Some news and notes prior to Wyoming’s game at Nevada, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday at Mackay Stadium in Reno.
Per normal, here is my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:
The Butler didn’t do it: Wyoming’s defense must slow down Nevada junior running back James Butler, who is fourth in the Mountain West in rushing (117.4 yards per game) and third in all-purpose yards (149.3 ypg). UW did a good job against Butler last season as he had 10 carries for 51 yards, but that was due in large part to it leading 28-7 late in the third quarter. If Butler gets going, that opens other things up for Nevada’s offense.
Do you agree or disagree? For more keys to the game, and also a story on Butler, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.
–Through UW’s 4-2 start, it has outscored teams in each of the first three quarters. The second and third quarters have been the most decisive — 73-52 in the second and 62-30 in the third. In the fourth, however, UW has been outscored 62-14.
— “Not here at Wyoming. Whether I was working at Nebraska or North Dakota State, that was always an issue. Our football team is just figuring out how to beat the next team. I have not sensed any feeling of looking way down the road. Our players are pleased with where they’re at, but they realize when you watch that tape, there’s a lot of work for us to do.” — third-year UW coach Craig Bohl on if he’s concerned UW is overlooking Nevada.
— It didn’t happen in the last game, but it should happen in this one for UW senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry. He needs 36 receiving yards to move into 10th place on UW’s career list, and 52 to be in eighth place. Gentry also needs 11 catches to be in 10th place by himself on UW’s career receptions list. Gentry enters the game with 142 catches for 1,992 yards.
— Did you know UW senior tight end Jacob Hollister started his college career as a walk-on quarterback at Nevada? Hollister then went to junior college, became a tight end and is in his third year at UW. In last season’s game against Nevada, Hollister caught three passes for 36 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown for the Cowboys’ first score of the game. Hollister also caught at touchdown pass in UW’s win over Air Force two weeks ago. He may be someone to watch in Saturday’s game.
— “Our margin of error right know is very thin. I have to do a better job of getting our guys to finish games. Every play matters in tight games. The majority of the Mountain West looks the same, and you have to find a way to win those tight games.” — Nevada coach Brian Polian, whose team is coming off a 14-10 loss at San Jose State last week where the Spartan scored the game-winning touchdown with 50 seconds to play.
— This was one of the coolest stats I saw this week, courtesy of the UW sports information staff. Sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard is the current career leader among active FBS players with 10.33 tackles per game and 6.61 solo stops per contest. Wingard leads UW and the MW with 10.7 tackles per game. That mark is 11th in the country.
— “They’re a team that tries to man up in the secondary. They say their guys outside are better than ours. I don’t think that’s the situation because I have confidence in our guys. Nevada is a good team. They’re 3-0 at home. We have to bring our A-game.” — UW redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen.
— UW junior Brian Hill and senior Shaun Wick are tied for eighth on UW’s career rushing touchdowns list with 21. No. 7 is Wynel Seldon (2005-08) with 22. One of Hill’s 14 100-yard games in his career came against Nevada last season. He had 188 yards. Hill and Butler are both from Illinois, but Butler said he didn’t know Hill until both got to college. As I mentioned earlier, Butler is 12th in the country in rushing. Hill is 11th (120.2 ypg).
— “He’s a high-motor guy, and should be good for our defense. Against Air Force, he chased the running back to sideline for 1 or 2-yard gain. He gives a ot of effort. I expect him to do good things for our defense.” — UW sophomore strong safety Marcus Epps on junior defensive end Nela Lolohea, who replaced sophomore Carl Granderson, who is out with a season-ending knee injury. See Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net for my feature on Lolohea.
— With Saturday’s game starting so late, there won’t be any coverage in the newspapers in Cheyenne and Laramie, but there will be complete coverage at wyosports.net with column/analysis, notebook, report card, what they said and — hopefully — videos and photos. The game is televised on ESPN2, but if you’re interested, join my live chat from the game starting at 8:15 p.m. MT. Links to the chat will be on this blog and at wyosports.net.