Wyoming at New Mexico football – pregame primer

Been doing this all season, so why stop now.

First, my No. 1 key for Wyoming to win Saturday night’s game at New Mexico:

Play keep away: Meaning it’s in UW’s  best interest to possess the ball, and obviously score points, to keep New Mexico’s high-powered yet time-consuming triple-option offense off the field. The Cowboys did a good job of this last week against San Diego State. Not saying UW’s defense isn’t capable of stopping or slowing down New Mexico, but it is dangerously thin depth-wise up front and the fewer plays it can be on the field, the more fresh it can stay.

Yes, no? For more keys, along with a cool story on some players on the Cowboys’ last divisional title team from 1996 and their take on this year’s squad, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

With Boise State’s 27-20 loss at Air Force Friday, UW clinched the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. A win Saturday at New Mexico should ensure the Cowboys host the MW Championship Game Saturday, Dec. 3 against San Diego State. A loss could mean UW plays the championship game in San Diego. It would help UW a lot — win or lose — if San Diego State loses at home Saturday against Colorado State.

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2015 All-MW Football team: UW’s Hill left off first team, how I voted

There was an uproar among Wyoming fans this afternoon when the All-Mountain West football team was released by the league.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

Sophomore running back Brian Hill was left off the first team.

Despite leading the MW with 1,631 yards — a single-season UW record — and four 200-yard games, Hill garnered enough support by the 12 head coaches and selected media members to earn second team honors.

Here is the link from the MW for the first and second team members, along with honorable mentions and other individual awards.

http://www.themwc.com/news/mwfb-15-allmw

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UW-New Mexico football notes, quotes and video

My No. 1 key for Wyoming Saturday if it hopes to win its first game of the season, and its Mountain West opener against New Mexico:

Complete offensive game: Wyoming averages 400 yards of total offense per game, has the Mountain West leader in rushing in sophomore running back Brian Hill (411 yards) and a quarterback in redshirt senior Cameron Coffman who has thrown for 578 yards and four touchdowns in two games. Yet, the Cowboys are 10th out of 12 teams in the MW in scoring (18.7 points per game). It’s great UW has shown it can move the ball, but it has to finish drives with points.

Agree, disagree? There are many more things the Cowboys must do well if they hope to win. See Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net for more on that.

You also can see how I break down this game from my preview video:


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Final Mountain West football power rankings/picks

My final installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks.

1. No. 22 Boise State (10-2 overall, 7-1 MW): Could have easily been at the top the last few weeks as it finished the regular season with seven straight wins. The best offense in the conference and arguably the most physical defense. Should win its first MW championship after Saturday’s title game at home versus Fresno State. This week: vs. Fresno State (MW Championship Game), 8 p.m. MT Saturday (CBS). At home on the blue turf on prime time TV with a New Year’s bowl game on the line. Enough said. Boise State 45, Fresno State 20.

2. Colorado State (10-2, 6-2): A loss at Air Force last week bumped the Rams down, and now must find a new coach as Jim McElwain took the Florida job. Still a great season for CSU, but how will it respond moving forward?

3. Air Force (9-3, 5-3): The only team in the conference to beat both Boise State and Colorado State this season. The transformation from 2-10 last year has been amazing, and most of the talent returns next season.

4. Utah State (9-4, 6-2): Even though the Aggies beat Air Force this season, they drop a spot based on the 50-19 pounding they took at Boise State last week. Still, a great season and one of the most solid programs in the MW. Now, will Utah State keep its coach?

5. San Diego State (7-5, 5-3): I know Fresno State won the West Division and beat San Diego State in the regular season, but the Aztecs were the better overall team and the most consistent (if there was such a thing in that division).

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GAMEDAY: UW-New Mexico football notes, quotes and video

Wyoming plays its season-finale today at New Mexico with a 1 p.m. kickoff at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Cowboys are 4-7 overall and 2-5 in the Mountain West. The Lobos are 3-8, 1-6 and will be looking for their first home win of the season.

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi and editor Scott Nulph previewing the game:


UW and New Mexico will play for the 67th time. That is the fourth-longest series for the Cowboys, and second-longest active series — second only to the Border War with Colorado State (106 games).

Dominic Rufran

Dominic Rufran

Senior receiver Dominic Rufran needs two catches to become only the fifth player in school history to record 200 career catches. He also needs seven receiving yards to pass Malcom Floyd (2000-03) for sixth in career receiving yards. If Rufran catches one pass, he will end his career with a catch in 49 straight games, which is a school record and the longest active streak in the nation.

The two teams have five common opponents — Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State an Utah State. UW is 2-3 in those games with wins over Air Force and Fresno State. New Mexico is 0-5, but four of the five losses were by 11 points or less.

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UW-New Mexico football Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Rick Wright, who covers New Mexico football for the Albuquerque Journal, about Saturday’s season-finale with the University of Wyoming. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Follow on Twitter: @Burquerick

Now in his third season, coach Bob Davie is 10-26. In your opinion, is the building and development of the program going in the right direction? Is Davie the right guy for the job, and what are the major issues that still must be dealt with?

Rick Wright

Rick Wright

Progress is being made, but slowly — too slow to suit a disgruntled and shrinking fan base. Davie knew coming in that roster attrition was going to be a big problem in 2013 and 2014, but obviously was hoping to win more games regardless. I thought Davie had a solid plan coming in, and still think so. The triple option out of the pistol formation has been successful, though the passing game has lagged badly. But there’s no equivalent of the triple option on defense, and that remains the burning question. The defense must improve, vastly, if Davie’s vision for the program is to succeed.

How would you explain the Lobos’ run game, which is among the top four in the nation? How have teams stopped it or slowed it down this season?

Only San Diego State has basically shut it down for four quarters. Rocky Long crossed the Lobos up; UNM prepared for Long’s 3-3-5 blitzing defense and instead got a conservative four-down look. New Mexico generally has not run the ball as well in the second half as in the first as opponents adjusted to the speed with which it runs the triple option. I know that when (Wyoming coach) Craig Bohl was at North Dakota State, his defense stuffed the Sam Houston State offense — which is what New Mexico runs under offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse, who came to New Mexico from Sam Houston State.

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Mountain West football power rankings and picks – Week 1

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his first weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for the Week 1 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Utah State: The defending Mountain Division champs get senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton back from a knee injury, and it may be a stretch to put the Aggies this high not knowing how good Keeton will be. But there is a proven backup behind him and a lot of good players on defense. This week: at Tennessee, 5 p.m. MT, Sunday (SEC Network). Of all the MW teams playing big-time programs this week, Utah State may have the best chance to win. But I am still going with the Vols in a close one. Tennessee 27, Utah State 24.

2. Fresno State: Not only do the Bulldogs have to replace quarterback Derek Carr, but they also lost some really good receivers. Still, there are players in the pipeline that can fill the void. This team will still be good. This week: at USC 5:30 p.m. MT, Saturday (FOX). Even with Carr and Co., Fresno State was blown out by USC in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl. USC has a new coach and has a mess on its hands with the Josh Shaw saga, but it still has enough to win. USC 31, Fresno State 20.

3. Boise State: The Bryan Harsin era begins, and one has to wonder if the Broncos will remain among the MW’s powers. They will, thanks to Harsin’s new wrinkles and what was built by former coach Chris Petersen. There are too many good players on that roster not to. This week: vs. Ole Miss, 6 p.m. MT Thursday (ESPN). The Broncos will go to Atlanta and pick up the league’s best win over a nonconference foe. Boise State 30, Ole Miss 23.

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UW-New Mexico quotes

Here are some quotes that didn’t make it to the print or online platforms this week for Saturday’s Wyoming-New Mexico football game in Laramie:

— “We’ve faced other bigger backs, but he brings it. He might be undersized, but he cuts hard, falls forward, is physical and can juke you. You have to strap it on when you play against him.” — UW sophomore defensive end Eddie Yarbrough on New Mexico senior running back Kasey Carrier, who is ninth in the nation with an average of 137 yards per game.

— “We are tired of hearing it, but numbers don’t lie. We want to improve the numbers on our side of the ball so we can prove to other people (we are better) and stop hearing it. This is a good opportunity for all of us. We’ve got to go out and execute the best we can no matter what everyone says.” — UW junior safety Darrenn White on the Cowboys’ rushing defense that allows 236.2 yards per game.

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UW-New Mexico Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Rick Wright, who covers New Mexico football for the Albuquerque Journal about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Follow Wright on Twitter: @Burquerick.

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

New Mexico has the best rushing offense in the nation right now. What makes it click and what in particular has made it work so well?

I’d say it’s a blend of scheme, skill and experience. Bob Davie wanted an offensive scheme that would to some extent compensate for lack of talent and/or depth, and he has that in offensive coordinator Bob

DeBesse’s triple option-based attack out of pistol formation. In Kasey Carrier, Davie and DeBesse inherited a running back who’s well suited for the scheme. And they lured Cole Gautsche, a terrific option quarterback, away from his original commitment to New Mexico State. Gautsche and Carrier function behind an experienced, battle-tested offensive line. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that New Mexico as faced three of the weakest run defenses in the nation (UTEP, UNLV, New Mexico State).

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MW football power rankings

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s first Mountain West football power rankings of the season.

Look for these each week through the rest of the football season.

1. No. 23 Fresno State (4-0 overall, 2-0 MW): The Bulldogs are first because they are the only undefeated and ranked team in the league. Their offense and special teams are great, but for them to stay there the defense has to improve as they allow 38.2 points per game.

2. Utah State (3-2, 2-0): The most complete team in the league so far, and its two losses at Utah and USC were by a combined four points. The Aggies are for real, and right on the heels of Fresno State.

3. Boise State (3-2, 1-1): Don’t sleep on the Broncos just yet. They haven’t had two losses this early in the season since the mid 2000s, but they are still good. A game at Utah State next week is huge.

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