2008 New Mexico Bowl Preview
Colorado State (6-6, 4-4 MWC) vs. Fresno State (7-5, 4-4 ACC)
December 20th, 2008 @ 2:30 PM (EST) – ESPN – Albuquerque, New Mexico
The New Mexico Bowl features two teams with completely difference perspectives on this game. Fresno State opened the season with a win at Rutgers and were eying a BCS berth while Colorado State entered the year playing for a different head coach than Sonny Lubick for the for first time in 16 years after enduring a tough 3-9 season in 2007. Thus, it would be fair to presume that Colorado State is much more excited about this bowl berth than Fresno State. Remember, emotion and excitement play a huge factor in bowl games.
Fresno State started the year 5-2 and both losses came at home by a field goal to then #10 Wisconsin and Hawai’i. However, the Bulldogs’ season fell off course as they lost three of their last five games, capped off by a 61-10 pasting by Boise State in the season finale. The Bulldogs run a traditional offense and are led by quarterback Tom Brandstater, who threw for 2478 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing 11 interceptions. The Bulldogs’ solid rushing attack is a three headed monster, so head coach Pat Hill won’t find himself wanting at the tailback position. On defense, the Bulldogs have struggled at times and were absolutely gouged by some of the better offenses they faced, allowing over 30 points seven times this season.
Meanwhile, the Rams come into this game on a bit of a roll, having won their last two games and three of their last five to qualify. Colorado State was an impressive 4-2 at home this year and their two losses were hard fought affairs with TCU (13-7) and BYU (45-42). The Rams have also played a much harder schedule and haven’t lost a game against lesser opposition as their only loss to a team with less than 8 wins was against rival Colorado on opening day. Senior tailback Gatrell Johnson leads the offensive attack on the ground and has rushed for over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns.
This game will be fun to watch. Both teams have the potential to put some points on the board and I expect some fireworks. However, Colorado State is a bit stronger on the defensive side of the football and the Rams will be much more excited to play the game. In the end, I expect Colorado State to draw upon their experience against that tough schedule and cap off a successful turnaround season with a victory over Fresno State.
New Mexico Bowl Pick: Colorado State 34 - Fresno State 27
by Matt Baxendell
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