With four games in the books, the Wyoming Cowboys are 2-2 and one-third of the way through their 2017 season. Now is a good time to look at some key statistics to gauge how this year’s edition of the Cowboy football team is doing. We will get the negatives out of the way first but check back here with us at WyoNation tomorrow as we will outline some positives. Now on to three stats that should cause concern for Wyoming football.
Offensive Third Down Conversions: 32.7%
The Cowboy offense has struggled so far this season and a big reason why is they can’t stay on the field and sustain drives. Wyoming is converting just 32.7% of their third-down chances through four games which ranks them 10th in the Mountain West and 106th in the country. In comparison, the Pokes converted at a 43.5% rate last season which was good for 5th in the Mountain West and 37th nationally. A big reason Wyoming isn’t converting on third down is the running game and here are some bonus stats for you. In 2016 Wyoming averaged 4.88 yards per
A big reason Wyoming isn’t converting on third down is the running game and here are some bonus stats for you. In 2016 Wyoming averaged 4.88 yards per carry on third down compared to just 2.27 yards per carry this season. Not having Brian Hill lining up behind or next to Josh Allen has loomed large.
Time of Possession Per Game: 27:06
Time of possession is directly tied to third down conversions. Craig Bohl football is built upon controlling the clock with a strong running game and the Cowboys have failed at that to this point. The twenty-seven minutes and six seconds of possession per game is three minutes and seven seconds below Wyoming’s lowest time of possession number under Bohl which was 30:13 in 2015. Trey Woods could be a big factor in getting the time of possession up over the final eight games but Josh Allen hitting a WR or TE on third down from time to time would also help. Trey Woods could be a big factor in getting the time of possession up over the final eight games but Josh Allen hitting a WR or TE on third down from time to time would also help. Bottom line is if the Wyoming offense can’t stay on the field more it will have an adverse impact on the defense as the season wears on.
Passing Yards Per Game: 165.0
Speaking of Josh Allen…to say he has been underwhelming so far would be an understatement. He hasn’t been able to get into a rhythm and doesn’t seem to be on the same page with his receivers who have dropped some very catchable balls. A lack of a consistent running game has hurt Allen as opposing defenses don’t have to honor the run as much as last season but you would still expect someone with his talent to do better. Hawaii and Oregon both rank in the bottom half of the country in pass defense (with the Wyoming game included) and Allen was only able to throw for 64 and 92 yards respectively in those games.
For comparison sake, Josh Allen threw for 228.8 yards per game last season and it’s easy to see he is missing very much the graduations of Gentry, Maulhardt and Hollister. I thought Allen would struggle some this season (especially early) as he looked to gel with his new receiving targets but these types of struggles are really unexpected. James Price who caught the game-winning touchdown versus Hawaii in his first game back from a collarbone injury may be a major key for the passing game going forward. He plays bigger than his 6-2, 208-pound frame and could emerge as a player Allen targets more and more this season.
If Josh Allen has the first round quarterback talent that most people think he has, then sub 100-yard passing games aren’t going to cut it anymore. With that said, this passing problem does not all fall on Allen. The running game, offensive line and wide receivers all play a role in the passing games struggles. The coaches also have a pretty big big part in this equation and I have some suggestions what could be done that i will cover in a future blog or podcast.
You may notice that all these negative numbers are on the offensive side of the ball, that wasn’t by design though. I dug deep through the numbers and analytics and could not find one major fault in the defensive numbers. The defense is improved from past years under Bohl in almost every aspect. Look for a heavy defensive blog tomorrow when I outline three statistics that should call for optimism for Wyoming football.