UW-Hawaii key to the game; other notes and quotes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s top key to the game for the Wyoming Cowboys in their game tonight at Hawaii, which kicks off at 10 p.m. MT at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

Offensive line: Wyoming will be using its third different starting lineup in as many games along the offensive line, including a true freshman at left tackle in Ryan Cummings. That group has to play well, and the Cowboys need to do a good job of play-calling to give the offense a chance to be successful. Pass protection will likely be the biggest concern, or key, for the line tonight.

Do you agree, disagree or think Gagliardi is completely off his rocker?

Here is Gagliardi and WyoSports editor Scott Nulph previewing today’s game with Hawaii:

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UW-Michigan State key to the game; other news, notes and quotes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s top key to the game for the Wyoming Cowboys in their game today at No. 9 Michigan State, which kicks off at 10 a.m. MT today at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.

Man to man: Michigan State plays a lot of tight, man-to-man coverage in the secondary. It will be critical for Wyoming for its receivers to fight through that and get open, whether it be for a short gain or a big play. If the Cowboys can, that should open up both its running and passing game. If they are forced to be one-dimensional, they don’t stand much of a chance.

Do you agree, disagree or think Gagliardi is completely off his rocker?

Here is Gagliardi and WyoSports editor Scott Nulph previewing today’s game with Michigan State:

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Kamana has extra motivation to play this week

Saturday will be a homecoming of sorts for Wyoming redshirt freshman strong safety Tim Kamana when the Cowboys (3-1) play at No. 9 Michigan State.

Kamana’s father, Carter, lettered at Michigan State as a cornerback from 1981-84. Tim Kamana said his dad took him to a Michigan State football camp before his junior year of high school, and he also went to one before his senior year.

Kamana said Michigan State showed some interest in him, but there was no scholarship offer.

Saturday, with his dad in attendance and his sister, who attends Michigan State, Kamana gets to play in the same stadium his dad did 30 years ago.

And, Kamana could make his first-ever start as senior Jesse Sampson injured a knee in last Saturday’s 20-19 UW win over Florida Atlantic in Laramie.

Kamana’s uncle and grandfather both played college football at USC, so football is in the family blood. Here is what Kamana said about Saturday’s game:

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UW-Florida Atlantic postgame thoughts

Will say this for Wyoming, it likes to do things the hard way — and do them late.

An 88-yard pass to senior receiver Dominic Rufran from senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard led to an 18-yard game-winning field goal by senior kicker Stuart Williams with 15 seconds to play as UW beat Florida Atlantic 20-19 Saturday.

Didn’t get video of the Rufran catch, or the turnover the Cowboys forced prior to that on a FAU fumble by junior quarterback Jaquez Johnson. Senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha forced the fumble, and senior linebacker Jordan Stanton recovered it.

Here’s is UW’s final few offensive plays, and Williams’ game-winning field goal:

Do you see a theme with the heroes of the game for UW? See my column in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net to read that.

A couple of other thoughts from the game:

–The Cowboys’ defense was great, as Florida Atlantic only scored one touchdown in five chances in the red zone. That one time was set up by a 65-yard punt return by Lefty Whitehead. Here is video of that and some other highlights from the third quarter — not many highlights for the Cowboys.

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UW-Florida Atlantic key to the game; other notes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s top key to the game for the Wyoming Cowboys in their game today against Florida Atlantic, which kicks off at 2 p.m. today at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium:

1. Finish drives: Wyoming moved the ball better than expected in its 48-18 loss at No. 2 Oregon with a season-high 439 yards. The Cowboys need to keep making progress there, but more importantly, finish drives with points. UW averages 16 points per game. That figure needs to rise significantly moving forward.

Agree, disagree?

Here are a few other notes and quotes for today’s game:

–Junior Jake Jones (appendicitis) and sophomore Sam Hardy (ankle) are game-time decisions for UW at right guard. If both can’t play, redshirt freshman Charlie Renfree will make his first-ever start.

–UW will try and win its fourth consecutive home game dating back to last season. The last time the Cowboys won four straight home games was during the end of the 2006 and beginning of the 2007 seasons. Continue reading

UW-Florida Atlantic Q&A swap

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer swap with Cyrus Smith, who covers Florida Atlantic football for the website fauowlsnest.com, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @Cyrus31193

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

After road losses to Nebraska and Alabama to start the season, Florida Atlantic looked impressive in a 50-21 home win over Tulsa last week. What came together for the Owls and was that performance what most fans expect from the team this season?

Essentially, FAU played with a sense of urgency. After winning the last four games to end last year a lot of momentum was built for the next season for a potential Conference USA title run and bowl bid. Although many didn’t expect the Owls to win either of the games, the fan base definitely expected a better showing. The offensive performance was what the fans expected for the year. It also helped that FAU played a team that didn’t have a roster full of NFL players.

Quarterback Jaquez Johnson had a big game against Tulsa with 318 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters. Is he the guy that makes the offense go, and if so, what does he do to make that happen?

His versatility as a dual-threat quarterback makes this offense capable of putting up big numbers, but his ability to stay away from turnovers and negative plays is where his value can’t be unmatched. With this being his second year with offensive coordinator Brian Wright, he seems more comfortable taking shots downfield. Against Tulsa, Johnson completed two passes over 50 yards for touchdowns. If Johnson and the Owls are getting big gains through the air, FAU’s offense will be hard to stop.

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UW-No. 2 Oregon postgame thoughts

I don’t think anyone was surprised Wyoming lost 48-14 at No. 2 Oregon Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

But there were some surprises that came from the game.

Even though Oregon’s offense is loaded with speed and athleticism, I thought the Cowboys would stop the Ducks at times. But they didn’t.

Oregon rolled up 556 total yards and scored touchdowns on seven of 10 drives. On the ones it didn’t score on, it went 78 yards on the first drive of the game and UW made one of its few stops of the day on a fourth-and-2 play from the Cowboys’ 3. The other two were when the backups were in late. ne drive was at the end of the game as Oregon ran out the clock after UW was held inside the Ducks’ 10-yard line.

The Ducks punted only once — with their backups in the third quarter.

Here is senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha, who had a game-high 11 tackles, on the Oregon offense.

Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota showed why he is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate. He was 19 of 23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 5 times for 71 yards and two TDs. UW coach Craig Bohl said if the voting was today, he would vote Mariota for Heisman, and urged those in the media who have votes to seriously consider Mariota for the award.

Here’s what Bohl said after the game to the media:

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Wyoming-Air Force football postgame thoughts

If the first two Wyoming football games are any indication, you better not leave early or quit watching this team late in games.

The Cowboys rallied for a 17-13 victory late Saturday night in front of a good crowd of 21,246 at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. For a game that kicked off at 8:20 p.m. and was on national television, I didn’t think UW would get 20,000 people in the stands.

The final scoring drive was fun to watch, and impressive since the offense didn’t do a whole lot prior to that. Here is some video highlights from that drive, including the game-winning touchdown pass from senior Colby Kirkegaard to senior tight end J.D. Krill with 58 seconds left in the game.

I thought the play-call on the game-winning touchdown was great. In fact, I thought UW should have gone to more of those boot-leg, misdirection type plays more in the game since Air Force did a good job of pursuing to the ball and stuffing the Cowboys’ run game.

That 9-play, 75-yard scoring drive was UW’s longest of the season.

Were you as surprised as I was that the Cowboys struggled to run the ball? Credit Air Force, no doubt, but 51 yards was a shocker. Kirkegaard wasn’t sacked, which was good compared to six against Montana the week before. Kirkegaard showed great poise on that last drive, and hopefully that will be a confidence-booster for him and the entire offense moving forward.

Here is Kirkegaard after the game:

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Wyoming-Air Force football notes and quotes

Here are some notes and quotes that didn’t make the print or online platforms for WyoSports this week leading up to Saturday’s Wyoming-Air Force football game.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

–First-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl said the Cowboys have a big challenge facing Air Force’s option-oriented offense and its 3-4, blitzing defense. But Bohl also said: “I hope they look at us and have their hands full, also.”

–Air Force has modified its offense some over the years from a true triple-option. Make no mistake, the Falcons are option-oriented, but run a lot of those concepts out of different formations and blocking schemes. But it is still option football. “We appreciate Air Force’s commitment to sticking to their guns,” Bohl said.

–Bohl said he got a pretty good pulse of his team in about the second quarter of last week’s game with Montana. “We have good physical skills, but I wouldn’t say we have great physical skills. … For us to be very good this year, we’re going to have to become a more physical football team. I thought we got off to a good start (last week), but we have to be a little more assured in what we are doing.”

–UW senior cornerback DeAndre Jones on playing a conference game this early: “We’re going to try and be the first in the conference this season to get a win. Every conference game is important.”

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Air Force defense presents defensive challenges for Cowboys

Every time Wyoming plays Air Force in football there is talk about how unique the challenge is to go against the Falcons’ option-based offense.

Colby Kirkegaard

Colby Kirkegaard

That’s the case again this week as the Cowboys and Falcons open Mountain West play against each other Saturday night in Laramie.

But Air Force’s defense poses some challenges to Wyoming’s offense.

“They have a three-man front so they like to bring different linebackers from different areas,” senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard said. “They do some unique things, so we have to take that into consideration. It’s more different than anything, and also more challenging for us going against a team with a traditional four-man front.”

Wyoming’s game plan this season is to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball, and one would think the Cowboys will have an advantage Saturday going against a traditionally small Air Force line.

But UW offensive coordinator Brent Vigen wants to see the the offense be more balanced after running for 209 yards and passing for just 92 in last week’s 17-12 win over Montana.

“Air Force moves and plays really hard, and they and pressured a little bit more against Nicholls (a 44-16 Air Force win),” Vigen said. “We need to throw the ball more and more effectively. We didn’t take but maybe one shot (down field) last week.”

Here is Vigen on that, and recapping the offense’s play against Montana:

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