Wyoming has covered 7 games in a row and are winning games based on their defense and ability to force turnovers. They are ranked #1 in the country in TO margin with +17. They have been fortunate because they haven't faced many teams that have a good TO margin ratio. The teams that were above average in takeaways were also giving the ball away. Half of their opponents were ranked 100 or worse in either takeaways or giveaways. Boise State was the only team with a good TO margin ratio at +8 and Boise won 24-14. Fresno comes into this game at +8 and ranked 17th in the nation having turned the ball over only 9 times.
Fresno State needs to win this game to get to the conference championship. A win and they are in with the tie breaker over San Diego State. Fresno has Boise on deck so I doubt they want to leave it to that game especially when they are facing a Wyoming team that's ranked 124th in yards per play. They have played some bad defenses along the way as well and can't seem to get anything going despite having an NFL caliber QB in Josh Allen.
Allen is actually questionable for this game along with Fresno's starting QB Marcus McMaryion. However, both of these teams run the ball 55% of the time anyway, and the weather looks to be less than ideal for passing with 18 mph winds. With that said let's look at the running games and running defenses of each team.
First of all the strength of schedule is in favor of Fresno State. They faced an average run defense ranking 58.8, while Wyoming has faced a run defense ranking on average 68.3. Fresno clearly the better running game in the top 50 in the nation and averaging 4.76 ypc, and 4.91 in conference play compared to Wyoming who is ranked 123rd nationally. Wyoming averaging 3.09 ypc and 3.38 in conference play. Run defense, Fresno State has faced an average rushing offense ranked 44.7 while Wyoming has faced 63.6. With that said Fresno despite facing the stronger schedule has better numbers against the run. Fresno allowing 3.64 ypc, just 3.45 ypc in conference play with just 3 rushing TD's allowed in conference play. Wyoming's defense 3.66 ypc on the season, and 3.72 ypc in conference play while allowing 7 rushing TD's in conference play.
Fresno needs this win, they don't turn the ball over and it could be argued that they have the better defense. While that may not show up statistically they have by far faced a stronger schedule as we have outlined which typically messes with stats a bit.
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