Poinsettia Bowl pregame primer

I’ve done this all season, so why stop now. Here’s my No. 1 key for Wyoming in tonight’s Poinsettia Bowl vs. BYU. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. MT at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The game is televised on ESPN.

Players making plays: Meaning Wyoming’s best players must make plays. Whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams, the guys the Cowboys have leaned on throughout the season must be good from start to finish. If some unsung players do so, even better. But in big games like this, big-time players make big-time plays.

Lucas Wacha

Lucas Wacha

Nineteen seniors will play their last game for UW. Some will have bigger roles than others, but one who will have the biggest role is middle linebacker Lucas Wacha, who also is a team captain. This is what third-year-coach Craig Bohl said of Wacha earlier this week in San Diego.

“The biggest transition he made was taking ownership in the defense. I saw a transition last year when we were struggling, he always had a positive attitude and at times challenged some of the guys that weren’t performing or preparing to perform the way they needed to.

“They say nice guys are a dime a dozen, but a leader is priceless. Lucas is a nice guy, but he’s a great leader.”

Wacha is third on the team with 104 tackles and 8.0 tackles for loss, and is tied for third with three quarterback sacks. He needs three tackles to move into seventh place and 12 to be sixth in career tackles in school history. Wacha enters the game with 340 tackles.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Wyoming at New Mexico football – pregame primer

Been doing this all season, so why stop now.

First, my No. 1 key for Wyoming to win Saturday night’s game at New Mexico:

Play keep away: Meaning it’s in UW’s  best interest to possess the ball, and obviously score points, to keep New Mexico’s high-powered yet time-consuming triple-option offense off the field. The Cowboys did a good job of this last week against San Diego State. Not saying UW’s defense isn’t capable of stopping or slowing down New Mexico, but it is dangerously thin depth-wise up front and the fewer plays it can be on the field, the more fresh it can stay.

Yes, no? For more keys, along with a cool story on some players on the Cowboys’ last divisional title team from 1996 and their take on this year’s squad, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

With Boise State’s 27-20 loss at Air Force Friday, UW clinched the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. A win Saturday at New Mexico should ensure the Cowboys host the MW Championship Game Saturday, Dec. 3 against San Diego State. A loss could mean UW plays the championship game in San Diego. It would help UW a lot — win or lose — if San Diego State loses at home Saturday against Colorado State.

Continue reading

Wyoming vs. No. 24 San Diego State – Pregame primer

Some pregame reading for Wyoming’s home-finale Saturday vs. No. 24-ranked San Diego State. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m., and the game is televised on CBS Sports Network.

Here is my No. 1 key to the game for UW in the game:

Offense is the best defense: Wyoming faces one of the nation’s best defenses today, and over the last 17 Mountain West games San Diego State has allowed an average of about 10 points per game. Still, the Cowboys must find a way to win the time of possession battle, finish drives with points and most importantly, keep its defense fresh so it’s not on the field for 97 plays like it was last week at UNLV.

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

Continue reading

UNLV 69, Wyoming 66 3OT – postgame thoughts

No, this isn’t a post about UW basketball losing — this was a football score — and one of the oddest games I’ve seen in 20 years of covering college football.

On paper, the Cowboys should have won this game. But games aren’t played on paper, and the areas of the game they did well that enabled them to go 7-2 and 5-0 in the Mountain West failed them — stopping or slowing down the run, winning the turnover battle and possessing the football on offense.

UNLV ran for 401 yards. UW committed four turnovers and forced only one, and its defense was on the field for for just over 38 minutes (not including the overtimes).

Here is coach Craig Bohl after the game:

Continue reading

A couple of statistics to mull over for Wyoming football

In doing some research for Saturday’s Wyoming football game with UNLV, I came across two statistics I want to share with you, and get your opinion/feedback on.

Josh Allen

Josh Allen

In the Cowboys’ first six games they were 28 of 81 on third down, or 34.6 percent. In their last three games they were 28 of 45, 62.2 percent.

“Some of it is we’ve not been in as many un-makeable situations, and (redshirt sophomore quarterback) Josh Allen has made some plays,” third-year UW coach Craig Bohl said. We’ve protected him, and our receivers have made a ton of plays.”

Makes sense. Half of UW’s third downs in last week’s win over Utah State were six yards or less. However, the 46-yard touchdown pass from Allen to senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry right before halftime was on a third-and-12 play.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Wyoming vs. Boise State football primer

Some pregame reading for Saturday’s Wyoming-Boise State game. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. MT at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

First, my No. 1 key to the game for the Cowboys. There are more, but this was what I choose as my top one:

Play keep away: Meaning Wyoming needs to win the time of possession game, and obviously, finish drives with points. Boise State has one of the most powerful offenses in the Mountain West, and the best way to slow them down is to keep it on the sideline.

Now for some other notes and quotes:

Jeremy McNichols

Jeremy McNichols

— Junior running back Brian Hill needs one rushing touchdown to tie for sixth place on UW’s career list, and two to tie for fourth. Hill currently has 24 rushing touchdowns. Hill, the reigning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, is second in the nation with 144.3 yards per game. Hill’s count part today, Boise State junior Jeremy McNichols, averages 130.7 yards per game. He has 16 touchdowns this season (12 rushing, four receiving), which is tied for the national lead with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. McNichols has 42 touchdowns since the start of the 2015 season, which is the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Continue reading

Battle of two of the MW’s best when Wyoming hosts Boise State Saturday

Mondays are busy days for the media that covers Wyoming football as that is the day players and coaches are available for interviews.

The best news from Monday was third-year coach Craig Bohl said senior nose tackle Chase Appleby should play Saturday when UW (5-2 overall, 3-0 MW) hosts No. 13 Boise State (7-0, 3-0). Appleby left UW’s 42-34 win at Nevada in the first half with a head injury and didn’t return. Appleby’s been going through concussion protocol, but did interviews with the media Monday,  was in good spirits and expects to play Saturday and practice as the week progresses.

Here is UW’s depth chart for this week:

img_3230

Continue reading