Wyoming Stuns Fresno State In Second OT Of New Mexico Bowl

Ryan Mathews led the nation in rushing but wasn't invited to the Heisman Trophy award ceremony. He'll show his skills in the first game of the college football bowl season, leading the Bulldogs (8-4) against Wyoming (6-6) today.
By  | 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels threw three touchdown passes, the last a 13-yarder to David Leonard in the second overtime Saturday, and Wyoming beat Fresno State 35-28 in the New Mexico Bowl.

The first of 34 bowls was a high-scoring matchup that was decided by defense.

Wyoming (7-6) stopped the nation's leading rusher, Fresno State's Ryan Mathews, on three rushing attempts from the 1 in the first overtime. The Bulldogs (8-5) tried a quarterback sneak on third down, and Mathews came up short again on fourth down.

The Cowboys scored on the first possession in double overtime, then held Fresno State on downs.

Wyoming fans spilled out of the stands to celebrate as the school band played "Cowboy Joe." This was Wyoming's first bowl appearance since 2005, and it capped a winning season for first-year coach Dave Christensen.

Mathews, who led the nation in rushing average at 151.3 yards per game, finished with 144 yards rushing on 31 attempts with two touchdowns. But he had a big fumble midway through the fourth quarter, setting up Carta-Samuels to lead a 19-play drive that tied it up.

Wyoming's Ian Watts kicked a 37-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in regulation. But after the Cowboys stopped Mathews in the first overtime, Watts was wide left a 40-yard field try that would have won it.

Carta-Samuels, the Mountain West's freshman of the year was picked the game's offensive MVP after completed 17 of 31 attempts for 201 yards passing with one interception. Wyoming tackle Mitch Unrein, who forced and recovered the key fumble by Mathews, was defensive MVP.

Fresno State led 28-25 and was driving when Mathews fumbled. The Cowboys took over with 8:08 remaining and converted twice on fourth
downs - including a daring fake punt - on the march that ended with Watts' 37-yard field goal.