Fresno State was looking for a spark this week, particularly after switching up its quarterbacks and naming Zack Greenlee the starter.
Instead, the Bulldogs endured a big-time power outage, getting blown out 45-17 Saturday night by Wyoming -- and it wasn't just due to Greenlee's lack of production.
Fresno State missed tackles throughout the night and its defenders weren't near close enough to prevent other big plays while allowing the Cowboys to generate 694 total yards before an announced crowd of 32,164 at Bulldog Stadium. Wyoming, which snapped a four-game losing streak, entered the night averaging 343.3 total yards.
"Embarrassed with just the overall game," Bulldogs defensive captain Derron Smith said. "The effort in the fourth quarter, just embarrassed.
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"I have to go back and watch the film. But late in the game like that, it's about playing for pride. And if they're busting runs like that play after play, I've got to assume something ain't going right. Just my initial sense was you've got to start questioning some people's heart out there."
Cowboys freshman Brian Hill, a seldom-used backup running back as recent as two weeks ago, ran all over the Bulldogs for 281 yards and two touchdowns and set a Mountain West record for all-purpose yards at 387.
Hill powered through both the middle of the Bulldogs defense and along the perimeter while putting up the most rushing yards Fresno State has allowed to one player this season.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Greenlee, who represented much of the Bulldogs' hopes for a late-season resurgence, spent most of the night handing off during his starting debut.
There was reason for the conservative playcalling.
When Greenlee did throw, there were only flashes of productivity and little consistency. He finished 7 of 16 for 55 yards before he was removed after three quarters in favor of ousted starter Brian Burrell.
Fresno State (3-6, 2-3), which started the season with three straight losses to Power 5 conference teams, has lost three straight Mountain West games.
Fresno State must win out with games at San Jose State and then at Nevada (which beat San Diego State on Saturday) before hosting Hawaii to conclude the regular season just to become bowl eligible at 6-6.
"It's not a good feeling at all," Bulldogs offensive captain Josh Harper said. "I feel like we were ready for the game. But nothing went as planned. I really don't have the answers to what went wrong. ...
"We can't give up. We've got to play for pride now. We've got to finish strong -- 1-0 every week. Try to finish as strong as we can."
But even if Greenlee improves from his shaky debut, the Bulldogs still must rectify a defense and its problems that seem to change from week to week -- if not grow.
The Bulldogs had done a solid job defending the run until Saturday night when Wyoming (4-5, 2-3) and its power-run based offense exposed the defense in new ways.
Using a methodical, run-heavy approach under the direction of first-year coach Craig Bohl, Wyoming put together long touchdown drives.
After Fresno State scored on its opening drive, thanks largely to a 52-yard punt return by Smith to the Wyoming 8, the Cowboys answered with a 32-yard touchdown run from Hill to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
Wyoming went up 14-7 after quarterback Colby Kirkegaard threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jake Maulhardt to complete a 14-play, 92-yard drive that lasted 7:19.
The Cowboys expanded their lead to 21-7 with 9:33 left in the first half after Hill sliced the Bulldogs defense right down the middle for a 66-yard touchdown run.
"I'm extremely disappointed with the way we played," Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said. "We got outcoached, got outplayed. There are no excuses for it.
"They were running the same plays that we practiced. We were trying to figure out the fits, what was missing. A lot of it was inside run, and they were blocking it a couple of different ways. One we had a bad call. The others were plays we should've fit, that we fit in practice. Sometimes when you get everybody packed in and your guy who's one-on-one has got to make that play, their guy was beating our guy."
The Bulldogs caught a break on the Cowboys' next drive. Hill busted loose for a 39-yard run but he lost the ball and Fresno State recovered at its 2.
Instead of falling behind three scores, Fresno State went on to score on a 28-yard field goal with 46 seconds left before halftime to reduce Wyoming's lead to 21-10.
The Bulldogs relied heavily on running back Marteze Waller early on before it became quite predictable for Wyoming to stop him.
Waller finished with 18 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown.
As unproductive as Greenlee was, Burrell also had problems after replacing him in the fourth -- throwing two interceptions and getting sacked once.
"Tonight, clearly we didn't play to our capabilities," DeRuyter said. "That's very frustrating. As coaches we've got to get that fixed."