Wyoming has faced its share of good running backs this season.
It played against the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher twice in San Diego State senior Donnel Pumphrey. Boise State’s junior Jeremy McNichols, Nevada junior James Butler and a whole host of backs at New Mexico were others, and that’s just in conference play.
The Cowboys will see another one in Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl in Brigham Young senior Jamaal Williams, who is the Cougars’ career rushing leader with 3,691 yards.
I asked a couple of UW defensive players if Williams compares favorably to any of the backs they’ve faced this season.
“He’s kind of like the (junior) Rashaad Penny from San Diego State,” senior middle linebacker Lucas Wacha said. “You don’t see too many backs like him. He’s big, physical and we’re excited to play against him.”
Williams is listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. He missed three games with an ankle injury, but he ran for 1,165 yards, 11 touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. His longest run was 62 yards. He also caught seven passes for 80 yards.
Sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard said Williams reminds him of his teammate — junior running back Brian Hill.
“He’s big and fast,” Wingard said. “Those are the toughest guys to play against.”
Hill is 6-1, 219. He’s played in four more games than Williams this season, thus his rushing numbers are bigger with 323 carries for 1,767 yards and 21 touchdowns. Like Williams, Hill is UW’s career-leader in rushing yards with 4,194. As far as catching the ball, which isn’t a big priority in UW’s offense, Hill has seven catches for 48 yards.
See Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net on my story on Hill and the special relationship he has with his mother.
Obviously, the Williams and Hill won’t be going at each other on the field. Here’s what Williams said about Hill: “I ain’t really worried about nobody else. He’s a great runner. I’ve seen him last year and he’s gpretty good. He works hard. He’s pretty fast and he has good vision and every thing. He’s a great player, and Wyoming’s offense works for him, the same as my offense works for me. It will be a great test for us and hopefully we’ll come out with the ‘W.’ ”
The Cowboys held their final full practice in San Diego Monday morning prior to the Poinsettia Bowl. The team has been practicing at San Diego Mesa Community College. It has been taking care of all of its football stuff on the mornings and then had team activities in the afternoon. Sunday it went to the San Diego Zoo. Monday it went to SeaWorld.