Washington State 41, Wyoming 19 – postgame thoughts

For a while it looked like Wyoming might end a long drought in terms of wins over schools from Power 5 conferences. It led 16-13 at halftime — after getting down 10-0. It took the second-half kickoff and made a field goal to extend the lead to 19-13.

But the wheels feel off after that as Washington State scored touchdowns on four of its five second-half offensive possession for a 41-19 victory in front of a nice crowd of 24,131 at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Here is fifth-year UW coach Craig Bohl after the game.

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Wyoming vs. Washington State – pregame reading

A few notes and quotes leading up to Saturday’s home-opener for the Wyoming football team against Washington State. Kick off is at 1:30 p.m. MT.

Craig Bohl

— “I’ve always believed a football team improves most between its first and second game.” — Fifth-year UW coach Craig Bohl.

— If that’s the case for the Cowboys, things could be fun to watch for the home fans. UW opened the season with a 29-7 win at New Mexico State last Saturday. The offense ran for 312 yards, had more than 400 yards of total offense and the defense held the Aggies to 135 yards of total offense. What could be better for UW? Sustaining drives. The Cowboys failed to convert a good number of third-and-short situations. More balance on offense. The run game was great, but not sure if it will be as effective against Washington State. More plays in the pass game should open up things in the run game. Create turnovers. UW didn’t force a turnover against New Mexico State. Winning the turnover battle — as it is in every game — will be key.

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UW at New Mexico State – pregame reading

Football is back!!

Wyoming opens the 2018 season tonight at 8 p.m. MT at New Mexico State in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.

Here are some notes, quotes and links to some of the coverage during the week on wyosports.net leading up to the game.

— This is the earliest UW has ever started a season. It also is the last of four games to be played in college football’s “zero week.” The Cowboys’ earliest season-opener prior to this year was on Aug. 28, 1997 when it lost 24-10 at Ohio State in the inaugural Eddie Robinson Classic. That also was the last time I missed a UW season-opening game — home or away. I won’t get into the reasons why I am not at New Mexico State, but needless to say, I’m not happy about it.

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FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Wyoming 37, Central Michigan 14 – postgame thoughts

Josh Allen returned — and later said goodbye — and the defense did what it has done best all season, and then some.

The end result was a convincing 37-14 Wyoming victory over Central Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Friday in front of an announced crowd of 16,512 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Not sure if there were that many there, but the majority of the fans there were cheering for the Cowboys — and they had a lot to cheer about.

Here is part of the team celebration after the game — in the snow.

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Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Pregame Primer

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:

Josh Allen

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.

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Thanksgiving meal favorites from Wyoming football

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, although we are not quite to Thursday just yet.

Wanted to have a little fun with this post, so I asked players and coaches from the Wyoming football team what their favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is. There’s so much to choose from!

Junior tight end Austin Fort: “Green beans with bacon my mom makes.”

Junior safety Andrew Wingard: “Stuffing, but also mixing the stuffing with the turkey and gravy.”

Senior cornerback Robert Priester: “Stuffing and the bread rolls.”

Junior quarterback Nick Smith: “My mom’s sweet potato casserole with marshmallows   on top.”

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Fresno State 13, Wyoming 7 – postgame thoughts

A disappointing loss, and to me, kind of an odd and stale atmosphere in Wyoming’s home finale — a 13-7 setback to Fresno State.

First, the crowd of 15,440 did what it could, but with poor weather Friday and into Saturday morning that kept many fans away because of road closures.Creating any sort of atmosphere was tough. But I will credit the fans who made it.

Second, as UW introduced its seniors prior to the game, junior quarterback Josh Allen was among them. That said to me that Allen won’t come back next season and will give pro football a try. Don’t think this was surprising news to most, but it put some finality to that decision, don’t you think? Allen didn’t play due to his injured right shoulder and didn’t do any postgame interviews.

Here’s coach Craig Bohl on Allen and the game:

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Wyoming vs. Fresno State football – pregame primer

The final home game for Wyoming is at noon Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium against Fresno State. The game will be televised by AT&T SportsNet (used to be ROOT Sports).

Here is my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:

Josh Allen

Be diverse offensively: On paper, Wyoming is going up against one of the best defenses in the country in Fresno State. The Cowboys need to be creative in what they do offensively. That doesn’t mean come out with a lot of trick plays, or get away from its identity offensively. But depending on the health status of junior quarterback Josh Allen, offensive coordinator Brent Vigen needs to come up with a plan that keeps Fresno State’s defense on its heels. Establishing the run would be a good start, which is key for any game UW plays. Even if Allen plays, limiting the hits he takes is crucial. If junior backup Nick Smith starts or plays, he must be put in situations where he can be successful. Ultimately, UW’s other play-makers, whether that be receivers, running backs or tight ends, must make more plays. Would a trick play or two, or even some different looks or formations work? Perhaps, but the Cowboys also can’t completely reinvent the wheel. There needs to be a balance between the two.

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Wyoming at Air Force – pregame primer

Wyoming plays its fifth consecutive and final Mountain Division game of the season at Air Force Saturday night. Kick off is at 8:15 p.m. MT at Falcon Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Here is my top key for the Cowboys in the game:

Play keep away: An oldie but a goodie this season for Wyoming, but one that best fits this game. The Cowboys stand a lot better chance of winning if their offense can go on sustained drives, finish with points and keep the Falcons’ triple-option offense off the field. This is what Air Force wants to do, and has done most of the season as it leads the Mountain West in scoring at 34 points per game, and is 10th nationally in time of possession at 33 minutes, 29 seconds per contest. The longer Air Force has the ball, the more UW’s defense can wear down and be susceptible to giving up big plays.

Yes, no or am I completely off my rocker?

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Wyoming 16, Colorado State 13 – postgame thoughts

It may not have been a work of art or win any style points, but Wyoming’s 16-13 victory over Border War rival Colorado State be talked about for a long time as one of the classic games in this 109-game rivalry.

It will be remembered as the “Snow Game,” and that’s what I wrote about in my Sunday column in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang. Here is the link on wyosports.net. It is free to those who don’t have an online subscription (but I highly recommend you get one).

http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/gagliardi-column-wyoming-tops-csu-in-memorable-border-war/article_f42b7e3c-c1ed-11e7-a778-f34187ddf460.html

Here is footage of the Cowboys coming to grab the Bronze Boot traveling trophy after the game, in which I nearly got trampled.

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