Wyoming at Eastern Michigan football primer

Some pre-game reading prior to Wyoming’s game at Eastern Michigan, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Friday and is televised on CBS Sports Network.

First, my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:

Keeping balance: Wyoming has averaged 216 rushing yards and 210 passing yards through its first three games. That balance has been a key to its success, and has to continue today. UW can’t let Eastern Michigan make it one dimensional.

Yes, no or am I full of it?

— I had this note in Friday’s story in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Laramie Boomerang and online at wyosports.net, but I found it interesting. The Cowboys play their third Friday night game in as many seasons. However, the last time UW played a nonconference game on a day other than Saturday was on Dec. 23, 2004 when it beat UCLA 24-21 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

— Not sure how this will play out, but in last season’s 48-29 Eastern Michigan win at UW, it played with a three-man front defensively. UW ran for 430 yards, but some of that was due to the fact quarterback Josh Allen was lost for the season on the

Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor

second series of the game with a broken collar bone and UW couldn’t throw the ball after that. This season, Eastern Michigan is more of a four-man front. One guy to watch for Eastern Michigan along the defensive line is senior defensive end Pat O’Connor. He is a three-time captain, and one of only seven active players in the FBS to have earned that honor. He missed last year’s game with UW — and all of last season — with a shoulder injury.

— Remember last week, many wondered how UW’s defense would fare without senior outside linebacker D.J. May? Junior Tim Kamana started in place of May, and third-year coach Craig Bohl said: “We appreciated what Tim did. He made a couple tackles and he was in the right spots.” Junior nickel and UCLA transfer Jalen Ortiz played a lot of football last Saturday against UC Davis as well. Ortiz may see the field more at Eastern Michigan in a different capacity. Junior cornerback Robert Priester (concussion protocol) is questionable. If he can’t play, UW will rely mostly on sophomores Rico Gafford and Antonio Hull, and redshirt freshman Davion Freeman. However, Ortiz played corner in high school and some at UCLA. Don’t be surprised if he is in some of UW’s pass defense packages.

— Both UW and Eastern Michigan have played much better defense against the run through their first three games. UW has allowed 115 yards per game. Eastern Michigan 116.7. Last season, UW allowed 225.2 and Eastern Michigan 316.6. Wonder how all that will play out in this game?

— Eastern Michigan has averaged 256.7 passing yards per game. It has hit on its share of big plays, and Bohl described its rushing scheme as “complex.” UW’s defense has been hurt by big plays over the first two games, but did a better job last week against UC Davis. The Aggies’ longest offensive plays were 25 and 24 yards. ” We just have keep on trust ourselves and listen to what our coaches say,” Gafford said. “Everything we’ve seen (Eastern Michigan ) do on film are thigns we we’ve seen lthe lat few weeks. We’ll be prepared for it.”

For more UW football and sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net. I will have a live chat from Friday’s game starting at 5:15 p.m. MT. Links will be at wyosports.net and on this blog.