UW-Utah State postgame thoughts

Wyoming’s 2013 football season came to an end Saturday with a 35-7 loss at Utah State.

The final score wasn’t a surprise, but the way things transpired was — in a way.

Here’s video of the team coming off the field after the game, while Utah State (8-4, 7-1) celebrated its Mountain Division title.


The Cowboys played well defensively. Two turnovers from the offense gave Utah State short fields, which resulted in two touchdowns. UW also allowed a punt return for a touchdown.

Even though Utah State isn’t an offensive juggernaut without starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton, UW allowed a season-low 310 total yards. The Cowboys were not overwhelmed defensively, and I agree with coach Dave Christensen’s assessment that the defense played well enough for the team to win this game.

But the offense and special teams didn’t.

Season-lows 190 yards, 28 yards rushing, 10 first downs and 58 plays. Utah State’s defense is the best in the Mountain West, but UW’s offense was awful. It needed to take some chances — shots down the field — to loosen up that defense. It never happened, or at least not enough.

The play calling seemed conservative. The play sequence near the end of the first half was horrible. UW didn’t try to get into a position to even try a field goal. That may not have made a difference in the final outcome, but it didn’t send a very good message to the players. We’ve seen this a lot from Christensen in the past, unfortunately.

UW forced two turnovers, and got no points. It also gave the  ball up on downs deep in Utah State territory late after a 41-yard return on a fumble by sophomore defensive end Eddie Yarbrough.

The special teams were dreadful. A muffed punt by Jalen Claiborne resulted in points, and his poor judgment on a kickoff return didn’t help UW, either. When was the last time you saw Claiborne return a punt instead of just calling for a fair catch?

UW never won the field position battle. Its average starting spot was its own 24-yard line, and its own 17 in the first half. Seven penalties for 71 yards also didn’t help, nor did UW going 4 of 15 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.

I thought senior free safety Marqueston Huff played well in his final game with a career-high 20 tackles, the third-most in UW history in a game. I also thought linebackers Devyn Harris (12 tackles) and junior Jordan Stanton (11) played well.

Here’s a video interview with Huff after the game.


Senior defensive tackle Justin Bernthaler had a sack and three in his last two games.

But in all, the final result was a 5-7 record and a 3-5 mark in the MW. UW wasn’t even close to competing with the teams that finished higher than it in the league, other than a 51-44 loss at San Jose State back in late October.

Should Christensen come back for a sixth season? I go into that in my Sunday column. For that, and more on the game, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

5 thoughts on “UW-Utah State postgame thoughts

  1. Christensen is just not the right leader for this team. Collectively, the coaching staff has shown it’s not capable of improvement within it’s ranks. Somewhere between awful and pathetic is this years assessment overall as a team. We have some good players, about a half dozen or so that you could count on to play their respective positions. Yet all in all a very disappointing year, in which DC characterizes as his best wealth of talent since he’s been here. Where do we go?
    Well, with no leadership at the Presidents slot, and a fumbling AD whom honestly is not capable of running his slot I would say we wait, as much as that hurts. The University has to have the support system in place to make the next move or we could end up in a sort of “purgatory”- neither football heaven or hell. The fans are worn out, the kids look worn out, and our tradition which hasn’t been held much glory is in tatters. I really believe the donors who support this University and it’s athletics are ready to dig deep even in tight times, however to let Burman or the BoT select the next Wizard of the War right now would come back to hurt rather than help. If it takes another season of this type of performance, we wait…until we form the cohesive leadership that lock steps and finds the next HC for what was Wyoming Football. I’m actually taking a huge 180, from where I was 3 weeks ago. Sternbergs dismissal or release helped form this position. Thanks to all those Seniors this year for a brief shining moment, and the tenacity it took to get waxed down the stretch. I do know that feeling all too well. Go Wyo!

    • A lot of names on that list, KC. Working on it, and have been for a while now. Will share when I can.

      RG

  2. You need time to take a shot down the field. Short game has to at least be threat. When nothing works nothing works. I think we owe it to Brett Smith and company to bring coach back one more season Bring in an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator. Let them recruit and get use to the team and then select one next year as either head coach or head coach in waiting should the program do a turn around. Offensive weapons will be acceptable next year. Defense while still struggling will be better.

  3. I AM SO GLAD THAT THE FOORBALL SEASON IS OVER FOR THE COWBOYS. IT WAS PAINFUL TO WATCH. SPECIAL TEAMS WERE A DISMAL FAILURE. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN GOOD ALL SEASON. IT IS TIME TO GET RID OF DC AND FIND A NEW COACH. THE OFFENSE WAS POOR TO SAY THE LEAST. I THINK BRET SMITH DESERVES A GOOD COACH AND A GOOD OFFENSIVE LINE, HE IS SUCH A GOOD QB. ALSO THE RUGBY KICK IS PATHETIC, NEED TO GET RID OF IT IN THE PLAY BOOK. ON ANOTHER NOTE THE UNIFORMS WERE TERRIBLE. WYOMING’S COLORS ARE BROWN AND GOLD, NO WHERE IS GRAY OR CAMOFLAUGE IN THERE. WHO EVER DESIGNES THE UNIFORMS NEEDS TO TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE UNIFROMS AND CHANGE THEM TO FIT WITH WYO COLORS. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT SEASON, HOPEFULLY EVERYTHING WILL IMPROVE.

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