Numbers aren’t pretty for Cowboys at midway point of season

For those who stayed up and watched Wyoming’s 38-28 loss at Hawaii, I commend you.

For all the coverage from the game, go to wyosports.net.

No need to rehash a lot of the bad from that game, which saw the Cowboys give up 513 yards of total offense and be outscored 28-7 in the second half.

At the midway point of the season, UW is 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Mountain West. If certain numbers don’t improve, the Cowboys will be hard-pressed to win many more games in the second half of the season.

The Cowboys are tied for 120th in sacks with four in six games. San Jose State, Kent State and Navy are the only teams with fewer sacks than UW. Three of UW’s four sacks are by its linebackers. One is by a defensive lineman — senior defensive tackle Patrick Mertens — and none by the defensive ends.

UW also allows 31 points, 202.3 rushing yards and 421.3 total yards per game, and teams have converted 49.5 percent of their third downs. All areas that need to improve, but will they? First-year coach Craig Bohl said after the Hawaii game there is plenty to improve upon, but can the Cowboys do it?

Offensively, UW needed to play its sixth game to score more than 20 points in a game, and one of its four touchdowns against Hawaii was scored by the defense. Its 18.3 points per game is 116th in the country.

UW is 123rd out of 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in quarterback sacks allowed with 26 for a loss of 175 yards. Only Miami (Ohio), Idaho and SMU have allowed more sacks than the Cowboys. UW also is tied for 117th in tackles for loss allowed with 47 for a loss of 223 yards. That’s nearly eight per game.

The Cowboys also are converting only 37.1 percent of their third downs, and average 335.8 yards per game.

Tough to win games with those numbers, and it sounds a lot like the last couple of seasons for UW where it finished with losing records.

But the numbers aren’t all that bad.

The Cowboys are tied for fourth nationally with 3.67 penalties and 31 penalty yards per game. Their 22 penalties in six games is tied for the second-fewest.

Junior running back Shaun Wick is 18th in the country with 6.42 yards per carry. His 610 rushing yards is 25th and his 101.7 yards per game is 27th.

UW’s three leading receivers — seniors Dominic Rufran and Jalen Claiborne, and sophomore Tanner Gentry — have combined for 63 catches for 875 yards and three touchdowns.

To me, senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard is showing more comfort in the offense with each game. His completion percentage is 59.5 percent. There isn’t a large margin of error for Kirkegaard or this offense, but if it can become more consistent there may be something there to work with looking ahead.

But UW needs to be better in pass protection, and more consistent in its run blocking. Getting more guys along the offensive line back from injury/illness should help, at least it better.

There is a lot of improvement that needs to be made on offense, defense and special teams. The Cowboys likely will have a large gap to fill on defense after the knee injury at Hawaii to senior free safety and co-captain Darrenn White. We should know the severity of it Monday, but it doesn’t look good moving forward for him.

What do you think, folks? Can UW overcome and improve in some of these shortcomings or will it be another rough second half for this group?