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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MW Championship Football Game – pregame primer

Are you ready for some championship football — in Laramie?

For the first time in school history, Wyoming hosts a conference championship game as it takes on San Diego State at 5:45 p.m. Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. The winner will be crowned 2016 Mountain West champs.

This is UW’s first home football game in the month of December since 1902.

First, here is my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:

Adjusting on the fly: Both teams played each other two weeks ago so they have a good idea of what each other is about. However, both squads will tweak or change a few things, and the team that adjusts the best and fastest will have a significant edge.

For more keys, and more coverage leading up to today’s game, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

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Allen has a new favorite throw; other UW football notes

Last week, Wyoming redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen’s 27-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry in the fourth quarter against then No. 13 Boise

Josh Allen

Josh Allen

State was his most memorable throw. In fact, Allen told me Monday that at the time, that throw was “the best I’ve made in my life.”

Fast-forward to a week later and Allen has new one.

Allen said the 46-yard touchdown pass he threw to Gentry late in the first half of the Cowboys’ 52-28 win over Utah State moved to the top of his list. Allen scrambled to his left, and the right-hander threw a dart to Gentry who was able to drag his feet in bounds.

“That was a tough throw to make. Maybe nine times out of 10 I don’t make it, but it only needed to be made once,” Allen said.

Allen threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth against Utah State. He was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Redshirt freshman outside linebacker Logan Wilson was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week. It is the second straight week UW has had the MW Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week. Last week it was senior tight end Jacob Hollister and senior nose tackle Chase Appleby.

It also is the third consecutive week UW has had the MW Offensive Player of the Week. On Oct. 24 junior running back Brian Hill got it.

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Wyoming at Nevada football primer

Some news and notes prior to Wyoming’s game at Nevada, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday at Mackay Stadium in Reno.

Per normal, here is my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys:

James Butler

James Butler

The Butler didn’t do it: Wyoming’s defense must slow down Nevada junior running back James Butler, who is fourth in the Mountain West in rushing (117.4 yards per game) and third in all-purpose yards (149.3 ypg). UW did a good job against Butler last season as he had 10 carries for 51 yards, but that was due in large part to it leading 28-7 late in the third quarter. If Butler gets going, that opens other things up for Nevada’s offense.

Do you agree or disagree? For more keys to the game, and also a story on Butler, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

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Cowboys back to game-week mode

The bye week is over, and it’s back to game preparations for Wyoming as it plays at Nevada Saturday night.

UW got some extra work in last week against Nevada during its bye week. Third-year coach Craig Bohl said last Thursday’s practice wasn’t good, but liked how his team came back on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen said that practice was one of the best the team’s had all season.

Here is UW’s depth chart heading into the Nevada game:

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Cowboys eager to move on following loss at Nebraska

Monday marked the start of a new week, and a time for Wyoming to learn, but put behind last Saturday’s 52-17 loss at Nebraska — a game where the Cornhuskers scored 28 fourth-quarter points thanks to four turnovers.

Third-year coach Craig Bohl said the team came out of Nebraska healthy, aside from a few bumps and bruises. No one is expected to miss Saturday’s home game with UC Davis as of now. There also were not changes to UW’s depth chart this week. Check it out for yourself.

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Wyoming vs. Northern Illinois State football primer

Some news, notes and quotes for Wyoming’s season-opening game Saturday night at home against Northern Illinois. Kick off is at 8:30 p.m. at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.

First, my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

A good start: Third-year UW coach Craig Bohl said earlier this week he wants his team to start strong and finish stronger throughout the season. The Cowboys must get off to a good start, which was a problem last season as they were outscored 125-28 in the first quarter. Finishing stronger won’t make a difference if UW finds itself in an early hole like it did most of the 2015.

Agree or disagree? For more keys and coverage of the game, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

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Cowboys release depth chart for opener vs. Northern Illinois

We’re finally in game-week mode for Wyoming football, and that means the first depth chart of the regular season.

Instead of just listing names, here is a photo of the first depth chart.

Wyoming football depth chart vs. Northern Illinois

Wyoming football depth chart vs. Northern Illinois

Not a lot of big surprises here. Perhaps the biggest is redshirt freshman walk-on Josiah Hall starting at one defensive end spot over sophomore Kevin Prosser. Both will play, but Hall gives UW a little more size at 237 pounds. Prosser is 215. Third-year UW coach Craig Bohl said: “It’s not a knock on Prosser, but more of a compliment to Hall.”

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Cowboys conclude fall camp with scrimmage

Third-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl had a lot of good things to say about Saturday’s final scrimmage of fall camp. However, no statistics or score were kept as there was not much full contact and UW’s top offensive and defensive units went up against the scout team.

But a few highlights included:

Josh Allen

Josh Allen

–Redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen threw touchdown passes of 42 and 16 yards to senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry.

–Junior cornerback Rico Gafford returned two interceptions for a touchdown.

–Senior middle linebacker Lucas Wacha returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.

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Media Monday: Cowboys get ready to face red-hot Aztecs

Craig Bohl called it a “daunting task.”

He was talking about his 1-9 Cowboys going to play at San Diego State (6-3, 5-0 MW) Saturday night. The Aztecs have won a league-best five straight games, and are coming off a bye week.

“San Diego State arguably is playing the best of any team we’ve played this year, and probably the best of anybody in the Mountain West right now,” Bohl said Monday during his weekly news conference.

Here is everything Bohl had to say Monday:

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