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Wyoming beats Fresno St. in OT to win New Mexico Bowl

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The Sports Network
12/19/2009 9:25:19 PM
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Albuquerque, NM (Sports Network) - David Leonard hauled in seven passes for 60 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning TD catch in the second overtime, as the Wyoming Cowboys upended the Fresno State Bulldogs, 35-28, in the fourth annual New Mexico Bowl.

Austyn Carta-Samuels completed 17-of-31 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns for the Cowboys (7-6). Carta-Samuels also rushed for 71 yards on 19 carries. Alvester Alexander carried the ball 12 times for 143 yards and a score.

Ryan Mathews, the nation's leading rusher, rushed for 144 yards and two scores on 31 carries for the Bulldogs (8-5), who lost 40-35 to Colorado State in this bowl last season. Ryan Colburn connected on 13-of-19 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Jamel Hamler caught seven passes for 85 yards and two scores in defeat.

The Bulldogs got the ball to start the first overtime and had a 1st-and-goal from the one after Colburn's nine-yard rush. Mathews was stuffed on first and second down before Colburn's QB sneak was unsuccessful. The goal-line stand was complete when the Cowboys kept Mathews out of the end zone on fourth down.

Wyoming had the game in its hands, but Ian Watts missed a 40-yard field goal wide left.

"You have to give Wyoming a lot of credit. They were a hungry team. In my whole career we've never been stopped like that on the goal line. Give them a lot of credit," Fresno State head coach Pat Hill said.

The Cowboys started the second overtime on the right note. Faced with a 3rd- and-goal from the 13, Carta-Samuels lofted a perfect pass to Leonard near the left pylon. Leonard kept his feet in to give Wyoming a 35-28 lead.

Faced with 4th-and-5 at the 20, Bryce Harris fumbled the football as he was chased by a number of Wyoming defenders.

Chris Lewis intercepted Carta-Samuels on the second play of the fourth, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the Wyoming six. Mathews then rumbled into the end zone from five yards out to give Fresno State a 28-17 lead with about 14 minutes to play.

On the ensuing Wyoming drive, Leonard hauled in an 11-yard TD pass. A successful two-point conversion cut the gap to 28-25 with 10:15 to go.

Mathews then fumbled the ball to give the Cowboys the ball back at their own 26 with 8:08 remaining.

Wyoming converted three fourth downs on the 19-play game-tying drive. Faced with a 4th-and-2 from the 34, punter Austin McCoy connected with Leonard on a three-yard pass for a first down. Carta-Samuels caught an eight- yard pass on the second conversion. On 4th-and-4 from the Fresno State 41, Leonard hauled in a six-yard pass. The Cowboys were forced to settle for a 37- yard Ian Watts field goal to deadlock the tilt at 28 with 20 seconds left.

On the first play of Wyoming's second possession, Alexander found a gap on the right side of the line and scampered 68 yards into the end zone with 7:37 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs fumbled deep in the Cowboys' territory on their ensuing drive.

Fresno State bridged the first and second frames with a seven-play, 51-yard scoring drive. Mathews capped the march with a four-yard rushing TD to deadlock the contest with 12:22 remaining until half.

Wyoming responded with a touchdown of its own to take back the lead. The 15- play, 95-yard drive was topped off by Greg Bolling's 21-yard TD catch with about five minutes to go.

The Bulldogs fought right back with a touchdown to tie the game at 14. Hamler capped off the drive with a 10-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone.

The score remained deadlocked at the half after Ian Watts had a 50-yard field goal blocked.

Fresno State used a trick play to score a touchdown on its first possession of the third period. Chastin West took a reverse and tossed a 43-yard TD pass to a wide open Hamler for a 21-14 lead.

Watts' 40-yard field goal on the Cowboys' next possession cut the gap to 21-17 with 8:19 left in the third.

Game Notes:

The Cowboys went 4-for-4 on fourth down, while the Bulldogs went 2- for-4...Wyoming had 438 total yards, compared to 366 yards for Fresno State.

Brandon Stewart (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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