Colorado State vs. Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. in Albuquerque, NM on ESPN
For the first time since its inception (2006), the New Mexico Bowl will be played without New Mexico on the scoreboard. It has traditionally been a low scoring game being played at University Stadium on the University of New Mexico’s campus according to Wikipedia. The crowd will be small as the capacity is only 38,634, but this is similar to both schools’ home stadium capacity, so they will be used to it. Fort Collins is about half the distance from Albuquerque according to Google Maps, so the crowd may lean slightly toward the Colorado State Rams if their fans travel well. Below you will find analysis of each school’s offense, defense, and special teams based on statistics compiled from FoxSports.com.
Offense: CSU has averaged just under 130 yards per game rushing (81st) and 247.5 yards per game passing (32nd). They are averaging 23.7 points per game to rank 76th in the country in scoring.
Defense: CSU’s defense has not stopped many offenses this season allowing above the national average in both rushing yards allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game. They have given up almost 30 points per game, ranking 89th. Their rush defense ranks 100th, allowing 185.3 yards per game. The defense allowed 222.8 passing yards per game to rank 99th in the country.
Special Teams: The Rams have averaged 6.06 yards per punt return and 21.71 yards per kick return. They allow 13 yards per punt return (107th) and 25.7 yards per kick return (114th).
Offense: The Bulldogs have a good offense, scoring 29.2 points per game to rank 40th in the country. They rush for 176.8 yards per game (36th) and have three backs that have over 100 carries and average 5.4 yards per carry or better, although running back Ryan Mathews’ status for the game is uncertain. Their passing game goes puts up 206.5 yards per game (66th).
Defense: For as many yards as Fresno State puts up, they seem to give up just as many. They allow 197.3 rushing yards (105th) and 196.2 passing yards (73rd) per game. The 30.3 points they allow is 91st in the nation.
Special Teams: Fresno’s return game is very good averaging 14.54 yards per punt return (3 for touchdowns) and 24.31 yards per kickoff. They have allowed 14.9 yards per punt return (119th) and 24 yards per kickoff return (105th) when covering.
Match Up: Fresno State’s powerful run game will have a great day against the Rams. They will probably hit 200+ yards. The two quarterbacks have nearly identical stats, but the Bulldogs get an extra 30 yards per game rushing. The Rams could have a decent day on offense, but the key to the game will be the Rams’ weak red-zone offense against the Bulldogs’ strong red-zone defense and they will not be able to keep up with the Bulldogs. Also, look for Fresno to take a punt back against porous coverage by the Rams.
Prediction: Fresno State 31 – Colorado State 24