UW-Florida Atlantic key to the game; other notes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s top key to the game for the Wyoming Cowboys in their game today against Florida Atlantic, which kicks off at 2 p.m. today at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium:

1. Finish drives: Wyoming moved the ball better than expected in its 48-18 loss at No. 2 Oregon with a season-high 439 yards. The Cowboys need to keep making progress there, but more importantly, finish drives with points. UW averages 16 points per game. That figure needs to rise significantly moving forward.

Agree, disagree?

Here are a few other notes and quotes for today’s game:

–Junior Jake Jones (appendicitis) and sophomore Sam Hardy (ankle) are game-time decisions for UW at right guard. If both can’t play, redshirt freshman Charlie Renfree will make his first-ever start.

–UW will try and win its fourth consecutive home game dating back to last season. The last time the Cowboys won four straight home games was during the end of the 2006 and beginning of the 2007 seasons. –Florida Atlantic is the third team UW has ever played from the state of Florida. The Cowboys lost games at Florida in 1951 and 2005, and beat Florida State 28-20 in the Sun Bowl in 1966. UW won at Florida Atlantic 30-28 in 2009. Today’s game will conclude a home-and-home series between the two teams.

–A catch today for senior receiver Dominic Rufran will give him 41 consecutive games with at least one catch. That will tie him with Wendell Montgomery (1996-99) for second all-time at UW. Jovon Bouknight (2002-05) has the record with 47 straight games with at least one catch. Rufran’s current streak is the second-longest active one in the nation. Boise State senior receiver Matt Miller is tops at 42 games entering today.

–Florida Atlantic coach Charlie Partridge on the play of UW sophomore running back D.J. May last week against Oregon, where he caught four passes for 101 yards including a 12-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter: “He is a big-play threat who proved that against Oregon. He caught a screen where he looked every bit as fast as anyone on the field.”

–UW junior running back Shaun Wick on his sixth-career 100-yard rushing game at Oregon (122 yards) last week: “Without a doubt that was cool, but first and foremost was to get the win. I would have given everything up to get the win.”

–UW senior wide receiver Jalen Claiborne on the team coming off a loss: “The difference between last year and this year is last we we kind of fell apart after some losses. This year, we’re a lot more close and we’re going to keep fighting together because we know that’s our identity.”

–In 14 seasons of football, this will be Florida Atlantic’s first time playing in Wyoming. The Owls will have played in 24 different states in its program’s history.

–Partridge, 40, is tied for the eighth-youngest head coach in FCS football. The youngest is P.J.. Fleck at Western Michigan.

Here is the link to watch today’s game online on the Mountain West Network online. There is no live television coverage from the game:

For more game coverage, see Saturday and Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Join Gagliardi for his live chat from the game starting at 1:30 p.m. today. Links will be on this blog and at wyosports.net. —