Wyoming begins Mountain West play Saturday night versus Hawaii. The game kicks off at 8:15 p.m. MT (could be closer to 8:30 p.m.) at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. The game is televised nationally on ESPN2.
Television dictated the game time, not UW. And, the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 40s at kickoff with a good chance of rain. And, don’t be surprised if there’s a little snow mixed in with that. If you go, be sure to dress warm.
Here’s my No. 1 key for UW in the game:
Get the running game going: Pretty self-explanatory. Wyoming has to do a better job running the football than a Mountain West-worst 80.3 yards per game. The Cowboys also must run the ball better early in the game and not make its offense so one-dimensional. The weather is expected to be cold and wet, which puts an even bigger emphasis on ball security. But whether it is early or late in the game, running the ball is a must.
Some notes and quotes about the game:
— “The errors that aren’t characteristic of our football team are the unsportsmanlike penalty, a couple personal fouls that were late (in the plays). That’s the tip of the iceberg. There were other undisciplined plays in that game. We’re going to root that out and make sure we’re more disciplined, more focused football team. Those occurrences are typically signs of a losing culture and we’re not going that way.” — UW coach Craig Bohl about last week’s game with Oregon.
— UW is 9-9 in MW openers since the league started in 1999, and 6-5 when it plays it first MW game at home. This will be the first time in the MW era UW has opened conference play vs. Hawaii.
— Junior quarterback Josh Allen needs 161 yards of total offense to move into a tie for 10th place on UW’s career total yards list. Allen enters the game with 4,398 yards. He also needs 303 passing yards to tie for 10th place on UW’s career passing yards list. Allen has 3,820 yards.
— “Last year we were 2-2 and that’s when we all put our minds together for one goal of winning a conference championship. Being in a similar situation this year will help us.” — Allen.
— Hawaii won at Air Force last season, which was its only win in the Mountain Time Zone since joining the MW in 2012. Hawaii enters the game at 2-1, and seeks its first 3-1 start to a season since 2007.
— “We had a bad outing didn’t do a good job of executing (against Oregon), but that doesn’t mean we won’t do good in the future. We need to learn from our mistakes form last Saturday, and I think we will have a great game this Saturday.” — UW sophomore wide receiver Austin Conway.
— Hawaii arrived on the mainland Wednesday evening. Thursday morning the team went to the Craig Hospital in Colorado to visit teammate Kalepo Naotula, 19, who suffered a spinal cord injury in July from a diving accident. It was a nice gesture by the team to do this. Below is a picture from the visit.
— UW fans could see more of sophomore linebacker Ben Wisdorf, a Cheyenne East graduate Saturday night. Wisdorf has been rotating back and forth this week as a backup at middle linebacker and weak-side outside linebacker. UW junior backup middle linebacker Adam Pilapil is out for three to four weeks with a groin injury. Also on the injury front, junior cornerback Antonio Hull likely won’t play Saturday with a leg bruise. He hasn’t played in UW’s last two games.
— “Real chaotic and sometimes it’s tough to understand what they’re doing and that’s kind of what they want. They want to cause confusion and bring linebackers and corners from different directions.” — Bohl on Hawaii’s defense, which despite that philosophy has allowed 36.3 points and 466.7 yards per game.
— Also expect to see more of true freshman running back Trey Woods Saturday. Woods moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart this week behind sophomore Milo Hall. UW associate head coach/offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said by moving up to second string, he and UW’s offensive coaches feel confident in putting Woods in just about every situation imaginable.
Got some good stuff coming in Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net about this game. I have a story on UW’s lone player from Hawaii, senior safety Tim Kamana. I also list the top players in UW history who were from Hawaii. The list wasn’t long, but can any of you guess who any of these guys were? Also, I have a feature on Hawaii junior quarterback Dru Brown, who I think is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the MW. Brown’s path to Hawaii and Allen’s to UW are pretty similar.