Another week and another win for the Wyoming Cowboys 7-2 (5-0). The Cowboys are coming off a dominant 52-28 win over rival Utah State. The Cowboys’ offense was clicking on all cylinders all night and although the Aggies made it close in the third quarter, the offense was able to answer and put the game away without any problem. This week the Pokes will go to UNLV 3-6 (2-3) with chance to make it 6 wins in a row.
The 5 things I think this week are…
1. The Cowboys are clicking
Craig Bohl and the Cowboys are rolling right now. They currently sit at the top of the Mountain division undefeated in conference (5-0) and 7-2 overall. Their turnaround from 2-10 last season is certainly one of the most surprising and best storylines of the college football season.
It seems that the Pokes can do no wrong lately and even when something goes awry, like an injury or bad play/call and you might think “okay, they can’t come back from this,” they just bounce back stronger than before. It has been a blast watching them this season and there is no reason to think their momentum is going to slow anytime soon.
2. D.J. May is the most important player on the Wyoming defense
D.J. May is one of, if not the most dynamic defensive players in the Mountain West. I will admit I was skeptical when Bohl moved May from RB, where he was very good, to defense. But Bohl knows best and May has become a very good defender. In 8 games May has 49 tackles, 7 for a loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass break ups, 2 fumble recoveries, and a touchdown. Toss in May’s explosiveness in the return game and you have a true stat sheet stuffer and game changer. May gets better each game as he gets more comfortable and his supreme athleticism often makes up for any mistakes.
May’s ability to do everything makes him the most important player on defense, you can put him in so many positions to make plays and opposing offenses always need to know where he is on the field. His importance really showed after he was ejected in the first half during last week’s game against Utah State. The defense struggled to find its feet in the third quarter and DC Steve Stanard later said they had to cross off a number of plays of their play sheet due to May’s absence. May has been a unique and fun player during his time at Wyoming and could certainly have a future on Sunday’s. For now though, let’s just enjoy his last few games in the brown and gold.
3. Logan Wilson is a difference maker
Logan Wilson has been the most pleasant surprise for me this season. The 6’2” RS freshman from Casper has burst on the scene with big play after big play. The defense last season was bad and we knew coming into the season guys would need to step up. I don’t know if anyone had Wilson on their list of guys that could be “that” guy. But, he certainly has been that guy. Thus far Wilson has tallied 57 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 picks, 3 pass break ups, and 2 fumble recoveries.
Wilson always appears to be in on every play and makes big plays in big moments. His pick 6 at EMU when the Cowboys were down a score, he had a game winning interception to seal the game at Nevada, and last week he had a big interception that all but sealed the Cowboys’ victory of USU. It has been fun to see a local kid play so well at the next level. The Cowboys seem to have a good young nucleus on defense with Wilson, and sophomores Andrew Wingard, Marcus Epps, and Carl Granderson.
4. The Wyoming offense seems to get more explosive each game
Last year the Cowboys offense went as Brian Hill went, and most of the time it wasn’t enough. Hill literally was the entire offense at times. This season in order for the Cowboys to take a step he was going to need help. Well, he certainly has gotten it.
Josh Allen has exploded on to the scene as one of the best QBs in the MWC. Senior pass catchers Tanner Gentry, Jake Maulhardt, and Jacob Hollister have been dependable. Shaun Wick’s return has been nice to provide leadership and a spell for Hill when he needed and the emergence of young guys like CJ Johnson and Austin Conway have helped take this offense to the next level.
Currently Wyoming is second in the MWC behind New Mexico in points for with 323 and has scored 35 or more in 6 of their 9 games this season. Last season they scored 35 points one time. Their 52 points last week were the most they have scored under Craig Bohl and the last time they scored in the 50’s was in a triple overtime game against Hawaii in 2013. With multiple weapons, Brian Hill being Brian Hill, and the emergence of a young star in Allen the sky is the limit for the Cowboy offense. I also think Brent Vigen deserves some credit here, his game plans and play calling has been very good during the Cowboys’ 5 game win streak.
5. The Cowboys will leave Las Vegas with a win to set up a huge game vs. SDSU
I don’t see any reason why the Cowboys will leave Las Vegas with anything but a win. UNLV was one of the Cowboys’ 2 wins a year ago and UNLV might be worse than they were and the Cowboys are obviously better. A win would set up a huge home game against the West division leading San Diego State. Assuming SDSU wins at Nevada this week, they would come into Laramie with a 9-1 (6-0) record. A game featuring the two top teams in the MWC would have major national implications and go a long ways in determining who will host the MWC championship game.