New Mexico Bowl Preview

Albuquerque, NM
December 20, 2008

Fresno State (7-5) vs Colorado State (6-6)
(Saturday, 1:30 pm, ESPN)

New Colorado State head coach Steve Fairchild did a solid job in his first year, guiding the Rams to their first bowl game since 2005. Fairchild has a background in offense in the NFL so obviously the first signs of improvement will show up on that side of the ball.

Running back Gartrell Johnson had over 1,000 yards rushing and wideout Rashaun Greer went over the 1,000 yard mark receiving, but the Rams were inconsistent at turning yards into points this year. They will provide a test to Fresno State's young, injury-depleted defense though. Fresno must attempt to slow down the powerful running of Johnson without their top defensive lineman Jon Monga, who injured his foot in late November.

Luckily the Bulldogs will be able to put points on the board thanks to their fine running game. Ryan Mathews, Lonyae Miller, and Anthony Harding have combined for 1,994 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground so far in 2008. Unfortunately Mathews, the best of the bunch, has been out since the beginning of November with a lingering knee injury. He's questionable for the New Mexico Bowl, but considering the fact Colorado State allows over 185 rushing yards per game, and 5.2 yards per carry, I think Fresno will be just fine.

J.Pike's Pick: Fresno State 34, Colorado State 20

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