Poinsettia Bowl postgame thoughts

It wasn’t the ending players, coaches and fans wanted, but if anything, UW’s 24-21 loss to Brigham Young in Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl was entertaining and exciting — at least in the second half.

The Cowboys (8-6) followed a familiar pattern as the season concluded. Slow or sluggish starts to games — even extending to the first half and third quarter — and then a furious rally late.

But just like in the 27-24 loss to San Diego State in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 3, that rally fell short.

Some initial thoughts/observations:

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

— Disappointing to see junior running back Brian Hill benched for the first quarter by third-year coach Craig Bohl, who said after the game it was a “coach’s decision.” Obviously, Hill didn’t do anything earth-shattering wrong, but disappointing to see. Would things have changed if he played? Maybe, maybe not. Hill played well when he returned (93 yards, 1 TD, and one catch for 19 yards). I thought senior Shaun Wick played really well — even when Hill returned. Wick had 13 carries for 55 yards and caught one pass for six yards.

— Sunny San Diego didn’t live up to its hype. Yeah, the game was at night but it rained like crazy in the first half. Both teams had to play in it, but it definitely affected UW the worst. A bobbled snap on a punt (the snap was good) and a botched hold on a field goal (the snap was good) cost UW dearly. Other shortcomings cost UW, but those special teams gaffs hurt a lot.

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Williams poses potential problems for Wyoming defense

Wyoming has faced its share of good running backs this season.

It played against the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher twice in San Diego State senior Donnel Pumphrey. Boise State’s junior Jeremy McNichols, Nevada junior James Butler and a whole host of backs at New Mexico were others, and that’s just in conference play.

Jamaal Williams

Jamaal Williams

The Cowboys will see another one in Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl in Brigham Young senior Jamaal Williams, who is the Cougars’ career rushing leader with 3,691 yards.

I asked a couple of UW defensive players if Williams compares favorably to any of the backs they’ve faced this season.

“He’s kind of like the (junior) Rashaad Penny from San Diego State,” senior middle linebacker Lucas Wacha said. “You don’t see too many backs like him. He’s big, physical and we’re excited to play against him.”

Williams is listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. He missed three games with an ankle injury, but he ran for 1,165 yards, 11 touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. His longest run was 62 yards. He also caught seven passes for 80 yards.

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