The Wyoming Cowboys took down Air Force last weekend in front of a terrific crowd in Laramie. The Pokes kept the Air Force offense mostly contained and had to hold off a late Falcon charge for victory. We have now reached the mid point of the season, and we have also reached the Cowboys bye week.

This week the WyoNation 5 on 5 gives their thoughts on the mid-point of the season and our surprises and predictions for the rest of the season.

The standings are as follows:

Straight Up

Against the Spread

Robert Gagliardi

2-4

0-5

Brandon Foster

2-41-4

Brad Reed

4-2

2-3
Chad Smith4-2

2-3

Connor Cunningham4-2

2-3

Wyoming Cowboys4-2

3-2

Robert Gagliardi, WyoSports.Net

What are your thoughts on last week’s game?

Another good win for the Cowboys. Wyoming hasn’t beat rivals Colorado State and Air Force in the same year since 2011, which ironically is the last time it posted a winning record and went to a bowl game. Good balance offensively and some timely defensive stops led the way once again.

Who was last week’s MVP?

I will go with the defense as a whole. Yes, it gave up some big plays near the end, but it made plays when it needed to and scored its fourth touchdown of the season. A lot of players made plays, and kept Air Force’s offense — for the most part — in check.

Poke Pick through 6 Games (MVP) 

Could go with the defense again here as I don’t think many expected the defense to have the kind of improvement it has showed so far. But individually, I will go with redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen. He’s been at his best when UW can run the ball well, but his ability to make plays with his arm and legs gives the Cowboys a dimension it hasn’t had since Brett Smith from 2011-13.

What has the been the biggest surprise to you thus far?

The defense’s ability to make big plays and force turnovers. Those areas needed to be better this season, but I didn’t see 14 forced turnovers and four defensive touchdowns.

The Cowboys are currently 4-2, where do you see their record at the end of the season? Do the Cowboys go bowling?

I see at least six wins, but I will say 7-5 at the end of the regular season and a trip to the New Mexico Bowl.

 

Brandon Foster, Casper Star Tribune

What are your thoughts on last week’s game?

It’s a four-quarter game, of course, so you can’t ignore the face that Air Force got within a 2-point conversion of tying. But overall, it was as impressive a performance as the week before against a more impressive opponent.

Who was last week’s MVP?

I’m going to go with Antonio Hull. He gave up the ugly touchdown, but made up for it with two interceptions, and picking off the Falcons was the only way the Wyoming defense was able to get stops down the stretch.

Poke Pick through 6 Games (MVP) 

Man, this is a tough one. I feel like Josh Allen’s talent level has been the biggest difference maker between this year and last year, but I wouldn’t say he’s played the best of any Cowboy. I’m going to go with Marcus Epps. Dude has been a takeaway machine, and that’s been another huge catalyst for Wyoming’s apparent turnaround.

What has the been the biggest surprise to you thus far?

I’d have to go with the run defense. I thought it’d be better but I really didn’t expect it to go from one of the worst in the country to where it is now. Honestly, Eastern Michigan is the only team that had consistent success with their tailbacks on the ground against Wyoming this year, and the more we move past it, the more that EMU game looks like it might’ve been a fluke.

The Cowboys are currently 4-2, where do you see their record at the end of the season? Do the Cowboys go bowling?

I think it will be genuine disappointing if the Pokes don’t go bowling at this point. Not only do they just need two wins in the second half of the season, but they also are playing well enough that I think they look like a bowl team. Left on the schedule is Nevada, Boise State, Utah State, UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico. I’m gonna say they win three of those. 7-5 and the first bowl under Bohl.

 

Brad Reed, WyoNation.com

What are your thoughts on last week’s game?

I didn’t get to see the game first hand, so I’ll offer some general thoughts gathered by reading, txt messages, etc. I think the Cowboys played Air Force very well. In a series that’s always hard fought by both teams it was nice to see the Cowboys bring in a huge crowd on a nice Laramie afternoon. Wyoming needed that win versus Air Force for many reasons. Air Force was a legitimate undefeated team that came to Laramie and handed their first loss. This Wyoming team is legit, and it’s been a long time coming.

Who was last week’s MVP?

Josh Allen was the leading rusher and the leading passer, and had three touchdowns. That seems pretty reasonable, so we’ll say him. He is maturing in front of our eyes. The offense is starting to open up a little bit and Allen is responding by making terrific plays with his arm and his legs.

Poke Pick through 6 Games (MVP) 

Andrew Wingard. Wingard has been a fantastic defensive player this season. He is currently eighth in the country in tackles, first in the Mountain West. He is second in the Mountain West, 10th in the country in solo tackles. Currently Wingard has 64 tackles, 36 of those coming on solo stops. He has been nominated to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list and selected first team All-Mountain West in the preseason.

What has the been the biggest surprise to you thus far?

Being 4-2. I don’t think anyone could have expected that at this point in the season back in August. Somehow the Cowboys have been winning, and looking like a team that’s quickly coming around. Craig Bohl and staff have done a terrific job with the team this season. I don’t think many people expected a win vs Northern Illinois. Or Air Force. Or Colorado State. But here we are, at 4-2 and only needing two more wins to reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011. With six games to go, and the way Wyoming has been playing, I’d say that finding two more wins is pretty reasonable.

 

The Cowboys are currently 4-2, where do you see their record at the end of the season? Do the Cowboys go bowling?

Tough games coming up with Boise State and San Diego State. Road games against New Mexico, UNLV, and Nevada coming up. Hosting Utah State at home. I can see three to four wins in that series of games. Utah State is going to be a slug fest at home the way both teams are currently playing. I can see the Pokes dropping one of the three road games remaining. I wouldn’t even be remotely surprised if the Cowboys beat San Diego State at home. Boise is looking really tough right now, not sure there’s a win in there. The Cowboys will most certainly be bowling.

 

Chad Smith, WyoNation.com

What are your thoughts on last week’s game?

The Pokes built a good sized lead and almost saw it slip away but the defense continued it’s big play ability to stay on top. It’s a big win considering the CSU road victory a week before because as I said last week these are the types of games Wyoming has had a letdown in the past.

Who was last week’s MVP?

Team win. Everyone from the coaches to the cheerleaders gets MVP status. Enjoy it during the bye week.

Poke Pick through 6 Games (MVP) 

I can’t pick just one so I will go with an offensive and defensive MVP.
Offensive MVP is QB Josh Allen. Statistically he is middle of the road when looking at the Mountain West conference leaders but his big arm and ability to run the ball keeps defenses honest.
Defensive MVP Andrew Wingard. What can you say about Wingard? He is tough as nails and is actually on pace to have more tackles than he did last year. He is the glue of the defense who is now surrounded by players who can make plays of their own including Epps, Hull and Wilson.

 

What has the been the biggest surprise to you thus far?

How much the defense has improved. The points allowed per game hasn’t changed much from last season ( 34.0 points to 29.7 points) but the play making in terms of sacks and turnovers have made all the difference. In 2015 Wyoming only had 10 sacks and through just six games this year they have 13. Turnover wise in 2015 Wyoming forced just 10 total turnovers and halfway through this season they are already up to 14.

The Cowboys are currently 4-2, where do you see their record at the end of the season? Do the Cowboys go bowling?

Wyoming has already reached the win mark I had the pegged for at the beginning of the season. So any additional wins are just gravy and they should be able to get to the six win mark. You have to like their chances to go two out of three on the road against Nevada, UNLV and New Mexico. The games at home are tougher versus Boise State, Utah State and San Diego State. Put me down for 7 and 5 and a bowl game that will allow an extra three weeks or so of practice that will be invaluable to this program. .

 

Connor Cunningham, WyoNation.com

What are your thoughts on last week’s game?

Impressive win and an even more impressive 2 weeks. The Pokes came out strong and dominated the first 3 quarters and then let the lead slip away. They came up with a big stop on a 2 point attempt by AFA to tie the game and answered with a game sealing touchdown immediately after. The crowd was electric as well, big things are happening in Laramie.

Who was last week’s MVP?

Lucas Wacha. The senior linebacker has a history of success against AFA and last weeks game was no exception. Wacha lead the team in tackles, seemed to be around the ball every play, had a few good pressures on the QB, and had a big time sack on a third down play. By far Wacha’s best game of the season.

Poke Pick through 6 Games (MVP) 

Defense. The defense has been so much better this year. Their PPG allowed are a bit skewed because of the offense either giving up points or putting them in bad spots but they have been impressive. 4 touchdowns in 6 games and scores in 3 straight games along with 14 takeaways. To put that in perspective they had 10 all of  2015. The Granderson loss is big, but I expect them to get better each week.

What has the been the biggest surprise to you thus far?

Since I already talked about the defense I’ll say that the biggest surprise is starting 2-0 in MWC play. After last season, I knew the Cowboys would be improved but I didn’t think they would be this much improved. They have completely dominated their 2 games in conference play and have some favorable match ups coming up.

The Cowboys are currently 4-2, where do you see their record at the end of the season? Do the Cowboys go bowling?

I’m going to say 7-5 and bowling. Wins over Nevada, USU, UNLV, and a solid chance to win and go 8-4 in their season finale at New Mexico. I think the Pokes will only get better as the season progresses. This is of course, barring any major injuries.

 

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