Strength vs. strength for UW and Utah State

Wyoming’s offense versus Utah State’s defense.

Those are the strengths of the two teams when both play at noon Saturday at Romney Stadium in Logan, Utah.

Utah State (7-4, 6-1) leads the MW in seven defensive categories, and is seventh nationally in scoring defense (17.6 points per game), 10th in third-down conversion defense (31.5 percent) and tied for 12th in total defense (333.4 yards per game).

UW (5-6, 3-4) is 13th in total offense at just under 500 yards of total offense per game.

This is what UW coach Dave Christensen said about the Aggies’ defense Monday during his weekly interview session with the media.

“Most people haven’t had a lot of success that has played them,” he said. “Every single player plays extremely hard the entire play for every single play. They’re very talented players that have great motors. They have a lot of experience. They can get great pressure on the quarterback. They are tight as can be in man coverage. They pressure, they blitz and they get there. They definitely are the best defense we’ve played this year.”

Here are some other news and notes from Monday’s interview session with players and coaches:

–Christensen was in a jovial mood. He picked up and checked out the .50-caliber rifle UW and Utah State will play for every year. The rifle does not fire, but Christensen was having some fun with that. He also jokingly said: “We’re starting to get a little bit like the Big Ten where we have a trophy for every game.”¬†UW also plays for the Bronze Boot with Colorado State and the Paniolo Trophy with Hawaii.

–UW secondary coach Renaldo Hill said true freshman Xavier Lewis graded in the 90th percentile after his first start in last week’s 59-56 overtime win over Hawaii. Lewis will start again this week at strong safety.

–Interim defensive coordinator Jamar Cain said he showed his players film of 11 bad plays from the Hawaii game, and said seven of them were deep pass plays where the secondary struggled. Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder completed 37 of 50 passes for 499 yards and six touchdowns. Five of those touchdowns were between 29 and 34 yards.

–UW’s backups at free and strong safety this week? True freshman Tim Kamana at free and junior walk-on Jake Schiffner at strong. Cain said UW won’t burn the redshirt off Kamana at this point, and Schiffner really isn’t in the rotation. However, junior cornerback Blair Burns and true freshman cornerback Tim Hayes are getting some reps at safety.

–Junior center Albert Perez, who has started six games, is out for the second straight week due to injury. Redshirt freshman Chase Roullier is listed as the starter and sophomore backup Rafe Kiely as the backup. Roullier started against Hawaii, and is the third different starter at center this season.

–No uniform update from Monday. The uniform and helmet combinations are usually on display outside of the football offices each Monday, but not today. There are rumors that UW will wear its military appreciation uniforms at Utah State, the same ones they wore at Air Force on Sept. 21.

For more on UW football, including a feel-good story on Laramie native and UW offensive guard Josh Teeter, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net. Also see all outlets for UW-Ohio State men’s hoops coverage. The Cowboys were giving the No. 8 Buckeyes all they wanted.

Wyoming's military appreciation uniforms it wore Sept. 21 against Air Force. UW may wear these again Saturday at Utah State. Photo by Robert Gagliardi/WyoSports

Wyoming’s military appreciation uniforms it wore Sept. 21 against Air Force. UW may wear these again Saturday at Utah State. Photo by Robert Gagliardi/WyoSports