As always, I start with my top key for Wyoming for its game at Boise State Saturday:
Clean and complete: Wyoming hasn’t had a large margin of error in any game this season, but that margin is razor-thin in this game. Boise State isn’t 95-4 at home since 2000 by using smoke and mirrors. It capitalizes on opponents’ mistakes. The Cowboys can’t turn the ball over, be plagued by penalties or have breakdowns defensively. They also need to force the Broncos into making mistakes. Boise State had eight turnovers last week in its 52-26 loss at Utah State. UW has forced four turnovers all season. It needs to force multiple turnovers, and score off them if they have any chance of being competitive or winning this game.
What do you think, folks? Yes, no or this guy has no idea what he’s talking about?
Here is my video preview of the game:
Now, a few notes and quotes about the game:
— “I think we’re still a ways away. I’d like to think we’re really close. But we’re playing two true freshmen offensive linemen. Developing fullback play has been a challenge, same with the tight ends. We’ve made progress, but we’re not where we want to be.” — UW coach Craig Bohl about how far his offense has progressed since he took over as coach last year.
— “I thought Utah State was very aggressive. They went for a lot of strips and they ball-hawked the ball when it was in the air. You need to credit Utah State with some of those takeaways. Then there are nights where you don’t play particularly well. Utah State did some really good things, and I’m sure the coaches at Boise looked at the tape and felt they could play a lot better.” — Bohl on Boise State committed eight turnovers last week at Utah State.
— Speaking of turnovers, Boise State still has a positive turnover margin despite those eight turnovers last week. UW’s turnovers in slightly on the minus side. In seven games, the Cowboys have forced only four turnovers — three interceptions and one fumble recovery.
— A number to remember: 9 — The number of offensive categories UW redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman leads in the Mountain West. One category he doesn’t lead in is yards per completion, but Coffman is second there at 12.43 yards).
— “He was accurate. He was taking what they were giving us to a certain extent, but he also made some plays. There were some throws he should have made, and he did, but there were a couple of plays that were exceptional.” — UW offensive coordinator Brent Vigen on the play of Coffman last week, who was 18 of 20 for 213 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Cowboys’ 28-21 win over Nevada.
— “Once you play on that turf for about one series you learn to ignore it.” — UW senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough on playing on the blue field turf at Boise State.
— Another number to think about: 17 — The most points UW has ever scored against Boise State in nine previous games. That came back in 2003.
— UW sophomore running back Brian Hill needs 15 rushing yards to become the first Cowboy to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since Devin Moore had 1,301 yards in 2008.
— The Cowboys have three of the top tacklers in the MW. True freshman free safety Andrew Wingard averages 8.6 per game. That is first in the league among defensive backs, and fourth overall. Junior middle linebacker Lucas Wacha, averages 8.7 tackles per game, which is No. 3 among all league linebackers. Wacha returns for this game after missing last week with a concussion. Yarbrough averages 4.3 tackles per game, which is tied for second among MW defensive linemen.
— “To be the big dog you have to beat the big dog. I definitely would say this is a step and a test.” — Yarbrough on the fact UW is 0-9 all-time against Boise State, and has lost the last two by a combined 90 points.
— UW has allowed touchdowns on plays of 30 yards or more 12 times this season. Boise State defines “explosive plays” as runs of 12 yards or more and passes of 15 yards or more. For the season, the Broncos have 82 of those plays (53 pass, 29 run). They’ve also allowed only 36.
— “They’re an outstanding program. I think the world of (coach Bryan Harsin). They’ve won an awful lot of games. They enjoy a national reputation. But our program is so young that our main focus and concern is about the Cowboys. We certainly understand Boise is a great team, but we can’t do anything about that. We have to take care the challenges we have.” — Bohl
— “You can’t make too many mistakes. They’re pretty active with the way their guys play. Their alignments are aggressive and multiple. You can’t let all that stuff force you into mistakes. (Against Nevada) was the fastest we’ve play, meaning we played hard but knew what we were doing. If (Boise State) does give you some things in the pass game, have to be efficient. We can’t throw it all over the yard. We can’t take sacks. We have to go out and execute and build off last week’s performance.” — Vigen
— “One, I don’t think our team’s ever done that. We’ve gotten beat and people can assume that, but even when I was a coordinator here, I don’t think we’ve ever done that. We played very poorly in a lot of ways this last game, so I don’t think there’s any chance of anybody looking past for any of those circumstances.” — Boise State coach Bryan Harsin on overlooking Wyoming.
For more on the other MW football teams in action this weekend, check out the link to the conference’s “Extra Points.” Some pretty good stuff here.