Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s key to the game for Wyoming for its home game today against Utah State. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. MT at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.
Match the Aggies: Wyoming coach Craig Bohl and offensive coordinator Brent Vigen both said Utah State plays the hardest of any team the Cowboys have faced in the Mountain West to this point. Whether it is on offense or defense UW has to match that — or surpass that — to have a chance to win.
Yes, no, Gagliardi has no idea what he’s talking about? What do you think, folks?
Here is Gagliardi and WyoSports editor Scott Nulph’s video preview of today’s game:
A few notes on today’s game:
–The two teams meet for the 65th time and the series dates back to 1903, and is the fifth-longest series in UW history. Last year, a new twist was added to the series with it being called “Bridger’s Battle.” Last year, the two teams played for a “Bridger Rifle,” a .50-caliber Rocky Mountain Hawken rifle that was popular among the mountain men of the 1800s, and was the rifle carried by legendary mountain Man Jim Bridger.
–With one catch, UW senior receiver Dominic Rufran will tie Jovon Bouknight’s (2002-05) school record with a catch in 47 consecutive games. Bouknight is the pass game coordinator and receivers coach at Utah State. Rufran also needs 50 receiving yards to move past Malcom Floyd (2000-03) into sixth place in career receiving yards. Rufran has 2,362.
–This is Utah State’s first game at UW as a member of the Mountain West, and first game in Laramie since 2007.
–Utah State has won 12 straight games in November, ad 16 of the last 18 dating back to 2010. The Aggies also have won 12 of their last 13 conference road games, including a 5-1 mark in MW road games.
–Last week was all about season-highs for both teams offensively. UW posted season-highs in points (45), rushing yards (374), total yards (694), third-down conversions (10 of 15) and time of possession (36:49) in its 45-17 win at Fresno State. Utah State’s season-highs included rushing yards (235), total yards (465) and rushing attempts (50) in its 35-14 win at Hawaii.
–Utah State has suffered season-ending injuries to seven starters this season. UW has had three, and three others who have started games are currently out due to injury.
–You know by now that Utah State is on its fourth different starting quarterback this season due to injuries. Freshman Kent Myers gets the start today. The Aggies are the only team in the country with five players who have thrown at least two touchdown passes. Senior receiver Ronald Butler is the fifth. Conversely, UW senior Colby Kirkegaard is the only quarterback for the Cowboys who have thrown a pass in a game this season.
–UW true freshman running back Brian Hill garnered league and national honors for his 281 yards rushing and 387 all-purpose yards last week against Fresno State. However, Utah State true freshman LaJuan Hunt had 150 yards on 33 carries last week at Hawaii.
Some notable quotes about today’s game:
–“I thought he operated the offense well. He seemed poised and composed, and threw the ball well down field. They were able to run the football, and Hawaii has an imposing front.” — UW coach Craig Bohl on the play of Utah State freshman quarterback Kent Myers last week in the Aggies 35-14 win at Hawaii.
–“I’ve just got to keep giving great effort, and this week I will have to get some different pass rushing moves going. Utah State has played three or four different quarterbacks, but they’re still good. They have a great offensive line so no matter who the quarterback is he has a lot of time to throw.” — UW true freshman walk-on defensive end Seth Edeen, a Cheyenne Central graduate who at 6-3, 203, saw his first playing time last week at Fresno State and had three tackles. His first tackle was a sack.
–“It’s a little bit of a throw-back game. I haven’t played a game on a Friday since high school. It’s cool. It will be a different environment. It’s on national TV, and a lot of guys in the program it’s huge and they feed off that stuff. I hope it leads to more record-setting performances.” — UW junior center Rafe Kiely.
–“That’s the sign of a good program. They have a good system in place, but a lot of its starts with the offensive line. I think they’re the most physical offensive line we’ve played thus far. They make very few mental mistakes. They’re big, strong and they get on you.” — Bohl on Utah State’s offense and the fact it’s 6-3 and on its fourth different starting quarterback.
–“Their defensive line is good, and it’s no surprise (Utah State) leads the conference in sacks. They have good speed rushers who get around the tackles, and their defensive backs are athletic like they always are. They’re not afraid to play man-to-man. It’s a good defense.” — UW senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard.
–“You look at Wyoming the last four weeks and they’ve gotten their identity a little bit on offense. I know they haven’t all been wins, but from and offensive standpoint they’ve played really well over the last month. It looks like they found themselves a running back, too. What a performance Saturday night. Stopping the run is a strength of our team, so it’ll be a good battle.” — Utah State coach Matt Wells on the Cowboys and about true freshman running back Brian Hill who had 281 rushing yards last week at Fresno State.
–“He’s a really smooth wide out, and he reminds me a lot of Jovon Bouknight.” — Wells on UW senior receiver Jalen Claiborne, who he compared to Bouknight, a former UW receiver from 2002-05 and in his sixth year as an assistant at Utah State.
–“To me, when you’re looking at the quarterback position, you have some main guys in this league, and you look at Colby Kirkegaard and you say to yourself: ‘this guy is a really good player.’ He’s probably very underrated in terms of this league.” — Utah State defensive coordinator Todd Orlando.