UW-Michigan State postgame thoughts

The score indicated Wyoming got beat by 42 points — not sure if it was that close.

The Cowboys lost 56-14 at No. 9 Michigan State Saturday at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans scored touchdowns on their first offensive possessions.

UW had no answer for Michigan State’s offense — running or passing. The Cowboys’ offense — aside from a few big plays — did nothing against the Spartans’ defense.

UW had a season-low 286 yards. Most of those plays came on four plays: 57-yard touchdown run by junior running back Shaun Wick in the first quarter, a 26-yard run by Wick later in that quarter, a 52-yard pass from senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard to senior receiver Jalen Claiborne late in the second quarter and a 41-yard pass from Kirkegaard to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry — also in the second quarter.

That’s 176 yards on those four plays — 110 the rest of the game.

There were three turnovers that resulted in 14 Michigan State points. Kirkegaard was sacked six times.

Defensively, UW allowed 338 yards rushing and 195 passing. Michigan State didn’t have to pass much, and three quarterbacks played. Still, the Spartans were 16 of 20 through the air.

There were a lot of missed tackles for UW — more this game than we’ve seen so far this season. Hope that isn’t a sign of things to come.

Here is first-year coach Craig Bohl after the game:

UW lost to No. 2 Oregon by 44 points and to No. 9 Michigan State by 42. It shows that the Cowboys aren’t ready — and haven’t been for a long time — to go toe-to-toe with the nation’s elite. That isn’t earth-shattering news. I think most knowledgeable UW fans realize that.

Maybe it will be in a few years, but for now the losing streak against ranked teams is now 22 for the Cowboys.

UW wasn’t helped by the fact sophomore starting left tackle Nathan Leddige missed the game with a concussion. Bohl said he didn’t find that out until Saturday. It played junior Austin Traphagan at left tackle. Even if Leddige played it wouldn’t have made that big a difference, but the musical chairs along the line the last few weeks at right guard and, in this game, left tackle has not helped. UW has allowed 22 sacks in five games.

In his postgame interview, Bohl addressed why Wick, who had just five carries, didn’t touch the ball more. UW got down so big early that running the ball, especially on power plays to Wick, didn’t make a lot of sense. The injuries along the line also didn’t help.

Here is Kirkegaard and Wick talking after the game:

One person I thought did play well on defense was senior cornerback Blair Burns. He led UW with a career-high 10 tackles. Not a good sign when a corner leads in tackles, but he was one of the few UW players that tackled well.

UW now has a bye week, and it comes at a good time. UW needs to get healthy — mentally and physically. It needs to work on a lot of things, but still has a lot of play for with seven conference games left.

That’s what junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough said after the game:

This was the most points at team has scored on a team where Bohl was the head coach. Back in 2009, Northern Iowa put up 42 points on North Dakota State. Michigan State had that at halftime.

UW needs to learn from this game, but it also needs to have some short-term memory so it doesn’t ruin the rest of its season. No more top 10 teams are on its schedule from here on out. That’s not to say there aren’t tough teams and challenges, but the playing field should be evened a bit now.

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