Other than the second quarter there was a lot to be impressed about in Wyoming’s 41-14 win over UNLV.
The run game generated 231 yards, the second-most this season. It was the best I’ve seen true freshman quarterback Brett Smith run all season. He said most of his 10 runs were based on plays breaking down or reads from the defense. Not that he needed to pass a lot, but I thought Smith seemed out of sync today, other than early in the game. Part of the growing pains for a true freshman quarterback.
Smith also said he has “no hands” when asked about the touchdown pass he caught from junior receiver Chris McNeill on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Said coach Dave Christensen after Smith said that: “Now you tell me.”
Smith said he had never caught at TD in his football career.
Great to see McNeill have a good game after his muffed punt in the second quarter. His 76-yard punt return for a TD in the third quarter was UW’s first since Josh Barge returned one 87 yards and a score against Ole Miss in 2004.
All five of UW’s touchdowns were scored by five different players.
The 104 yards of passing UNLV had was a season-low allowed by UW’s defense. UNLV wasn’t much of a threat to throw. Sean Reilly, who made his first start, wasn’t very good, and Taylor Barnhill came in during the first half and didn’t attempt a pass. Sophomore Caleb Herrng, who started in the Rebels’ first five games, came in late and didn’t look bad. UNLV may want to go back to Herring.
Junior defensive tackle Ben Durbin recorded the first two sacks of his career, and I thought the interior guys of Durbin, Kurt Taufa’asau and B.J. Sumter held their own. Christensen said he’s hopeful juniors Mike Purcell and Miraldo Michel will be back for UW’s next game with San Diego State on Oct. 29. Both were out with injuries. Michel’s has been lingering and it was determined late in the week he couldn’t play against UNLV.
Christensen will be on the road recruiting early next week. The team won’t practice again until Thursday, but must be back for meetings and conditioning by Tuesday.
See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle for more game coverage, including my column on McNeill and a story by Scott Nulph on how UW’s defense responded after last week’s 63-19 loss at Utah State.