UW vs. San Jose St. pregame reading

A few notes and quotes leading up to Saturday’s football game between Wyoming and San Jose State. Kickoff is at noon MT from Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet.

First, my No. 1 key for the Cowboys in order to win the game:

Fast start: Wyoming needs to play well from start to finish, but getting out to a substantial lead at home against a San Jose State squad that hasn’t won a road game since 2016 would go a long way toward a victory. That hasn’t happened much for the Cowboys this season as they’ve been outscored 88-53 in the first half. The Spartans are coming off a win and are playing good football despite their 1-7 record. The closer this game is, and longer San Jose State believes it can win, the more dangerous it becomes for UW. For an example, look back at last season’s game in San Jose.

Agree or disagree? For more keys to the game and players to watch, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

— “We’ve got to win. If we lose a game, we won’t be able to go to a bowl game. That will drive us and motivate us, and it starts in practice. One rep can be the difference in a win or loss.” — UW true freshman quarterback Sean Chambers, who will make his second consecutive start Saturday.

— Senior running back Nico Evans needs 21 yards to reach 1,000 on the season. Only nine UW players have ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, and three of those guys did it twice (Brian Hill, Ryan Christopherson and Dabby Dawson). Evans leads the MW in rushing this season, and has five 100-yard games in the seven games he’s played.

— “We felt like we began to see some progress in the Utah State game. Before that game I don’t know if we were on the right trajectory. We made some changes in the dynamics within our football team. I left the field that day knowing we were making some good moves and thought if we could continue that path, we could be a better football team. We are a better football team. We’re a long way from a good football, but we’re a better football team.” — fifth-year UW coach Craig Bohl

— UW has forced 12 turnovers in nine games this season, far off the pace of the 38 turnovers it forced in 13 games last season. However, one thing, and I hope I am not jinxing the Cowboys here, is the haven’t turned the ball over a lot of offense. UW has just seven, and that mark ranks 10th in the Football Bowl Subdivsion. UW’s three fumbles lost is 12th in the FBS.

— “Beyond the (fumble he recovered), he’s an athletic guy and (Colorado State) had hardly any rushing yardage. Several time Ravontae took his guy and shoved him two-and-a-half yards into the backfield and had one way and threw him the other way. He’s got really good strength and played that well.” — Bohl on sophomore defensive tackle Ravontae Holt, who will see a lot more playing time the rest of the season after the indefinite suspension of junior Youhanna Ghaifan.

— UW has defeated every current Mountain West member expect one — San Jose State. The Cowboy beat the Spartans as members of the Western Athletic Conference and as nonconference foes, but as MW members UW is 0-3. And, San Jose State is the only team Bohl has yet to beat as UW’s coach (0-2). The line for Saturday’s game has UW favored by 13.5 points, but the last three games — all San Jose State wins — have been decided by a total of 17 points.

— “The biggest pep talk I know is when you start making changes. You can say all you want to as a coach, but when you start making some changes, that changes some the dynamics. Also within the leadership of the football team, we’ve got some people who were fed up. And we did challenge them as a coaching staff and we’ll need to make sure we do that again this week.” — Bohl

— “We’ve got to win the turnover battle. Their quarterback can run and is a big strong kid. We have to be ready for a physical run attack, along with a really good tailback. We also need to be able to handle their defensive front. They have a really good edge presence. This will be one of the best defenses we’ve played all year.” — second-year San Jose State coach Brent Brennan on UW.

See Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for our gameday wrap, which has a feature on UW junior wide receiver C.J. Johnson and his long return from a knee injury in last year’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. And, UW will have its hands full with one of the nation’s best tight ends in San Jose State senior Josh Oliver.