Week 2 is here and the Cowboys are hoping to avenge their 24-3 week 1 loss at Iowa. The Pokes will look to do so against FCS foe Gardner-Webb.

The Cowboys 21-point loss means they didn’t cover the 12.5-point spread. This week no spread was posted, so we will just pick straight up.

The standings are as follows:

 

Straight UpAgainst the Spread

Robert Gagliardi

1-00-1

Brandon Foster

1-01-0
Brad Reed0-1

0-1

Chad Smith1-0

1-0

Connor Cunningham0-1

0-1

Wyoming Cowboys0-1

0-1

 

Robert Gagliardi, Wyosports.net

What are your thoughts on the Iowa game?

Solid effort by the defense, but big-time struggles by the offense and special teams. Iowa had a lot to do with the offensive struggles as UW faced probably the best front seven — and definitely the best linebackers — it will see all season.  

Who was your MVP for last week? DE Carl Granderson

In his first game since his knee injury last season, he led UW with 10 tackles. He was disruptive, fast and showed no signs of being slowed from the injury. In fact, he may be better than prior to the injury. 

Poke Pick: The run game

The Cowboys have to run the ball effectively for the rest of the offense to flourish.

What needs to happen for Wyoming to win?

Run the ball and keep QB Josh Allen clean, meaning not to have him hit very much — or at all. The defense needs to be sound as it faces a scheme from Gardner-Webb that is similar to New Mexico’s run game, and we all know what happened with that last season. 

Prediction

Wyoming doesn’t play perfect, but plays pretty well in its home opener. Wyoming 41, Gardner-Webb 14

 

Brandon Foster, Casper Star-Tribune

What are your thoughts on the Iowa game?

I thought Wyoming’s defense was impressive, while the offense was somewhat concerning. The offense also followed a much different game plan than it did in 2016, which was more telling to me than only scoring three points. Iowa’s offense isn’t world-beating, by any means, but I think Wyoming’s defense should be good enough to let the Cowboys compete this year, while the offense will need to regain its footing. 

Who was your MVP for last week? DE Carl Granderson

He looked like he was the same Carl from early 2016, which is just about all you could ask for. It will be fun to see what he can do against a non-Big Ten offensive line this week. 

Poke Pick: QB Josh Allen

Picking Josh feels like a cop-out, but I want to make sure that the non-throwing shoulder injury doesn’t inhibit him. This might be his best chance all year to ball out, and that’s all Wyoming fans want to see. It won’t necessarily mean that much if he destroys an FCS defense, but it will if he struggles against one. Also, maybe the combination of the injury and potential for a blowout will lead to a Nick Smith sighting? 

What needs to happen for Wyoming to win?

Wyoming needs to not play against Gardner-Webb’s option the same way it played against New Mexico’s last year. If there’s one recipe for a second FCS loss in three years, that’s surely it.

Prediction

A loss here is unacceptable. I think the Cowboys defense will handle the Runnin’ Bulldogs, New Mexico similarities notwithstanding. Wyoming’s offense will get back on track; the only question is to what extent. The losing streak ends. Wyoming 31, Gardner-Webb 7

 

Brad Reed, Wyonation.com 

What are your thoughts on the Iowa game?

I didn’t get a chance to witness this game due to the season opener in Missoula, however, I’ve read a considerable amount on it due to the fine writers in this panel, and watched a few highlights (okay, just -the- one) so my commentary here will be brief. We should be encouraged by what we saw. Not quite what we wanted as a result, however, this Pokes defense looks like it’s going to turn a corner this year. The offense sputtered out of the gate. Not sure what happened there, but breaking in an entirely new crop of skill position players and facing the Hawkeye defense probably isn’t an ideal combination for immediate success. Tim Zaleski.. hang in their buddy, you’re going to kill it at UW and this is just a silly side note in your Cowboy career.

Who was your MVP for last week? DE Carl Granderson

Guy showed flashes last year of what we might see in his latter years as a Cowboy and I think this year we might have finally saw it all come to fruition. He’s bigger this year, and he’s going to be a legitimate force for people to deal with.

Poke Pick: QB Josh Allen

He’s going to do some very bad things to Gardner-Webb, who is probably making one of their first ever trips across the Mississippi to play a football game (also against Sam Houston State, Moorhead State, and Mid-America Nazarene). Good luck in the elevation, Bulldogs.. Josh gonna go HAM.  

What needs to happen for Wyoming to win?

Play football responsibly. Don’t walk into this game thinking about Oregon. Focus on beating this team by as many points as possible and show that last week’s power outage on offense isn’t going to be a thing this season. The home crowd should be large and rowdy (beers in the stadium!).. give them something to cheer about and a reason to keep showing up to the games this season. The fans will travel if this team is good.

Prediction

Wyoming 55, Gardner-Webb 7

 

Chad Smith, Wyonation.com

What are your thoughts on the Iowa game?

I’m on vacation in LA right now but I’ll take time out of the food, sun and beer to give you some quick thoughts. Don’t worry though I will be in Laramie Saturday.

Iowa on the road as an opener with the players we lost was always going to be a tough one. I say learn from it and move on, Iowa has a very good front 7 and it showed.

Who was your MVP for last week? The entire defense

I was very pleased with what I saw at all levels of the defense. Scottie Hazelton seems to have put together a more physical and polished group who should only get better from here.

Poke Pick: Running backs

Look for the RBs lead by Milo Hall to have a bounce back game against lesser opposition. 

What needs to happen for Wyoming to win?
Get back to the offensive balance that we saw last year. A balanced attack that allows Allen to rush and pass is what makes Wyoming tick.

Prediction

Tough game to pick we really don’t know much about Wyoming or Garnder-Webb. I’ll take the Pokes in a comfortable win though. Wyoming 43, Garnder-Webb 13

 

Connor Cunningham, Wyonation.com

What are your thoughts on the Iowa game?

Some good, mostly bad. I was very impressed with the defensive effort, especially the line and Carl Granderson. It was nice to see them succeed against a solid running team with a big offensive line. The bad was the offense and the special teams miscue. I won’t go into depth, as we all know what happened at this point.

Who was your MVP for last week? Defensive Line

Carl Granderson, who was unstoppable, led the effort but they all had a nice game. They were consistently in the backfield and getting pressure on Iowa. I think the line is as deep and as good as we have seen in a long time.

Poke Pick: WR C.J. Johnson

The Cowboys are depending on Johnson to have a big season and to be Josh Allen’s go to guy. He had a below average season opener, only catching 2 balls and dropping a wide-open touchdown on a beautiful pass from Allen. I think Johnson bounces back and catches two scores this week. 

What needs to happen for Wyoming to win?

They need to score early and often. There is no reason they shouldn’t win by 30+, but if they let Gardner-Webb hang around until late anything can happen. They need to put up points, get stops, and not turn THE ball over.

Prediction

Cowboys dominate from start to finish. Wyoming 48, Gardner-Webb 14

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