Are you ready for some football, as in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl football as Wyoming (7-5) takes on Central Michigan (8-4) at 2 p.m. Friday at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. The game will be televised on ESPN.
As I’ve done all season with every UW game, here is my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:
Be offensive: Meaning that the Cowboys must show some consistency in moving the ball and scoring points. For the most part that has lacked against quality opponents this season. This doesn’t mean perfection, but Wyoming must limit the three-and-out possessions, try to be as balanced offensively as possible and finish drives with points. Yeah, a lot depends on who plays quarterback, but whether it is Josh Allen (who will start the game) or Nick Smith, UW must have plans in place for either one — or perhaps both — to succeed. Establishing a run game would be a big-time help. The Cowboys likely will lean on their defense like they have all season, but they need to lean more on the offense in this game.
Here are some notes and quotes about the game:
— “We’re a very focused team. We want to go to Boise and win. We don’t want to go there for the amenities or the ambiance. We’re fouced on the task at hand of wining a football game.” — Allen
— UW is the eighth current member of the Mountain West to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The four MW teams who have not played in the game are New Mexico, Hawaii, San Jose State and UNLV. The bowl game has been around since 1997.
— “They’re an excellent defense that don’t give up a lot of big plays or points. “They’re well coached and play with high level of effort. They’re just solid all the way around. They have some really good players, but they don’t rely on one or two superstars.” — Central Michigan coach John Bonamego on Wyoming’s defense.
— Central Michigan led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 31 turnovers forced this season. UW tied for second with 30. Stating the obvious here, but the team that wins the turnover battle probably wins the game. UW has scored 99 points off its 30 turnovers.
— Something to watch for UW is its second quarter scoring. The Cowboys have scored 119 points in that quarter this season, which is 44 percent of its total points this season.
— “We’ve stressed all the time not ending seaosn like that again. Everybody is flying around and giving everything they have. We really want a bowl win and send our seniors out on the right note.” — UW senior fullback/long snapper Drew Van Maanen. UW ended last season with a three-game losing streak. It lost its last two regular-season games this season. On a side note, Van Maanen has been writing daily “postcards” for us of his and the team’s experiences getting ready for this game. Check out wyosports.net for all of Drew’s takes on this. They’ve been outstanding.
— UW junior strong safety Andrew Wingard needs 10 tackles to move into fourth place by himself on the school’s career tackles list. He would pass safety Chris Prosinski, who has 373. Wingard, junior free safety Marcus Epps and sophomore middle linebacker Logan Wilson have four of then top 30 single-game tackles seasons in school history.
— “You don’t see any weaknesses, whether it is on offense, defense or kicking the game. You have two defenses that are the best two def in takeaways n the country that play an aggressive style and that’s well coached. This team finds a way to win. That doesn’t happen. Players make a difference, but their culture is similar to ours. That’s what makes this game exciting.” — UW coach Craig Bohl on Central Michigan
For all of the previous bowl coverage leading up to the game, log on to wyosports.net. There will be plenty more on Friday, and complete game coverage on Saturday. Also, if you want to chat during the game, log on to my live chat starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Links are on this blog and at wyosports.net.