Scores
NEW MEXICO BOWL

Final/2OT

Fresno State 28

(8-5, 6-2 MW)

Wyoming 35

(7-6, 4-4 MW)

4:30 PM ET, December 19, 2009

University Stadium, ALBUQUERQUE, NM

1 2 3 4 2OT T
FRES 0 14 7 7 028
WYO 7 7 3 11 735

Top Performers

Passing: A. Carta-Samuels (VAN) - 201 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Mathews (FRES) - 31 CAR, 144 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: J. Hamler (FRES) - 7 REC, 85 YDS, 2 TD

Wyoming edges Fresno St. in double overtime, wins New Mexico Bowl

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Wyoming trailed by 11 points in the fourth quarter. Its offense was led by a freshman quarterback, its defense was facing the nation's leading rusher.

Time to worry? Not these comeback Cowboys.

Fast Facts

• Wyoming was playing in its first bowl game since 2004.

• The Cowboys finished with their first winning record since '04.

• The Mountain West Conference is 11-4 in bowl games over the past four seasons.

• Wyoming has won two straight bowl games.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels threw three touchdown passes, the last a 13-yarder to David Leonard in the second overtime Saturday, and Wyoming rallied past Fresno State 35-28 in the New Mexico Bowl.

"Same old deal for all of us," Carta-Samuels said. "We knew we could do it."

The first of 34 bowls was a high-scoring matchup that was decided at the end 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.

"If you can't put it in from the 1-yard line, you have to give a lot of credit to the defensive stand by Wyoming," Bulldogs coach Pat Hill said. "We had our chances."

The Cowboys, who won four times this season after rallying in the fourth quarter, scored on the first possession in double overtime, then held Fresno State on downs.

"Another typical game by the Wyoming Cowboys," first-year coach Dave Christensen said. "We kept everybody in their seats."

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 Christensen after the Cowboys were picked to finish last in the Mountain West.

Mathews, who led the nation in rushing average at 151.3 yards per game, finished with 144 yards 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.

Wyoming lineman Mitch Unrein, picked the defensive MVP, stripped the ball.

"I got my hand on it. It kind of rolled away from him," Unrein said. "It was right on my chest. I said to myself, 'I can't believe that just happened.' I got up and I was showing the refs. They didn't believe me. They were like, 'No way.'"

Officials initially ruled Mathews was down but reversed the call after a replay.

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

Christensen said there was no disappointment on the sideline.

"These kids don't change much," he said. "I don't know if it's belief or they don't know any better. They walked down to the end of the field. We scored a touchdown, then we stopped them."

Carta-Samuels, the Mountain West's freshman of the year, was chosen the game's offensive MVP after he completed 17 of 31 attempts for 201 yards passing with one interception.

He led the Cowboys back after Mathews' 5-yard TD run put the Bulldogs up 28-17 with 13:59 remaining. Carta-Samuels found Leonard on an 11-yard TD pass, then connected with Greg Bolling for a 2-point conversion that got Wyoming to 28-25 with 10:15 to go.

"I guarantee after that their defense didn't want to come out on the field again to try and stop us," Carta-Samuels said.

Fresno State, trying to build on the lead, was driving when Mathews fumbled at Wyoming's 26. The Cowboys took over with 8:08 left and converted three times on fourth downs -- including a daring fake punt -- on the march that ended with Watts' 37-yard field goal.

"We told our guys, 'You've got to believe,'" Christensen said. "Being behind is nothing new for this football team."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
FRES
WYO
1st Downs1926
Total Yards366438
Passing169204
Rushing197234
Penalties5-613-19
3rd Down Conversions2-109-20
4th Down Conversions2-44-4
Turnovers21
Possession26:4733:13

Passing Leaders

Fresno StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Colburn13/191266.610
WyomingC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Carta-Samuels17/312016.531

Rushing Leaders

Fresno StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mathews311444.6229
Colburn9242.709
WyomingCARYDSAVGTDLG
Alexander1213711.4168
Carta-Samuels19713.7018

Receiving Leaders

Fresno StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hamler78512.1243
West24321.5026
WyomingRECYDSAVGTDLG
Leonard7608.6214
Bolger45513.8030

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERFRESWYO
TD07:37Alvester Alexander 68 Yd Run. (Ian Watts Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERFRESWYO
TD12:22Ryan Mathews 4 Yd Run. (Kevin Goessling Kick) 77
TD05:01Greg Bolling 21 Yd Pass From Austyn Carta-Samuels. (Ian Watts Kick) 714
TD00:33Jamel Hamler 10 Yd Pass From Ryan Colburn. (Kevin Goessling Kick) 1414
THIRD QUARTERFRESWYO
TD13:06Jamel Hamler 43 Yd Pass From Chastin West. (Kevin Goessling Kick) 2114
FG08:19Ian Watts 40 Yd 2117
FOURTH QUARTERFRESWYO
TD13:59Ryan Mathews 5 Yd Run. (Kevin Goessling Kick) 2817
TD10:15David Leonard 11 Yd Pass From Austyn Carta-Samuels. (Austyn Carta-Samuels Pass To Greg Bolling For Two-Point Conversion) 2825
FG00:20Ian Watts 37 Yd 2828
2ND OVERTIMEFRESWYO
TDDavid Leonard 13 Yd Pass From Austyn Carta-Samuels. (Ian Watts Kick) 2835