Wyoming at Utah State football – pregame primer

It is back to football for Wyoming as it plays at Utah State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. Here is my top key to the game for the Cowboys:

Follow your rival: Wyoming’s biggest rival, Colorado State, provided the perfect plan on how to defeat Utah State in its 27-14 victory in Logan last Saturday. The Rams jumped out to a 24-0 first-half lead, and didn’t allow the Aggies to get anything going offensively until it was too late. If UW can get off to a similar start, and ride that momentum throughout the game, there’s a good chance it comes away with the victory.

Agree or disagree?

Saturday’s game will be carried online on Facebook Live — like the Sept. 30 home game against Texas State. Here is the direct link to watch it:

https://www.facebook.com/StadiumCollegeFootball/videos/1935926140063335/

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Wyoming vs. Utah State football primer

Some pregame reading prior to tonight’s Wyoming football game with Utah State. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. MT and televised on ESPN2.

First, my No. 1 key of the game for the Cowboys:

Focused and sharp: Wyoming’s win last week over Boise State was one of the program’s biggest in the last 20 years, but this is a  new week and an opponent that is more than capable of winning — especially if UW isn’t sharp in all three aspects of the game. The Cowboys need to play well from start to finish, and make sure their focus is on Utah State, not last week’s victory.

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Media Monday: Wyoming prepares for Utah State on short week

Coming off a 34-14 loss at Boise State last Saturday, Wyoming got back to work Sunday and Monday for its next game at Utah State at 8:15 p.m. Friday.

The news wasn’t good regarding redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman as coach Craig Bohl listed him as doutbful for the Utah State game. Coffman left the Boise State game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. There are not broken bones, but UW is moving forward with redshirt freshman Nick Smith as its starter this week.

Here are Bohl and Smith from Monday’s interview sessions:

 

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 14

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his final regular-season installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks.

1. Colorado State (10-1 overall, 6-1 MW): Tough to move the Rams (ranked No. 21 in both the AP and Coaches polls) down after winning nine straight games, including by 38 last week against New Mexico. Still, Colorado State needs to win this week and hope Boise State loses if it wants to play in the MW Championship Game. This week: at Air Force, 1:30 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). A tough game against a good team on the road. Rams have a lot on the line, and will play like it. Colorado State 27, Air Force 23.

2. Boise State (9-2, 6-1): The Broncos are the highest-ranked team among the non-power five conferences at No. 23. If they win their season-finale they will play in the MW Championship Game and has a good chance at New Year’s bowl game. Boise State has scored more points (440) than any MW team. This week: vs. Utah State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). The Broncos have lost only four games at home in … well, forever. Too much on the line for that fifth loss to occur. Boise State 28, Utah State 20.

3. Utah State (9-3, 6-1): Winners of five straight and with the best scoring defenses in the conference (18.3 ppg). Matt Wells should get strong consideration for Coach of the Year in the MW having to use four different quarterbacks this season. This week: at Boise State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). In a battle of the league’s best offense and best defense, the offense will have the edge at night on the blue turf. Boise State 28, Utah State 20.

4. Air Force (8-3, 4-3): Despite a 30-14 loss at San Diego State last week, the Falcons stay at No. 4. They remain one of the best stories in the league having gone 2-10 last season. This week: vs. Colorado State, 1:30 p.m. MT Friday (CBSNN). Air Force is 5-0 at home, but will drop a close game in its finale. Colorado State 27, Air Force 23.

5. San Diego State (6-5, 4-3): One of two teams in the West Division with a winning overall and conference record. The home win over Air Force moved the Aztecs up. San Diego State needs to win this week and have Fresno State lose to win the division. This week: vs. San Jose State, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The Aztecs will cruise in this one. San Diego State 33, San Jose State 10.

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UW-Utah State key to the game; other notes and quotes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s key to the game for Wyoming for its home game today against Utah State. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. MT at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Match the Aggies: Wyoming coach Craig Bohl and offensive coordinator Brent Vigen both said Utah State plays the hardest of any team the Cowboys have faced in the Mountain West to this point. Whether it is on offense or defense UW has to match that — or surpass that — to have a chance to win.

Yes, no, Gagliardi has no idea what he’s talking about? What do you think, folks?

Here is Gagliardi and WyoSports editor Scott Nulph’s video preview of today’s game:


A few notes on today’s game:

Bridger's Battle

Bridger’s Battle

–The two teams meet for the 65th time and the series dates back to 1903, and is the fifth-longest series in UW history. Last year, a new twist was added to the series with it being called “Bridger’s Battle.” Last year, the two teams played for a “Bridger Rifle,” a .50-caliber Rocky Mountain Hawken rifle that was popular among the mountain men of the 1800s, and was the rifle carried by legendary mountain Man Jim Bridger.

Here is the rifle the Wyoming and Utah State teams will be playing for each year.

Here is the rifle the Wyoming and Utah State teams will be playing for each year.

–With one catch, UW senior receiver Dominic Rufran will tie Jovon Bouknight’s (2002-05) school record with a catch in 47 consecutive games. Bouknight is the pass game coordinator and receivers coach at Utah State. Rufran also needs 50 receiving yards to move past  Malcom Floyd (2000-03) into sixth place in career receiving yards. Rufran has 2,362.

–This is Utah State’s first game at UW as a member of the Mountain West, and first game in Laramie since 2007.

–Utah State has won 12 straight games in November, ad 16 of the last 18 dating back to 2010. The Aggies also have won 12 of their last 13 conference road games, including a 5-1 mark in MW road games.

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UW-Utah State football Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Wade Denniston, who covers Utah State football for the Logan Herald-Journal, about Friday’s

Wade Denniston

Wade Denniston

game with the University of Wyoming. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @wdhiker

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

How does a team that loses its top three quarterbacks to injuries and be 6-3 overall, 3-1 in the Mountain West and in the hunt for a conference title? Who will play quarterback this week, and what does that say about the program in place there?

Kent Myers, a true freshman, will start at quarterback. He made his first career start last Saturday night against Hawaii and completed 14 of 15 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Utah State took some major blows with injuries last season, and it suffered even more season-ending injuries to starters this year. The Aggies learned to handle adversity a year ago and it’s carried over into this season, as well, which says a lot about the program and how coach Matt Wells and his staff work through those type of things. Utah State has a saying, “next man up,” which has especially been the case at quarterback.

Nick Vigil has turned into a great two-way player as a linebacker and a running back. What was the decision to play him at running back earlier this season, and will we continue to see that — even though he’s been injured lately?

The Aggies weren’t getting any production out of the running back spot earlier this season, so Wells had to do something. This was in the works with Vigil during fall camp, but he was a little dinged up there, as well, so they shelved it until the bye week and broke it out for the Brigham Young game. During his high school career Vigil amassed 3,653 rushing yards, so him running the ball — and running it effectively — is nothing new. I’m sure if Wells thinks Vigil can continue to produce both ways, he will continue to use him that way.

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