Hard to start in a game like this, but I will say Wyoming showed me something coming back from a 37-21 fourth-quarter deficit in a 37-34 loss at No. 18 Nebraska Saturday night in Lincoln, Neb.
UW coach Dave Christensen described junior quarterback Brett Smith as “special” after the game. Smith was 29 of 43 for 383 yards with four touchdowns and one interception (that led to Nebraska touchdown). Smith also ran for 92 yards and his 475 yards of total offense gives him 6,892 for his career, which is now fourth-best in school history.
“The guy’s good. He’s one of the better quarterbacks I’ve seen in a while as far as buying time and being elusive in the pocket,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said.
I had some questions from fans on my live chat and on Twitter on a couple of decisions made by Christensen during the game.
On the choice of not going after any points late in the first half and having the offense take a knee near midfield, Christensen said he wanted his team to be close heading into the fourth quarter. He didn’t elaborate more, but that tells me he didn’t want to to risk making a mistake.
In the third quarter on a fourth-and-5 play and attempted a 50-yard field goal. Christensen said he had faith in junior kicker Stuart Williams. Williams missed the field goal to the right.
On the play call where Smith threw a lateral to Norman, who then threw an interception deep in Nebraska territory in the fourth quarter. Christensen said that was on him, and that he should not have made that call.
What do you guys think about all that?
I know the defense gave up 375 rushing yards, 530 total yards and 9 of 17 third down conversions, but it made plays when it had to late. A Blair Burns interception, a Marqueston Huff forced fumble and fumble recovery. That defense was out there a lot, got worn down and beat up (there was no news on injuries after the game) There are areas that need to be better, but the fact UW hung in there and made some plays late was encouraging. UW made 102 tackles in the game. That’s a lot!! Huff had 18 and sophomore defensive end Eddie Yarbrough had 13. Eight different players had seven or more tackles.
Christensen described Nebraska’s offensive line as a bunch of “bulldozers” earlier in the week. That was a good way to describe them. The Cornhuskers may have issues defensively, but they will run the ball well on just about every team it plays this season.
Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory was asked if the end result felt like a loss since Nebraska was a 28-point favorite: “We won by three, but I think we realized we’re better than that, and (running back) Ameer Abdullah talked to us after the game and said it the right way. We are better than that and we need to play harder and play more as a team.”
One last note: the Mountain West is 2-7 so far this first week of the season. Yikes.
For more on this game, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.