Wyoming vs. Boise State football primer

Some pregame reading for Saturday’s Wyoming-Boise State game. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. MT at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

First, my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys. There are more, but this was what I choose as my top one:

Play keep away: Meaning Wyoming needs to win the time of possession game, and obviously, finish drives with points. Boise State has one of the most powerful offenses in the Mountain West, and the best way to slow them down is to keep it on the sideline.

Now for some other notes and quotes:

Jeremy McNichols

Jeremy McNichols

— Junior running back Brian Hill needs one rushing touchdown to tie for sixth place on UW’s career list, and two to tie for fourth. Hill currently has 24 rushing touchdowns. Hill, the reigning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, is second in the nation with 144.3 yards per game. Hill’s count part today, Boise State junior Jeremy McNichols, averages 130.7 yards per game. He has 16 touchdowns this season (12 rushing, four receiving), which is tied for the national lead with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. McNichols has 42 touchdowns since the start of the 2015 season, which is the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

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UW sports live chat replay

Here’s the replay of my weekly live chat on University of Wyoming sports on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Most of the chat was about UW football (5-2 overall, 3-0 Mountain West) as it faces one of its biggest home games in recent memory when it hosts No. 13 Boise State (7-0, 3-0) Saturday. There also was some other MW football chatter, and even some national college football talk.

For more UW and local sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog University of Wyoming sports live chat

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin talks about Wyoming

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin spent about 10 minutes talking with media members that cover Wyoming football Tuesday. Boise State doesn’t allow media that

Bryan Harsin

Bryan Harsin

covers opposing teams to talk to its players, so this was our only access to anything Boise State related this week.

Here are a few things that Harsin said Monday.

On Wyoming: “They’re bigger, strong and running the football, which is what (UW coach Craig Bohl) wants to do. They’re stopping the run by playing aggressive on the defensive side. They’re trying to make you put the ball in the air. I think turnover-wise they’re plus-4, and turnovers win games. I think they’re playing very sound, winning football and they’re doing it consistently.”

On Wyoming’s defense, which is third in the Mountain West in rushing defense (139.4 ypg) but last in passing defense (299.4 ypg): “You have to pick your poison sometimes, and that’s stopping the run game for Wyoming, which puts a challenge on you to throw it good enough. Wyoming’s also pressuring you, too. It’s not like they sitting back and letting you throw the ball. They’re smart with what they do.”

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Battle of two of the MW’s best when Wyoming hosts Boise State Saturday

Mondays are busy days for the media that covers Wyoming football as that is the day players and coaches are available for interviews.

The best news from Monday was third-year coach Craig Bohl said senior nose tackle Chase Appleby should play Saturday when UW (5-2 overall, 3-0 MW) hosts No. 13 Boise State (7-0, 3-0). Appleby left UW’s 42-34 win at Nevada in the first half with a head injury and didn’t return. Appleby’s been going through concussion protocol, but did interviews with the media Monday,  was in good spirits and expects to play Saturday and practice as the week progresses.

Here is UW’s depth chart for this week:

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Final MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here is my final Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings of the regular season.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com from games played through Sunday, Feb. 28. The MW is 12th in conference RPI, but the league now has three teams ranked in the top 100 after having just two for much of the season.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (21-8 overall, 14-2 MW, 58 RPI): An odd and unexpected collapse at home against Boise State that snapped a streak of 164 straight wins for the Aztecs when they led with five minutes left to play. Still the No. 1 team in the league, but perhaps more vulnerable now.

2. Fresno State (20-9 overall, 11-5 MW, 84 RPI): In second place alone in the conference, and has won eight of its last 10 games. Also has the longest winning streak in the league at four. I wouldn’t want to play this team in the MW Tournament, and the Bulldogs also are getting healthier from a physical aspect.

3. Boise State (19-10 overall, 10-6 MW, 82 RPI): An impressive come-from-behind  road win at Boise State without its best player, junior forward James Webb III, due a knee injury. Also made a big jump in the RPI after it was hovering around 100 last week.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com from games played through Sunday, Feb. 21. The MW is 11th in conference RPI. Three MW teams are ranked in top 100 in the RPI, and seven are ranked between 112 and 200 out of 351 Division I teams.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (20-7 overall, 13-1 MW, 50 RPI): Just one game for the Aztecs this past week, which may have been a good thing as it makes a push toward the postseason.  An interesting week ahead with games at Wyoming and at home against Boise State.

2. Fresno State (18-9, 9-5, 94 RPI): In a tie for second place in the MW, and the team that made the biggest jump in this week’s power rankings. A game at New Mexico Saturday will tell a lot about the Bulldogs this week, but they are a team that can win the MW Tournament.

3. New Mexico (16-11, 9-5, 116 RPI): An impressive come-from-behind  home win over Boise State was followed up by a disappointing road loss at Air Force. Fans in Albuquerque are not happy with this team and its coach.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com from games played through Sunday, Feb. 14. The MW fell from 11th to 12th in the RPI. Two MW teams are ranked in top 100 in the RPI, and seven are ranked between 112 and 172.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (19-7 overall, 12-1 MW, 49 RPI): Fresno State ruined the Aztecs’ chance of running the table in the conference, and that loss dropped its RPI from 43 last week to 49. But San Diego State remains atop the rankings for another week.

2. Boise State (17-9, 8-5, 93 RPI): The Broncos move up even though they lost (although statements from the MW two days afterwards confirmed they should have won due a video error) at Colorado State and ran all over Wyoming. The Broncos could be poised to go on a run as the season comes to a close.

3. New Mexico (15-10, 8-4, 118 RPI): A road loss at Utah State dropped the Lobos one spot, but they have a chance to climb back up as they host Boise State Wednesday. There isn’t a better one-two scoring tandem the league as sophomore guard Elijah Brown and junior forward Tim Williams.

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UW at Boise State men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Dave Southorn, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. MT at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Follow on Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

Take us through the shot by James Webb III in the loss at Colorado State Wednesday night in terms of what you saw and the entire decision-making process from the officials. What is your take on the whole situation, and how do you think the team will respond after the loss?

I’ve never seen anything like it…and spending the last three days writing about 0.8

Dave Southorn

Dave Southorn

seconds of one game, I still don’t get it. The Mountain West was in a no-win situation, but offering an explanation Thursday that wound up being wrong (timer was not synced to arena’s clock), it made it worse. Webb clearly got the shot off, and it clearly had an effect with a poor start to the second overtime. I’m not sure if Boise State should have been given the win retroactively, but I think it would’ve probably created a whole lot less negativity for the league. The team was understandably upset, and coach Leon Rice said the continuing drama hasn’t helped, but this team needs wins now, so it can’t let it slow them down.

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UW at Boise State men’s basketball notes

Coming off its first bye of the conference season, the Wyoming men’s basketball team plays at Boise State at 2 p.m. Saturday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

So how did UW use its bye week — or at least its time not having a mid-week game?

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

Coach Larry Shyatt said the team took Sunday and Tuesday off. It practiced “hard” Monday, and “lifted hard and had a long individual skill development” workout Wednesday. The team began preparations for Boise State Thursday. The coaches also spent time on the road recruiting.

Boise State (16-9 overall, 7-5 Mountain West) has lost four of its last five games, including a crazy 97-93 double-overtime loss at Colorado State where a game-winning 3-pointer by junior James Webb III was ruled no good by the officials.

Here is the link from the MW’s statement about how that game ended: http://www.themw.com/news/mw-16-official-stmt-end1OT-bsu-csu-mbk

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. The MW moved up from 12th to 11th in conference RPI. Two MW teams are ranked in top 100 in the RPI, and seven are ranked between 112 and 180.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (18-6 overall, 11-0 MW, 43 RPI): Another nice week for the Aztecs as they extended their winning streak to 11 games. It’s not always pretty offensively, but this group finds a way to get it done — especially defensively.

2. New Mexico (14-9, 7-3, 112 RPI): The Lobos split their two games last week, including an overtime loss at San Diego State which there is no shame in. They are still playing like the second-best team in the MW.

3. Boise State (16-8, 7-4, 86 RPI): The Broncos escaped with a home win over Utah State and lost at Air Force. Boise State is reeling a bit, but it stays near the top of the power rankings for now.

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