UW at New Mexico – pregame reading

Happy post-Thanksgiving all. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday weekend.

Here is some pregame reading prior to Wyoming’s regular-season finale at New Mexico Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet.

First, my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:

Good start: Wyoming needs to play well from start to finish, but a good start for the team, and in particular redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal, is important. Especially for Vander Waal to get his confidence going and into the flow of the game. We’ve seen this season (last week against Air Force and in the opener at New Mexico State) that when Vander Waal starts well, he plays well through the course of games.

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UW vs. Air Force – pregame reading

A few notes and quotes to get you ready for Wyoming’s home finale against Air Force Saturday. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. MT from Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNEWS.

First, my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:

Assignment sound: Meaning every player on Wyoming’s defense must do their jobs each and every play against Air Force’s option-oriented offense. This is an important aspect in any game, but it gets magnified going against option football. One missed assignment could result in a big play or touchdown.

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MW football power rankings

Here are my weekly Mountain West football power rankings entering this week’s games.

1. No. 16 Fresno State (8-1, 5-0): Winners of eight straight and most of the Bulldogs’ games in conference play have been like scrimmages. But a test awaits this week at Boise State Friday. 

2. No. 14 Utah State (8-1, 5-0): The Aggies are ranked higher than the Bulldogs and are closing the gap with Fresno State in these rankings. A Fresno State-Utah State MW championship game could be a lot of fun.

3. Boise State (7-2 overall, 4-1 MW): A close home win over BYU last week. The Broncos are good, but there haven’t been enough times where they’ve shown to be elite like the two teams above them.

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UW vs. San Jose St. pregame reading

A few notes and quotes leading up to Saturday’s football game between Wyoming and San Jose State. Kickoff is at noon MT from Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet.

First, my No. 1 key for the Cowboys in order to win the game:

Fast start: Wyoming needs to play well from start to finish, but getting out to a substantial lead at home against a San Jose State squad that hasn’t won a road game since 2016 would go a long way toward a victory. That hasn’t happened much for the Cowboys this season as they’ve been outscored 88-53 in the first half. The Spartans are coming off a win and are playing good football despite their 1-7 record. The closer this game is, and longer San Jose State believes it can win, the more dangerous it becomes for UW. For an example, look back at last season’s game in San Jose.

Agree or disagree? For more keys to the game and players to watch, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

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MW football power rankings

Here are my Mountain West football power rankings heading into this week’s games.

Rocky Long

1. San Diego State (4-1, 1-0): The Aztecs go to Boise State with backups at quarterback, running back and fullback and win. San Diego State may not be the most dynamic offensive team, but coach Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 defense once again proved it is legit.

2. Fresno State (4-1, 1-0): This may be the most complete team in the MW right now. A lot of numbers back that up, but here are two that standout — 15.6 points allowed and 40.2 points scored per game.  

3. Utah State (4-1, 1-0): I wanted to see the Aggies win on the road, and they delivered with a 45-20 win at BYU where the score wasn’t indicative of the beat down they handed the Cougars.

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Wyoming at Hawaii – pregame reading

Some notes and quotes for Wyoming’s football game tonight at Hawaii. Kick off is at 10 p.m. MT (6 p.m. in Honolulu. There is no regular TV coverage for us not in Hawaii. You can watch the game on a phone or tablet using the Stadium app, which is a free download. Here is a link in how to do that — if you haven’t already.

http://themw.com/sports/2018/9/5/where-to-watch-hawaii-football-on-spectrum.aspx

Craig Bohl

— “Your time table gets changed. Young people probably adapt better than coaches. You’re dealing with a four-hour time change. Getting players acclimated to a big time change is a challenge.” — fifth-year UW coach Craig Bohl

See Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for my story on not just the time change, but other challenges UW and other teams face when having to travel to Hawaii to play football.

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Wyoming at Missouri – pregame reading

Some notes and quotes leading up to Wyoming’s football game at Missouri Saturday. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. MT from Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri.

— “We had too many mental mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot. Too many penalties and too many third downs we didn’t covernt. We know we can do better and hold ourselves to ta higher standard. We didn’t play up tot hat standard.” — UW redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal on last week’s 41-19 loss to Washington State. Many UW fans are frustrated with the offensive play-calling and not seeing much from Vander Waal throwing the ball over the first two games. I wrote a column on that earlier this week. Here’s the link:

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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 29, New Mexico State 7 – postgame thoughts

It was an impressive first game for the Wyoming Cowboys with a 29-7 victory at New Mexico State Saturday night.

The defense held New Mexico State to 135 yards and minus-9 yards rushing. It was the fewest yards since allowing 100 against Virginia in the 2007 season opener. UW’s school record for fewest rushing yards allowed is -104 yards vs. Utah State on Sept. 21, 1968, in a 48-3 win in Laramie. Virginia had -7 yards rushing in the 2007 game.

The Cowboys scored a safety against New Mexico State after senior defensive end Carl Granderson tackled New Mexico State junior running back Jason Huntley in the end zone in the first quarter. UW didn’t force a turnover, but perhaps that is being a bit knit-picky.

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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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