Cowboys move on from UNLV loss as No. 24 San Diego State awaits

Based on the reaction from many fans the last two days, you would have thought Wyoming was 1-9 instead of 7-3.

Wyoming was 1-9 after 10 games last season, and despite the 69-66 triple-overtime loss at UNLV last Saturday, the Cowboys are 7-3 and still control their own destiny in terms of winning the Mountain West’s Mountain Division and overall conference title.

The road to do that is going to be more difficult, which starts with a win Saturday at home over No. 24 San Diego State.

First, here is the depth chart for the San Diego State game, which doesn’t any changes from last week:
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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:

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Wyoming at UNLV football pregame primer

A little pregame reading for you for Saturday’s Wyoming at UNLV football game. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m., and the game is televised on ROOT Sports.

As I normally do, here is my No. 1 key for the Cowboys to get the win:

Complete game: Wyoming’s done a lot right during its five-game winning streak, but despite the wins there have been lulls in its play at times. The Cowboys need to start strong, but also play well for four quarters. That may mean a close game, but it’s time for UW to play well from start to finish.

There are more, but do you agree or disagree? What are your biggest keys. For more of mine, and an update on former UW player Xavier Lewis, who is now helping coach the Cowboys, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net.

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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.

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Wyoming 52, Utah State 28 – postgame thoughts

The first half and fourth quarter were impressive. The third quarter: not so much.

But in the end, Wyoming’s 52-28 home win over Utah State in front of a solid crowd of 17,837 for the late-night kickoff was a good win. The Cowboys won their fifth straight game, improve to 7-2 overall and remain in first place in the Mountain Division of the MW at 5-0.

Here is third-year coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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UW vs. UNLV football live chat replay

Here’s the replay of WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s live game chat from the University of Wyoming’s 35-28 win over UNLV in the season-finale for both teams Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and check back to wyosports.net.

 

Live Blog Wyoming vs. UNLV football live game chat

UW vs. UNLV football preview: Notes, quotes and video

My top key for Wyoming Saturday in its season-finale football game against UNLV:

Balanced offense: Wyoming needs to run the ball, but it also needs to get the pass game going. A big reason why the Cowboys have scored 10 points over their last two games is that the production through the air hasn’t been there. The weather will be cold and more geared toward running the ball, but UW can’t be one dimensional and must make some plays throwing the ball.

Here are more keys in my preview video:

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Media Monday: UW looks to send seniors out on winning note

The final news conference and interview session with players and assistant coaches had a definite theme at Wyoming Monday — beating UNLV and sending the eight seniors out on a winning note.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

“They’ve just been great friends and great leaders on this team,” said redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman about the other seven seniors. Coffman is in his second year at UW after transferring from Indiana in 2014. “I’m really proud of those guys. It’s easy to quit, easy to give in when you have a season like we are (1-10 overall, 1-6 Mountain West). But they continue to lead, work had and continue to be great role models for the young guys. That’s what I’m most proud of with those guys.”

UW defensive ends coach AJ Cooper has two of the Cowboys’ most well-known seniors in Eddie Yarbrough and Siaosi Hala’api’api. Both have played in more than 40 games in their careers, and both also are team captains.

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Mountain West football media day – West Division notes

Here are some news and notes from Tuesday’s first day of Mountain West football media day activities here in Las Vegas. Tuesday featured teams from the West Division. Players and coaches from the Mountain Division get their turn Wednesday.

–Nevada coach Brian Polian isn’t one to hold back his opinions, and he wasn’t happy that this season’s rivalry game with UNLV is not at the end of the season,

Brian Polian

Brian Polian

like many rivalry games are around the nation, or during the weekend of Nevada Day, which celebrates when Nevada became a state back in 1864. Nevada Day is Friday, Oct. 30 this year.

This year’s game is Oct. 3 at UNLV.

This reminds me of the Border War with Wyoming and Colorado State. There was a decent stretch when that game was played at the end of the season with other rivalry games. However, that usually came during the weekend of Thanksgiving, and attendance in Laramie or Fort Collins were poor with students not around, and usually one of the two teams not being very good.

I’ve written in the past that the Border War should be played more toward the middle of the season. The weather is better and there is more fan interest. Attendance figures at both schools back that up. Not sure what to say about the Nevada-UNLV game, but one thing is certain, Polian doesn’t like the set up this year.

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Boise State rounds out MW bowl lineup today in Fiesta Bowl

No. 20 Boise State will try and send the Mountain West out on a winning note this bowl season when it plays No. 10 Arizona at 2 p.m. today in the Fiesta Bowl.

This will be the Broncos’ 13th straight bowl game, and third time it has played in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State has won eight straight, including five games where it scored at least 50 points. Arizona was hammered in the Pac-12 title game 51-13 against No. 2 Oregon earlier this month.

Boise State proved to be the most well-rounded team in the MW this season. It averaged nearly 40 points per game and allowed 26.5. The offense racked up 6,449 yards, and Arizona allowed nearly 450 yards and 27.5 points per contest.

Arizona has one of the nation’s best defensive players in sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III. He won the Chuck Bednarik and Rotary Lombardi awards, and also the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He leads the nation with 27 tackles for loss, and is second with 153 total tackles.

Look for Arizona to play much better than it did against Oregon, but also look for Boise State to show it is a better overall team and win a close one. Boise State 38, Arizona 34.

While the bowl season is nearly over, MW basketball is just starting as conference play begins today, including Wyoming hosting UNLV on the men’s side at 7 p.m. today in Laramie. The Cowgirls are at UNLV at 3 p.m.

For coverage of those games, see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net — and also check back to this blog.

Happy New Year everyone!