Prior to the New Mexico Bowl you might remember this article that appeared on Cowboy Altitude entitled "7 reasons why Wyoming will win the New Mexico Bowl". Well low and behold the Cowboys pulled off a 35-28 2OT victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Let's take a look at the article and see how each factor played a role in the victory.
1. Crowd - As predicted the crowd was heavily PRO Wyoming and outnumbered the Bulldog supporters by a large margin. Poke fans were pumped for the game and gave the team everything they could. And the reward was an opportunity to rush the field after the victory.
2. Turnovers - The big difference maker in this game. Fresno State was driving in the first quarter but fumbled on the Cowboy 6. That saved at least 3 points but more likely a touchdown. Then we can not forget the play of the game; Mitch Unrein strips Ryan Mathews and the Pokes eat up the clock with a 7:48 drive to score the tying field goal. Fresno State did intercept one pass that was tipped and scored a TD on that possession. But the overall +1 turnover margin for the Cowboys was the difference between winning and losing.
3. Desire - The Cowboys came ready to play and it showed. The ESPN commentators mentioned how they could see the extra energy from the Pokes. Desmond Howard was also impressed with Austyn Carta-Samuels.
4. Familiarity - Didn't hurt to be in a town and stadium that they've been to before. Wasn't a major factor.
5. Pokes don't give up - Four fourth quarter comebacks this year? Wrong, make that FIVE! Down 11 in the final quarter Wyoming came to tie game and force overtime. The final drive included three fourth down conversions. After missing a game winning field goal in the first OT the Pokes came back and scored the eventual game winning touchdown.
"Same old deal for all of us," Carta-Samuels said. "We knew we could do it."
This team is confident and they don't give up. Huge factor!
6. Coach Christensen - DC has a history of winning and he showed that at the New Mexico Bowl. Got the team ready and laid out a solid game plan. His leadership is vital to this team.
7. History - There is a reason that Fresno State is 0-4 versus Mountain West teams in bowl games. Maybe it's the players or Coach Pat Hill. That is something they need to figure out. The Bulldogs are 100-66 overall under Hill but just 4-6 in bowl games. Back to back losses in the New Mexico Bowl against 6-6 teams from the Mountain West shows that their is a problem. There is a reason people study history - it helps us figure out the future. Big factor.
In order of importance I'd rank the factors:
2 - Turnovers
5 - Pokes don't give up
6 - Coach Christensen
7 - History
3 - Desire
1 - Crowd
4 - Familiarity