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Week 3 is here and the 0-2 Cowboys will go on the road for the first time this season to take on the 1-1 Cougars of Washington State. Wyoming’s early season struggles have been well documented and this week will be another tough one.

Wyoming didn’t cover the 13.5-point spread last week and this week they come in as underdogs for the first time, as Washington State comes in as a 24.5-point favorite.

The standings are as follows:

 

Straight Up

Against the Spread

Robert Gagliardi

0-2

1-1

Ryan Holmgren

0-2

2-0

Brad Reed

0-2

1-1

Chad Smith

0-2

2-0

Connor Cunningham0-2

0-2

 

 

Robert Gagliardi, Wyosports.net

Thoughts on last week’s game, what worked, what didn’t?

Wyoming was too one-dimensional last week. After sophomore quarterback Josh Allen left with his shoulder/collar bone injury, the Cowboys couldn’t throw the ball. Redshirt freshman Nick Smith held his own in terms of running the offense and running the ball himself, but zero passing yards on 13 attempts didn’t get it done.

Obviously, the running game worked with 430 yards. Even when Eastern Michigan knew the run was coming, Wyoming did a good job executing.

The defense continued to give up big plays, and has yet to force a turnover this season. There’s plenty of areas where the struggles occur, but the Cowboys’ defensive line needs to play better. This is supposed to be a strength of the defense, yet it has struggled to stop the run and also generate a consistent pass rush. 

Through two games what has been Wyoming’s biggest strength? Weakness?

The biggest strengths are with the run game, based on last week at least, and the punting game where junior Ethan Wood is seventh in the nation and as a team Wyoming is 11th in net punting. The statistics indicate Wyoming is not good in the passing game, but to have starting quarterback Cameron Coffman back should allow Wyoming to be more balanced. The defense as a whole is a weakness. Many expected some struggles, but for Wyoming to have any chance to win any games, this unit needs to improve, even if it is gradual improvement. 

Pokes Pick:

Wyoming’s offensive line needs to do a good job of managing Washington State’s 3-4 scheme so I can run the ball and be more balanced on offense. This group struggled against North Dakota’s 3-4 defense, and this week it faces much better athletes from Washington State. Everyone needs to play better on defense, but I am curious to see what senior cornerback Tyran Finley does now that he’s been inserted into the starting lineup.

The Cowboys win if…

The Cowboys win if they control the ball on offense, finish drives and keep Washington State’s offense on the sideline. They also win if they can get some key stops defensively, especially on third down.

Game Prediction:

This could be a long night for Wyoming. This match-up is not a good one for the Cowboys in a lot of ways. Washington State 48, Wyoming 14.

 

Ryan Holmgren, Casper Star-Tribune

Thoughts on last week’s game, what worked, what didn’t?

Well, it’s pretty clear that Wyoming’s running game worked last week, racking up 430 rushing yards after amassing just 29 against North Dakota. Its passing game was just the opposite, finishing with 32 yards after Cameron Coffman threw for 282 and two touchdowns in Week 1.

Through two games what has been Wyoming’s biggest strength? Weakness?

Hard to choose a strength. Based on Week 1, it’s the passing game. Based on Week 2, it’s the running game. One thing that is clear is that UW’s defense is its biggest weakness. Watching those 38 unanswered points unfold in the first week last year was hard to watch, and I imagine was even harder to watch for fans with a dog in the fight.

Pokes pick: Brian Hill, RB

I think I picked him as my “Poke Pick” in Week 1 and he was totally bottled up by UND. So hopefully I don’t jinx him again. But the dude was an absolute beast against Eastern Michigan. Twenty-one carries for 242 yards? Who does that? Well, Hill does regularly, seeing as it wasn’t even the sophomore’s best rushing performance of his career.

 

The Cowboys win if…

The Cowboys win if they force multiple turnovers. They haven’t forced any this season, and Washington State’s offense is already potent. Some big plays will happen, but UW can counter that by making a few picks or recovering a couple of fumbles.

Game Prediction:

Fool me once, shame on UW. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I’ve picked the Cowboys both games this season only to be proven very wrong. This week, I’m taking Washington State going away. The Cougars’ passing attack will be too much for UW’s young secondary. Wazzu doesn’t cover the spread, though, Washington State 42 Wyoming 28.

 

Brad Reed, Wyonation.com

Thoughts on last week’s game, what worked, what didn’t?

What worked? Running the football. Punting.  What didn’t work? Basically everything else. Not a great day for anyone and by the time the Cowboys started wearing down the Eastern Michigan defense the game was already in-hand and EMU had no worries for a Cowboy comeback.  

Through two games what has been Wyoming’s biggest strength? Weakness?

Running the football has been pretty good so far. Wick and Hill are both off to nice starts (at least in one game). Hill was recently named Mountain West player of the week for his 243 yards of rushing last week. Ethan Wood has been a great weapon for the Cowboys so far. Josh Allen looked pretty good for the six minutes we got to see him this season. Biggest weaknesses? Defensive line and defensive secondary. The DL isn’t getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback; the secondary is basically non-existent so far as far as guarding against the pass. They’re making a lot of tackles though. The jury is still out on the offense, they’ve been slow to start and we just have no idea what they’re going to do this year.

Pokes Pick: Andrew Wingard, S

Given that we’re playing Washington State and they will throw the ball over the field I’m going to say the Poke Pick is going to be Andrew Wingard. He had a terrific game against EMU recording a team high in tackles. Hopefully he can build off of the momentum of that last game and continue to wrap up and make good tackles because he’s going to be busy.

The Cowboys win if…

Mike Leach suffers an aneurysm and decides to stop throwing the football all together. Then when that happens the Cowboys run for another 400 team yards and put the Cougars away. I think one of those might happen, I’ll let you, the reader, decide which one of those is going to happen. That said, the Cowboy secondary has to play -perfect- for them to be in this game. They can’t give up the long ball, they can’t miss tackles, and they can’t let the Cougar offense dink and dunk them to death. They need turnovers, and the offense can ill afford to go three and out because the Cougar offense will put up points in a hurry and never look back. Basically, just do what Portland State did a couple weeks ago. 

Game Prediction:

I think the Cougars probably win this one, tough road game for the Cowboys and they haven’t done anything to convince me they can play four quarters of football. Washington State 45 Wyoming 20.

I also predict I will spend no less than three hours stalking Mike Leach, my spirit animal.

 

Chad Smith, Wyonation.com 

Thoughts on last week’s game, what worked, what didn’t?

It was good to see the running game be productive against Eastern Michigan. After the injury to Allen the passing game was nonexistent, but I was very happy with what I saw from Allen. He is very talented and could very well be a top quarterback in the future.

A big concern defensively is the number of third and long conversions the Pokes are allowing. Wyoming has allowed opponents to convert 7 out of 9  3rd and 7 or longer conversions with two of those going for touchdowns. Those are numbers that need to be cleaned up quickly if Wyoming is to resemble anything close to competitive this season.

Through two games what has been Wyoming’s biggest strength? Weakness?

The strengths and weaknesses of this Wyoming football team should come as no surprise. The strength is the running game and the weakness is the pass defense as many expected during the summer. Speculation has become reality and now it’s time for Wyoming to become a better-rounded team as the season goes along.

Pokes Pick: Andrew Wingard, S

With Wyoming playing the pass happy Cougars look for freshman safety Andrew Wingard to have another strong game in his second college start after registering 12 tackles last week.  He is young but has good football instincts and will develop into a top playmaking safety in the Mountain West over the next few years, I believe.

The Cowboys win if…

they score more points. I don’t mean to be so cynical here but at this point in time that’s all that matters. Run game, passing game, defense, special teams you name it and the Pokes need to greatly improve to register their first win of the season. Bohl said this week the focus needs to be on the Cowboys and he is 100% right.

Game Prediction:

The Wyoming secondary will struggle once again with the front seven not providing much of a pass rush. Look for the Washing State QB Falk to throw for 300 or even 400 yards. Washington State 42 Wyoming 16.

 

Connor Cunningham, Wyonation.com

Thoughts on last week’s game, what worked, what didn’t?

Obviously, what worked was the running game and what didn’t, well just about everything else. Wyoming started off hot with Allen at the helm, but after his injury we didn’t get much production from the QB spot.

To me, there were no bright spots on defense. Yarbrough was injured early and was just a fraction of himself and they couldn’t stop anything.

Through two games what has been Wyoming’s biggest strength? Weakness?

The strength is the running game, I think that is a given. The passing game isn’t bad when there is a capable quarterback. The weakness is the defense and the kicking game, Wyoming can not get a stop and they seem right now to be touchdown or bust because their FG kicking is as shaky as it gets. 

Poke Pick: Cameron Coffman, QB

Coffman needs to control the ball and make some big throws in order for the Cowboys to win the football game. The running game should be productive, but they need to be able to convert third down throws and make some plays downfield. It will be interesting to see how Coffman plays this weekend and how healthy he looks.

Wyoming wins if…

They win the turnover battle by +2 at the very least, convert 50%+ on third down, and scored more than 35 points, and more. Wyoming needs just about everything to go their way this weekend, but I think the most important stats will be the turnover battle and who has the most success on third down.

Game Prediction:

From everything we have seen from Wyoming this year, it is hard to imagine them pulling this one off on the road. I think these are the types of games Craig Bohl thrives on, but he does not have the right team in place to pull off the improbable. With that being said, I think the Cowboys cover. Washington State 41 Wyoming 24

 

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