Nobody in the Mountain West has been harder to score on than Fresno State. The Bulldogs are holding their opponents to 15.6 points per game, which ranks ninth nationally. Fresno has held all but one of its first five opponents to 21 points or fewer and limited Nevada to just a field goal last week in its conference-opening win. Part of the Bulldogs’ success is limiting teams’ chances with takeaways, particularly through the air. Only North Texas has more interceptions in college football this season than Fresno State (11).
Wyoming’s bid to be balanced this season isn’t going well. Nico Evans has been a revelation for the Cowboys, averaging 153 yards a game on the ground after going for a career-high 192 last week against Hawaii. But Wyoming hasn’t produced much outside of its senior running back, mustering 199 yards combined the last two games on plays in which Evans hasn’t touched the ball since returning from those bruised ribs that kept him out for two games. Eight-man boxes are going to be the norm from opposing defenses if Wyoming can’t be more productive through the air and loosen them up.
It’s easy to look past the special teams, but considering how dormant Wyoming’s offense has been this season, Fresno State’s punting game could make for an important play this week. Blake Cusick is averaging 43.6 yards per punt, which ranks third in the MW. Cusick made life difficult for Nevada’s offense with his average distance last week being 47.6 yards and could create more long fields for Wyoming this week if he’s able to maintain that consistency. Fourteen of his punts this season have pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line.
After not being targeted against Boise State, tight end Austin Fort got involved in Wyoming’s offense against Hawaii. The senior doubled his season catch total with his first two receptions since returning from a sprained knee that caused him to miss three games. With the Cowboys’ passing game looking for any kind of spark, the 6-foot-4, 244-pounder could be looked to more often as a safety valve in the middle of defenses as he tries to regain his old form.