Laramie, Wyoming – The Wyoming Cowboys (1-2) fell to the Oregon Ducks (3-0) in a 49-13 blowout at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. The appearance by the Ducks in front of a crowd of 29,139 was the first time a PAC-12 school played in Laramie since Oregon State in 1993 (which was also a Wyoming loss). The game got off to a rocky start for the Pokes with the Ducks scoring touchdowns on their first two drives. Both drives were capped off with Royce Freeman touchdown runs who finished the night with three rushing touchdowns. The offense turned an Oregon muffed punt in the first quarter into a touchdown with a Josh Allen 10 yard run making the score 14 to 7 in favor of Oregon.
The Wyoming defense looked to be adjusting to Oregon’s speed and the offense had the opportunity to tie the game on their 5th possession of the game. The offense received the ball thanks to a third down strip sack by Carl Granderson that was recovered by Kevin Prosser. Wyoming began with the ball at the Duck 21 but ran just four plays for eight yards and had to settle for a Cooper Rothe 30 yard field goal to put the score 14 to 10. The Pokes would never get closer than that point with the Ducks scoring 28 unanswered points before the Pokes would score again on a Rothe 42 yard field goal with 2:15 left in the third quarter.
The Wyoming defense did not play particularly poor, there were some missed tackles but most of those were because Oregon has a higher quality of athlete than Wyoming. In the post-game press conference, both Logan Wilson and Andrew Wingard were disappointed with the defensive execution, particularly on third down.
Statistically, the difference between the two schools on third down conversions was the story of the game. Oregon operated at a high level of efficiency with a balanced offense while Wyoming was struggling to find the balance that brought them success last season. Oregon was 7 of 13 on third down for the game where the Cowboys were 4 of 15. Oregon converted 6 of 9 third-down attempts in the first half though helping to build their 42-10 halftime lead. This allowed Oregon to stay on the field where they ran 95 plays compared to Wyoming’s 57 with an impressive 558 yards of total offense which was more than three times Wyoming’s offensive output of 183 yards.
Josh Allen had a bad night at the office completing only 9 of 24 passes and did not look comfortable all night long missing passes to open receivers and just generally off in his accuracy and footwork. Plays of note included:
- Missing a wide open tight end in Tyree Mayfield down the right side of the field in the first quarter after escaping a sack.
- Escaping pressure again in the third quarter and although he had room to run up the middle for a first down. Allen threw to a wide receiver thirty yards downfield off his back-foot with the pass almost being intercepted by Oregon.
This is the type of game where you just burn the film and move on. The season starts in earnest next week with Hawaii coming into town for the opening of league play. There are no teams the caliber of the Oregon in the Mountain West and it will be important for the coaches to pick up the players spirits and keep them focused on the goals at hand. Coach Bohl and the players all stressed in the post game that, “You can’t let a team beat you twice.”
With conference play upon us, the Pokes can still reach their two primary goals. First, getting to the six-win mark for a bowl berth and second winning the Mountain Division and going to another Mountain West Championship Game. The losses to Iowa and Oregon have not changed that and we will see how the Pokes stack up against like teams with similar talent in the coming weeks.
QB Josh Allen: 9/24 64 Yards, 1 INT
RB Milo Hall: 11 carries, 49 Yards
S Andrew Wingard: 14 Tackles, 1 Sack
P Tim Zalseski: 9 Punts, 328 Yards, 36.4 Average
The Cowboys will host Hawaii next Saturday in their first Mountain West Conference game of the season. Kick-off is at 8:15MT and the game can be seen on ESPN2.