Craig Bohl has made his arrival in Laramie and his statement game against FCS Montana is a big one. The Cowboy offense struggled at times on Saturday but they made the plays that counted. The game was delayed twice by lighting delays but that didn’t put the flame out for the Cowboys. Many of you remember the Texas State game last year when the lightning delay basically killed the Cowboy offense in their footsteps. Not the case on this Saturday. Craig Bohl’s offense appeared to be exactly what he ran at North Dakota State.
This game was about what I expected from the Cowboys, getting used to a new offense and new defense. Colby Kirkegaard made his second ever start for the Cowboys and this time he made sure that he wasn’t going to lose to an FCS team. He did what was expected of him, manage the game, but did not limit the turnovers. He had two on the day, one interception and one fumble. All things considered, the Cowboys played well enough to beat the Griz.
The Cowboys started the scoring with a field goal from Stuart Williams in the first quarter. The Griz responded to the score with some trickery by having Ryan Burke toss a touchdown to Missoula’s Josh Janssen in the corner of the endzone for the score, but failed on the PAT attempt. The Griz and Pokes fought to a defensive struggle into halftime with Montana leading 6-3. After that the game had its share of delays courtesy of mother nature.
Two lightning delays slowed the game down, one near halftime and one in the 3rd quarter. The delays totaled about an hour in game time. After the half the Pokes resumed their scoring with a run from Shaun Wick. The Cowboys punched in a touchdown after that, a 58 yard run from DJ May to put the Pokes up 17-6. Montana responded with a touchdown in the 4th quarter, a pass from Jordan Johnson to tight end Mike Ralston to bring the Griz within five, but after a failed two-point conversion the game was mostly out of reach for Montana. From here it was a Craig Bohl ground and pound attack to put this game away for Wyoming.
On the defensive side of the ball the Cowboys gave up 42 yards rushing on the day. Let that sink in for a moment.. 42 YARDS! When is the last time the Cowboy defense did that? I can’t remember, I may not have been born yet. This is a terrific improvement over last season, especially against a Montana squad who likes to run the football and usually does so effectively. For the Pokes, Mark Nzeocha was all over the field recording 12 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. The defensive line was effective to shutting down the run game and swatting a few Jordan Johnson passes out of the air. This is a huge turn around from last year in terms of where the defense is.
The much maligned offensive line for the Cowboys was good enough to help DJ May and Shaun Wick carry the ball for more than 200 yards, however, they struggled to deal with FCS preseason all-American Zach Wagenmann who was all over the field for Montana. Quarterback Colby Kirkegaard was sacked six times in this game and hurried quite a few others. Some room for improvement, but effective in run blocking.
All in all this is about what I expected, brand new era for the Cowboys and tuning up against a high quality FCS opponent was probably the right medicine the Pokes needed before they host the Air Force Falcons next week. If the Pokes can figure out a few of the offensive line tweaks and clean up a few mistakes from the quarterback the game should be a win for the Pokes.. if not, we might be in for a low scoring affair at the War next week.
Post game interview with Craig Bohl:
Post game interview with UW QB Colby Kirkegaard:
Post game interview with UW DE Eddie Yarborough: