First, my No. 1 key for Wyoming for its homecoming game Saturday against Nevada:
Eliminating turnovers: You can say that about any game, but Wyoming can’t have four turnovers like it did in last week’s 31-17 loss at Air Force and expect to win. Air Force scored 21 points off those miscues. Turnovers by anyone are costly, but the Cowboys can’t have their best offensive players doing it, i.e. sophomore running back Brian Hill and redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman. Both had two turnovers against Air Force. UW had a season-high four turnovers that led to 21 Air Force points.
I get into this and other keys in my video preview of the game:
A few other notes and quotes about this game:
— A lot has been made about Nevada’s 1-2 punch at running back in sophomore
James Butler and senior Don Jackson. Both average 94 or more rushing yards per game, the only duo on the same team among 127 FBS teams to do so. But don’t overlook junior quarterback Tyler Stewart, who both UW coach Craig Bohl and defensive coordinator Steve Stanard said is a legitimate dual-threat guy. Stanard was especially impressed by the way Stewart throws the ball: “He makes some impressive throws. He can roll out and deliver the ball.”
–Speaking of running back duos, UW figured to have one of the better ones in the Mountain West this season with sophomore Brian Hill and senior Shaun Wick. However, Wick has played in parts of four games due to concussion symptoms, and he isn’t expected to play today. Through a family member on Twitter, Wick may apply for a medical redshirt and shut it down for this season. Will try to confirm if this is true soon.
— UW is hoping to snap one of the longest and most dubious losing streaks its ever faced. The Cowboys have lost six straight home games going back to last season. That is the longest in school history. The first year UW played football was 1893.
— Two of the better young safeties in the country will be on display in this game. UW true freshman Andrew Wingard is second in the nation in tackles for freshmen with 51. Nevada redshirt freshman safety Asauni Rufus is third (48).
— “We know it’s gonna be a battle and that’s what we’re preparing for. We expect that it’s going to be a very physical game, as well. They’re going to try to run the ball, we’re going to try to run the ball. This game might be over in an hour and a half.” — Nevada coach Brian Polian.
— It’s homecoming for UW. It is 43-44-3 all-time in homecoming games, and 38-25-2 in homecoming games at War Memorial Stadium.
— If you want to gauge Nevada’s success on the field, it’s pretty easy. It is 12-2 under Polian when it out rushes its opponents, and 2-15 when it doesn’t. Nevada averages 222.3 rushing yards per game. UW allows 229.5, which is 114th out of 127 FBS teams.
— UW junior wide receivers Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt are the only two receiver duo in the MW to be ranked in the top 10 in the league in receptions. And, their combined 150.7 yards per game also is tops in the confernece.
— The Cowboys have played 26 true or redshirt freshmen this season, tied for the third most in the nation. TCU (29) and Clemson (28) have played more. UW has played 16 true freshmen, which is tied for the fifth-most. The Cowboys have only eight seniors on its roster. Nevada has 12.
— For those able to make Saturday’s game, the UW men’s basketball team will host a scrimmage open to fans from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium.
For more coverage of this game and other UW and high school sports, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net. I will live chat the UW-Nevada football game, and hopefully provide some updates from the hoops scrimmage. Links to the chat will be on this blog and at wyosports.net.