Border War football 2015: Notes, quotes and video

As usual, I start with my top key for Wyoming in Saturday’s Border War football game with Colorado State:

Keep emotions in check: The Border War is an important game for both squads, and more often than not emotions are amped up for the players. That’s fine, but you still have to execute the game plan. The team that does that the best has the upper hand. Emotion is a good thing, but not when it leads to mistakes. How both teams manage their emotions will be key, especially early in the game.

Here is my preview of the game:

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MW Football Media Day – Mountain Division notes

Mountain West football media day activities ended Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas as players and coaches from the six Mountain Division team — including Wyoming — spoke to numerous members of the media.

UW coach Craig Bohl was in good spirits, and like most coaches this time of year, is excited and enthusiastic about the upcoming season. But there are concerns — big-time concerns — with the Cowboys entering fall came on Aug. 10.

Here is a video interview with Bohl as he addresses some of those concerns and talks about some other things.


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Early predictions for UW and Mountain West football

Wyoming is less than 100 days from kickoff to the 2015 season when it opens the season at home against North Dakota on Sept. 5.

We are about two months before the start of fall camp. Yet, several college football preview magazines recently hit the newsstands predicting what will happen this season.

Here are a few notes regarding UW and the Mountain West.

–The Cowboys were picked to finish fifth in the Mountain Division by Lindy’s and Athlon, while The Sporting News picked them fourth.

Eddie Yarbrough

Eddie Yarbrough

–The only First Team All-MW player for UW by all three publications was senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough. Lindy’s ranked Yarbrough as the third-best NFL prospect in the MW behind Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins and San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey — both juniors.

–Junior offensive lineman Chase Roullier was a first team pick by The Sporting News, and was a second team choice by the other two. Senior running back Shaun Wick was a second team pick by Athlon.

–Lindy’s chose UW senior quarterback Cameron Coffman as the MW’s Newcomer of the Year.

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Bowl season starts Saturday with four MW teams in action

A record seven Mountain West football teams made it to bowl games. The old record was six in 2013.

Four of those teams will play their bowl games Saturday, the first day of the bowl season. Here’s who I think will win and why. As the other bowl games with MW teams approach, I will pick those as well. As always, your feedback is encouraged.

New Orleans Bowl — Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana (8-4), 9 a.m. MT (ESPN)

This is basically a road game for Nevada as it plays the in-state school that is playing in this game for the fourth consecutive year. The Ragin’ Cajuns won the previous three.

The two teams are evenly matched. Nevada averages 31.3 points per game; Louisiana (8-4) averages 30.6. Nevada allows 28.2 points per game; Louisiana 27.9. Both teams also have dual-threat quarterbacks: Nevada’s Cody Fajardo and Louisiana’s Terrance Broadway.

Nevada is good enough to win this game, but I am sticking with Ragin’ Cajuns as it will have the definite home-field advantage. Plus, Nevada will kickoff this game at 8 a.m. PT on their own time clocks. It may take the Wold Pack a while to wake up.. Louisiana 34, Nevada 28.

New Mexico Bowl — Utah State (9-4) vs. UTEP (7-5), 12:20 p.m. MT (ESPN)

UTEP averages 212.7 rushing yards per game, and Utah State allows only 129.3 rushing yards per contest. Utah State also is a more well-rounded team offensively and defensively.

UTEP has allowed 46 touchdowns this season, compared to 33 for Utah State. The Aggies may take a little time to get going on offense, but their defense will carry them to an easy victory. Utah State 38, UTEP 20.

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Nzeocha latest to go down with season-ending injury

The news was expected, but still bad nonetheless.

Mark Nzeocha

Mark Nzeocha

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said prior to Tuesday’s practice that senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha is “extremely doubtful” to be back this season because of a knee injury suffered in the first half in last Saturday’s 27-20 overtime loss to San Jose State.

Nzeocha leads UW with 59 tackles, and also was one of the team’s better players on special teams.

“Mark played critical roles on the punt team and the kickoff coverage team, and we view all those things as critical as well,” Bohl said. “When all those defensive starters get hurt, typically there’s a residual effect that comes on special teams. We are preparing for that right now.”

Nzeocha joins senior free safety and co-captain Darrenn White as defensive starters lost due to knee injuries. And, you can make a strong point that both guys are the two most important players on UW’s defense this season.

Nzeocha is a four-down linebacker who is good against the run and the pass. He played middle linebacker in nickel situations this season. White was the quarterback of the defense making calls and also making sure guys were lined up right.

The two combined for 101 tackles, six pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

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