Maybe it is just your typical internet fervor but I find it interesting that after almost every close Wyoming loss there is a section of the Wyoming fan base that blames the referees afterwards. Yes, Toledo was hitting after the whistle and it was capped off by the awful late hit that injured quarterback Brett Smith but by no means did it cost Wyoming the game. The truth is Wyoming’s own play cost them the game and coach Christensen said as much in his post game interview. Still don’t agree with me? Here are three stats from the box score that help explains why Wyoming loss their first home opener since 2002 against Boise State and none of them involve the referees.
1. 3 Turnovers
Toledo turned Wyoming’s three turnovers into 17 points. Teams that win the turnover battle put themselves in a prime position to win and any team with a minis three turnover margin is going to find it very difficult to win. Wyoming currently sits at -4 (116th in the country) in turnover margin after being at +12 (7th in the country) for the 2011 season.
2. 3rd Down Conversions: Toledo 9 of 19 , Wyoming 3 of 12
Third down is the money down in football. Good teams find a way to convert when they have the ball and stop the opposition when they are on defense. Wyoming did neither on Saturday and the Rockets were able to keep their offense on the field more than the Cowboys.
3. Goal Line Failure
With a chance to tie the game at 27 near the end of the 3rd quarter here is the succession of plays Wyoming ran before settling for a field goal.
1-G TOL 03 MILLER, Brandon rush for 2 yards to the TOL1
2-G TOL 01 MILLER, Brandon rush for loss of 2 yards to the TOL3
3-G TOL 03 SMITH, Brett sacked for loss of 6 yards to the TOL9
Brandon Miller wouldn’t have been my first choice to get these goal line carries. I know the coaches probably do not trust true freshman D.J. May or Shaun Wick to carry in the ball in these situations but they do deal with contact better than Miller. Better yet, I would like to see Ghaali Muhammad back in the running back position because he offers more size and power the running back position is currently missing.