Wyoming gave up 21 first quarter points, fell to Fresno State 42-14; Pokes record slipped to 1-6

(Fresno, Calif.) – Even on a night when sophomore quarterback Brett Smith moved into 10th place on Wyoming’s all-time career passing list, the Cowboy football team dropped a contest to the Fresno State Bulldogs on Saturday, 42-14.

The Cowboys couldn’t find an offensive rhythm all night, finishing with 253 total yards, compared to 394 for Fresno State. Wyoming (1-6 overall, 0-3 Mountain West) fell to Fresno State (5-3 overall, 3-1 MW) squad in front of 29,423 fans in Bulldog Stadium.

Smith finished with 158 yards through the air to move into the No. 10 spot on Wyoming’s career passing yardage list. He now has 3,962 yards passing, pushing past former UW quarterback Randy Welniak (1985-88), who had 3,819 yards.

The scoring started after a Wyoming fake punt that came up short. Fresno State then marched 54 yards for a score to go up 7-0 with 8:20 remaining in the first quarter. The Bulldogs put on a show the rest of the first quarter, scoring on a 76-yard punt return for TD and a 19-yard TD pass to put Fresno State up 21-0.

The second quarter started with a Wyoming punt, which Fresno returned to the UW 14. One play later, Fresno ran it in for the 28-0 lead.

With 7:11 to go in the second quarter, senior linebacker Ghaali Muhammad recovered a Fresno State fumble at the Wyoming 24 and returned it 31 yards to the Fresno State 45 to nullify a scoring threat. But UW’s offense was unable to move the ball after that, and punted it to the Bulldog 14 with 6:14 to go in the half.

Fresno State was driving with 4:48 in the quarter when junior defensive end Justin Bernthaler hit Bulldog quarterback Derek Carr, forcing the fumble. Sophomore defensive end Sonny Puletasi scooped it up to give Wyoming the ball. But again, the Cowboy offense couldn’t muster anything and was forced to punt.

Later in the half, the Bulldogs tacked on another TD with just 16 seconds to go in the second quarter to go up 35-0.

The Cowboys held Fresno State scoreless in the third quarter and put some points up of their own when Smith found junior H-back Riley Lange in the back of the endzone with 44 seconds left in the third. It was 35-7 after that score.

Another Wyoming scoring threat was nullified when Smith’s pass with 7:24 left in the fourth quarter was picked off by Phillip Thomas and returned 20 yards for the score to make it 42-7.

The Cowboys rallied when Smith found sophomore Dominic Rufran from six yards out for the TD with 2:41 to go in the game to make it 42-14, but Wyoming was unable to draw any closer.

–Wyoming Sports Information Office