent play from the quarterback position, and some inexperience at the outside and inside receiver positions. Brian Burrell, who lost the starting job, has completed only 56.4 percent of his passes. Fresno State is ninth in the MW in passing efficiency rating and 11th in yards per pass play. That obviously is not a good combination for a team that leads the league in passing attempts.

Defensively, it’s more of the same. Fresno State had issues with is cornerback play last season and is again, giving up 9.0 yards per pass play and 254.2 yards per game. They’ve given up 34 pass plays of 20 or more yards and 17 of 30 or more yards, both worst in the conference.


I’m sure you listed defense as one of the team’s struggles this season. What has been the biggest issues with this group and has that surprised you this season?

The struggles against the pass aren’t a huge surprise. Fresno State had depth and talent issues last season that it thought was fixed to a degree through recruiting But junior-college transfer Corey Ferguson was dismissed before the season for a violation of athletic department policy, and Arizona transfer Bryan Harper quit the team for personal reasons after playing poorly early in the season.

The Bulldogs have had five players start at least one game at the corner spots, including strong safety Charles Washington, who they moved out there for a couple of games. The lack of a pass rush hasn’t helped. The sacks are down by almost one per game from last season, but it’s also quarterback pressures and hurries. They pulled the redshirt off of freshman outside linebacker Justin Green in the seventh game of the season to try to get more pressure off the edge.

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