The Cowboys are in the win column. They enter this week 1-1 after knocking of FCS foe Gardner-Webb 27-0. The game was not as close as the scoreboard would indicate and in the second half it looked like the Cowboys were just using it as a practice, working on some things, and just trying to get into week 3 healthy.
This week is presents a challenge for Craig Bohl and company as they host PAC-12 power, Oregon (2-0). The Ducks have looked good thus far under first year head coach Willie Taggart and possess a potent offense that has a lot of speed and big play ability. Here is what I think heading the game.
- The running game needs to get a lot better.
The Wyoming running game through two weeks has been almost nonexistent. Through the first two games they have carried the ball 58 times for 123 yards. That is an abysmal 2.1 yards per carry. One thing to note is that Josh Allen refused to cross the line of scrimmage last weekend, likely just protecting himself. In order for the Cowboys to be successful he needs to use his legs and that should help out. The loan bright spot in the backfield last week was the emergence of freshman RB Trey Woods. Woods had 2 att. For 15 yards last week and at 6’3” is a bigger runner. He appeared to have some Brian Hill like qualities and I would not be surprised to see him take on a bigger role.
- The defense looks to be for real, but this week will be their biggest challenge.
The defense was fantastic for a second week in a row. I understand that the Cowboys played a lesser opponent last week, but Gardner-Webb couldn’t do anything. They never once threatened to score. This week will definitely be their biggest challenge thus far, if not all season.
Oregon, led by sophomore QB Justin Herbert, is averaging 59.5 points per game. They have thrown for 360 yards/game and run for 274.5 yards/game. The run game is led by Royce Freeman, who is one of the most dynamic running backs in the country. The Wyoming defense has their work cut out for them, but they are more equipped on defense to take on this challenge than they have been in a long time.
- Josh Allen will be the best player on the field vs Oregon.
Josh Allen’s numbers against P5 teams aren’t good. While the sample size is relatively small, he is 0-2 (combined score 76-20), 39-72 for 363 yards with 1 touchdown to 7 interceptions. It is hard to defend when brought up, but I will try. The Nebraska game was his 3rd career start and most turnovers came in the 4th when he was pressing and he didn’t get much help against Iowa and made a lot of really good plays. Make no mistake, he will be the best player on the field Saturday.
Josh Allen’s talents are undeniable and he is too good to not perform on the big stage. He did it against Boise and San Diego Stat twice. All 3 of those games were at home. Since last season, Allen has played better on his home turf. Saturday will be his first time hosting a P5 school and he will bring his A game.
- A number of outcomes are possible.
Wyoming was inexperienced and looked that way at Iowa, last week they played a bad football team. I am still not sure what kind of football team Craig Bohl has. There are 3 possible outcomes Saturday, and I have no idea what one will take place.
1) Oregon is too big, too fast, and too deep for Wyoming to keep up with and they win by 20+, if Wyoming comes out and turns the ball over and let’s Oregon get out of the gates fast, this becomes a very real possibility. 2) Wyoming plays their brand of football scores some points early but in the end Oregon is just too much and the Pokes hang in there but Oregon pulls away late and wins by 14-17 points. This to me is the most likely of outcomes. 3) Wyoming plays their brand of football, runs the ball decent, Allen extends drive, chews clock, and the defense causes some turnovers. If this happens Oregon will be in for a dog fight and it’s a one possession game with either team coming out on top. Possibility 3 can happen with a player like Josh Allen playing quarterback, but he needs help, especially from the running game.
- War Memorial Stadium is going to be a fun place to be Saturday.
Regardless of the outcome of the game, War Memorial Stadium is going to be rocking. There will be 30,000+ in attendance and the atmosphere will be electric. The home crowd really could make a huge difference and the Cowboys feed off that energy. If you want to feel big time college football in Laramie, Wyoming this is the game to be at.