Fresno State 13, Wyoming 7 – postgame thoughts

A disappointing loss, and to me, kind of an odd and stale atmosphere in Wyoming’s home finale — a 13-7 setback to Fresno State.

First, the crowd of 15,440 did what it could, but with poor weather Friday and into Saturday morning that kept many fans away because of road closures.Creating any sort of atmosphere was tough. But I will credit the fans who made it.

Second, as UW introduced its seniors prior to the game, junior quarterback Josh Allen was among them. That said to me that Allen won’t come back next season and will give pro football a try. Don’t think this was surprising news to most, but it put some finality to that decision, don’t you think? Allen didn’t play due to his injured right shoulder and didn’t do any postgame interviews.

Here’s coach Craig Bohl on Allen and the game:

As for the game itself, it was pretty typical of what most UW games have been like this season — inconsistent and at times stagnant offense and good defense. The Cowboys lost the turnover battle 2-1 to Fresno State, and a muffed punt by sophomore wide receiver Austin Conway enabled Fresno State to score the only touchdown of the game.

The plays UW made in winning six of its previous seven games it didn’t make enough of in this one. Still, it had a chance to win the game late. Junior back up quarterback Nick Smith led the team on a late touchdown drive, and that the Cowboys at the Fresno State 27 yard-line in the final seconds, but could’t get a potential game-winning throw off. Instead, he was tackled at the line of scrimmage on fourth down under a three-man rush.

Here are some late-game highlights and Smith after the game:

Like most games this season, UW’s run game was poor — or inconsistent at best. It was 2 of 14 on third down, and 1 of 3 on fourth down. First-down production seemed to be a bigger issue for the Cowboys to me. Still, there were several third and fourth-and-short situations UW couldn’t capitalize on.

Many fans weren’t happy with UW offensive coordinator Brent Vigen after the game, and were critical of his play-calling. Fans are entitled to their opinions, and I am not going to use up this space to tell people what they should think. I will say, however, that coaches don’t draw up or call plays they think will fail. It is easy after the fact to go back and say a certain play or plays were horrible. The game is a lot different for coaches and players than those sitting in the stands, in my case the press box, or those sitting on their couch watching TV who claim to be expert play-callers when things aren’t going well.

Would things have been different if Smith had thrown the ball more like he did over UW’s last two possessions? Maybe. Would Fresno State’s defense be different earlier in the game than late when it was protecting the lead? Probably.

You can analyze this game however you want, but the bottom line UW lost a close game to a good team.

So what does UW (7-4 overall, 5-2 MW) have to play for in its final regular-season game at San Jose State this coming Saturday?

First and foremost, play in a game. Two, a chance to clinch second place in the Mountain Division by itself. Even if it ties with Colorado State and/or Utah State, UW owns the tie-breaker with both since it beat both squads. It is a chance to get to eight wins for the second straight regular season. Perhaps most importantly, it is a chance to get rid of the bad taste left from the Fresno State loss.

To wrap this up, below is a graphic from the MW website that gives some good information on the bowl possibilities for the league. As of Sunday, most national websites have UW going to Boise, Idaho for a bowl game. Some have UW in Tucson and one has it in Hawaii.

Anyway, this should  help you understand how the bowl scenarios will work. UW will know its bowl destination on Dec. 3 or Dec. 4.

9 thoughts on “Fresno State 13, Wyoming 7 – postgame thoughts

  1. I don’t think most fans think that they can call better plays than the coaches. But this team is near dead last on offense production in the country. Coaches have to take responsibility for that. Last year fans got after Stanard because our defense was so bad… the fans turned out to right on that one.

  2. Do you think it’s a possibility that Vigen could stay on staff in a capacity other than offensive coordinator? He seems like a good guy and good evaluator of QB talent, but holy cow are his offenses bad. Three out if four years (since he’s been here) we’ve been the worst or darn near the worst offense in the conference.

    I equate this to S. Stannard and the defense last year. I can’t imagine Bohl thinks this is acceptable?

    • Vigen was promoted to associate head coach after last season, so he is staying on the staff.
      I don’t see him being removed as offensive coordinator, but I suppose anything is possible.

      RG

  3. First of all I would like to say I am proud of the Cowboys and how hard they have played. Nick Smith did a good job considering that he has not really played
    . The fans are so frustrated with Vigen because he calls the same plays. He is so predictable. The defense did well. If Josh Allen is healthy do you think he will play in the last game and the bowl game? I think next year’s team will be very good and I am looking forward to watching them. The future is bright for Wyoming Cowboy Football.

    • I get the sense that if Allen is healthy he will play in both? Whether or not he will be remains to be seen.

      RG

  4. Robert,

    I agree with most who have expressed displeasure with Vigen and his offensive play-calling. Most UW fans realize that our offense’s identity is supposed to be ground-and-pound and that our D’s identity is supposed to be hard-nosed, blue-collar, bring the pain….whatever you may call it. Our D has made leaps and bounds since Bohl and his staff came to UW. Save for the Oregon game, our D has kept us in every game this season and we can all acknowledge that they are the reason we’ve won quite a few of our games. After last year’s offensive output, and the subsequent deluge of talent leaving for the NFL or graduating, most Pokes fans had some idea that this year’s O wouldn’t be as productive but few of us had any idea that it would be this atrocious. I just feel that, while most of us who are Saturday Arm-chair QBs or Press Box QBs, we see that something isn’t working so something should change. I know Vigen sees exactly what we see on the TV and probably more (middle was wide open all game – even the announcers made comment of that several times). Yet we run the ball, run the ball, run the ball. Oh crap, we’re losing and there’s only 4 minutes left in the game. Better start throwing it. Bohl always preaches time of possession and turnovers as huge factors for winning games yet he doesn’t make adjustments to our game plan when that T.O.P. battle is being lost because you go 3 and out nearly every series. One final thought…we play at 7,220′ – highest elevation stadium in the land. Why not try and use that to our advantage more than we do? Depth at certain positions, TV timeouts, it offsets the T.O.P. argument – maybe those are all good reasons to not run a no-huddle but we plaster our stadium and surrounding facade with ‘Welcome to 7,220’ and then follow that up with ‘Have an Enjoyable Stay’ when instead it should be ‘Get ready to suck air ’cause we’re gonna run you into the dirt.’ Bring a gun to knife fight but don’t use the gun.

    Aside from that, I’m extremely proud of our Pokes and the toughness they’ve shown all year. They represent our state extremely well and I’m proud to be a Pokes fan for life. Here’s to beating SJSU and hopefully securing that Potato Bowl or Arizona Bowl bid because a trip to Hawai’i isn’t in the cards for this fan!

    Kind Regards,

    Ryan

  5. Early in the season we were dropping passes that should have been caught. We were not able to replace Hill in kind. We gave Nick Smith no opportunities to be truly ready if Allen went down. The coaching staff is committed to establish a running game which also didn’t happen. We needed to improve on defense and that did happen! Our division is the tougher of the two.. So if we beat San Jose we will be once again 8 & 4 and on the top side of the division. Not bad for a coaching staff brought in to rebuild and build a winning attitude. The coach needs to stay the course and do what he does best ignoring us fans.

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