Wyoming looks to snap a five-game losing streak at Boise State when it plays the Broncos at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium. Don’t be surprised if the kickoff is closer to 8:30 p.m. The game is televised on ESPN2.
Both teams enter the game 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the Mountain West.
As for my No. 1 key in the game for the Cowboys:
Get defensive: Wyoming must continue to ride its defense, which is third among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in turnover margin at plus-11, and has forced a Mountain West-high 17 turnovers. At very least, the Cowboys must win the turnover battle and keep their offensive turnovers to a minimum. UW also must do a good job of stopping the run. A big reason for Boise State’s improved play is the running game with sophomore running back Alexander Mattison. If he gets going, Boise State’s offense becomes more balanced and a lot harder to stop.
More notes and quotes for this game:
— “You understand that Boise’s going to be a good team every year. They’re always well-coached and have good recruits. Their game against San Diego State (last week) was a testament to how hard they’re going to play. They’re starting to get things rolling. It’s never easy to beat Boise, especially in their stadium. But it has been done before so we’re going to see what we can do to get job done. We understand that we beat them last year and we’re in a good position to do the same thing this year. It helps us that much more and gives us more confidence. But at the same time it gives them more reason to play us for what we did last year.” — UW junior quarterback Josh Allen.
— Allen produced 10 of UW’s 11 explosive plays in last week’s 28-23 win at Utah State. UW defines explosive plays as passes of 15 yards or more, and runs of 10 yards or more. Six of Allen’s explosive plays were via the pass, and four by the run.
— On paper, explosive plays may be hard to come by in this game. UW is third in the MW and 43rd in the nation in scoring defense (21.2 ppg). Boise State is No. 4 in the MW and No. 48 in the country (22.8). In terms of yards per game, Boise State is third in the MW and 27th in the nation (324.7). UW is fourth in the MW and 36th in the nation (348.5).
— “It is a good atmosphere. The fans love their program. It is definitely a big-time school. They’re usually (nationally) ranked a one point or another. We have to be ready to go. Their fans are loud and talk some trash, and that gets you excited. The color of the turf doesn’t matter, although it is not a high-quality field. It is an older field they have tried to maintain.” — UW senior offensive tackle Ryan Cummings
— This is Boise State’s first home game since a Sept. 22 42-23 loss to Virginia, which was its worst home loss since 2001. Since 2000, Boise State has played back-to-back road games 18 times, and in that first home game after that road swing, it has won 18 consecutive games. Three of those instances were against UW — 2003, 2013 and 2015. The Broncos also have the best home winning percentage since 2000 at 93.7 percent (104-7).
— “When people think of safeties, they mostly think about pass stuff. But when you come down hill, tackle people one-on-one where if you miss the tackle it could be a touchdown for the other guy, it is fun. We practice it all the time, but a game is totally different. To make those kind of plays feels so good.” — UW junior strong safety Andrew Wingard, who needs 14 tackles to move into a tie for 10th place on UW’s career list. Wingard enters the Boise State game with 310 tackles.
— Of the 66 players who have seen the field for the Cowboys this season, 38 have been freshmen (redshirt or true) and sophomores. Only nine have been seniors.
— UW’s three defensive touchdowns this season is the fourth-best mark among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country.
— “I would say right now Trey will get the lion’s share of the carries. We always evaluate during practice, but Trey’s getting better. A lot of the runs that may seem simple are really more complex than what you might see. He didn’t have the advantage of going through fall camp (at running back. He was a linebacker). He’s still learning, but he’s doing good things.” — UW coach Craig Bohl on true freshman running back Trey Woods. A sidetone to this: Boise State has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season.
For more coverage about Saturday’s game, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net. Since the late start time, all of the game coverage on Sunday will be at wyosports.net.