The Wyoming senior defensive end talks about being the Mountain West Co-Defensive Player of the Week, his big game against Bowling Green and Saturday’s home game with No. 9 Nebraska.
Notes and quotes from Wyoming’s Monday interview session with coach Dave Christensen and selected players and assistant coaches:
–“Two years ago we won a number of games that had nothing to do with our offense and defense. We won those games because of turnover margin and our kicking game. That was obviously the case last Saturday,” said Christensen on his team forcing six turnovers and blocking two kicks last Saturday at Bowling Green.
–Christensen said he talks to the players at least twice a week on turnovers and ball security. Will continue to do so, if not talk about it more.”
–Christensen said in the Bowling Green game there some “good, bad, ugly and really good.”
Whew, what a finish that was for the Cowboys!!
A blocked extra point by senior defensive linemen Josh Biezuns and Gabe Knapton preserved a 28-27 win in the final seconds. Was disappointed in the way Bowling Green drove down the field at the end of the game.
“Bowling Green has a great set of receivers,” sophomore cornerback Marqueston Huff said. “They there were in the right place, made the right plays. They executed their offense better than we executed our defense.”
Still, UW forced a season-high six turnovers (nine in the last two games), blocked two kicks and scored a defensive TD on Huff’s 8-yard fumble return.
But more than the “prevent” defense at the end, I would have liked to have seen UW’s offense get more first downs late to prevent BG a chance to win it late. Easy to say that now that the Cowboys won, but hey, a win is a win. See my column in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for more on that.
And how about true freshman cornerback Blair Burns with two interceptions and a fumble recovery? Good job by that young kid, who if he’s really 170 pounds as listed on the roster then I’m 6-foot-5 (I’m pushing 5-10, LOL).
A play late in the game that was big but got overshadowed some from UW’s standpoint was the offsides call on the Cowboys’ last possession on BG defensive lineman Kevin Moore on a fourth-and-1 play that gave UW its final first down. If that doesn’t happen and UW doesn’t convert on fourth down the game could have been different.
“To jump on a fourth-and-1, when the whole stadium knows they are going to hard-count us … we just did some really poor things out there today,” BG coach Dave Clawson said.
Some other notes and quotes:
–Sophomore middle linebacker Devyn Harris had a career-high 11 tackles.
–“I just saw the ball so I picked it up and ran.” — Huff on the fumble return for a touchdown
–Junior defensive tackle Ben Durbin had a big game with a blocked field goal and a forced fumble on Huff’s TD. Durbin said he didn’t know he caused the fumble.
–All six of senor receiver Mazi Ogbonna’s six catches came in the second half, including five on the Cowboys’ first two possessions.
–“I don’t know if they’ve played a team that went after the ball like we have.” — UW coach Dave Christensen.
–On odd days of the month (Sept. 3 and 17), senior punter Austin McCoy has averaged between 41 ad 45 yards per punt. On even days (Sept. 10) he averaged 21.3 yards.
–BG sophomore rover (defensive back) Booboo Gates was one of three players issued with misdemeanor citations for criminal trespassing in a dorm Thursday night. One player was suspended, but Gates wasn’t and finished second on the team with 11 tackles.
–“Any way you slice it we’re 3-0 and we’ve won as many games as we did a year ago. I know one thing, we’re going to be as good as we were last year.” — Christensen
–“I knew I was down, but I have to hold on to the ball also. Don’t even make it close.” — junior running back Ghaali Muhammad on a fumble in the second half, but was ruled down after the play was reviewed.
–“We were at home, and I thought we were the better football team. The way our defense was playing, and the way we were moving the football, it was a pretty quick decision. I thought that, if we got to overtime, we were going to win the game.” — Clawson on the thought of going for two on BG’s final touchdown.
Now it’s time for No. 10 Nebraska, which beat Washington at home 51-38 and gave up 420 yards of total offense. See Monday’s WTE and Boomerang for what Christensen and other players think of this game. And, see Sunday’s papers for more coverage of this game.
There won’t be any video interviews posted from this game. There wasn’t a place for me to get video during postgame interviews. Sorry. Will post more from Monday’s weekly interview session with players and coaches.
Pass defense: Bowling Green averages 297.5 passing yards per game. A consistent pass rush will go a long way in helping Wyoming slow down the pass, but so will solid and consistent coverage in the secondary.
For more more coverage of Saturday’s game, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.
Wyoming’s first-year offensive coordinator talks about going back to Bowling Green, where he spent eight years of his coaching career (including six as head coach from 2003-08). Brandon also talks about UW’s big-play offense (see my column in Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang).
For more UW-Bowling Green coverage, see Friday’s WTE and Boomerang.
A blogger for Bowling Green named B.J. Fischer approached me this week about exchanging some questions and answers about Saturday’s Wyoming-Bowling Green game. Here is the link to his blog: http://orangeandbrown.blogspot.com/
Below are the questions I asked Fischer and his responses, followed by the questions he asked me and my responses.
Feel free to offer your thoughts and opinions.
What makes Wyoming junior offensive guard Zach Rushing so unique? Find out in Wedensday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle or Laramie Boomerang, or also check out this video interview. A neat kid to talk to, can’t help but dig his southern accent.
Here are some highlights from Monday’s news conference and interview sessions with Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen and selected players:
–Christensen said the Cowboys must play “great team defense” against a Bowling Green team Saturday that’s averaged 45 points over its first two games. To do that, UW must pressure the quarterback, not leave receivers open and stop the run.
–In his first two years as the offensive coordinator at Missouri in 2001-02, Christensen lost to Bowling Green twice. That’s when current UW offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon was the offensive coordinator at BG for former coach Urban Meyer. Brandon also was Bowling Green’s head coach from 2003-08. More on Brandon going back to Bowling Green later this week.
Here what Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson had to say Monday morning about Saturday’s game with Wyoming. Clawson spoke on the Mid-American Conference coaches’ teleconference.
–On Wyoming’s offense: “They’re very explosive. To have over 600 yards of offense (against Texas State) is almost unheard of. They’re very, very difficult to defend.”
–On UW senior cornerback Tashaun Gipson: “He might be as good as any corner we see this year.”
This is all rolled into one, but here’s what RB Alvester Alexander, WR Chris McNeill and LB Brian Hendricks had to say after Wyoming’s 45-10 win over Texas State last Saturday.
See Monday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle for more from that game, and a look ahead to Saturday’s road-opener at Bowling Green.