The Cowboys knocked off Utah State last week in Logan, UT to run their record to 4-2 (2-0). It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a gutty win and the Pokes showed a lot of fight and should be feeling good. This week the Cowboys will travel to Boise State to take on the Broncos. Last year’s game was decided by a late safety and the Cowboys pulled off a big upset of the #13 Broncos. Here is what I am thinking heading into the big game.
- Anytime you can get a conference win, especially on the road, you should feel good.
Wyoming once again gutted out a win on Saturday and at times it wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t matter. This is the brand of football Wyoming fans should get used to seeing this season and it is part of Craig Bohl’s style. He wants it to be a hard fought, physical football game. There are clearly deficiencies on offense for the Pokes and at this point it doesn’t look like they will ever develop consistency on that side of the ball. The take away from the game is that the defense and special teams units can carry this team and allow them to win the games they should as long as the offense makes just enough plays and on Saturday they did.
- Josh Allen’s effort was gutsy and carried the offense in the 2nd half.
Allen’s stats won’t jump off the page to anyone and if you didn’t watch the game you probably are wondering what I am thinking here. The fact is, outside of Allen’s terrible pass on the first offensive play of the game, he played fine. Allen was under pressure all game and somehow only was sacked 3 times when it seemed like he was dodging Aggies every play. He finished the game with 208 yards passing and a score but also ran for 36 yards and another score. He gained 76 yards on the ground in total, but the sacks brought that number down severely.
What was most impressive was his second half, he made big time throws and showed zero fear to take off and run and take a hit. Allen lowered his shoulder a few times for extra yards and had the mentality of “if you guys won’t help me, I will do it by myself” and he got the job done in Logan. Allen needs help, it is painfully clear and he can’t continue to do what he did Saturday because his body won’t hold up but for now, the Cowboys will take the win and move on. They will need a big time effort from Allen this week if they want to upset Boise
- Austin Conway needs to be more involved with the offensive game plan.
To continue my “Josh Allen needs help” thought, getting Conway involved would be a good starting place. Early in the year Conway was being used on jet sweeps and being targeted more often but on Saturday he had very little involvement. While I understand that the jet sweep wasn’t always effective, it opens other things up and Conway is a big time weapon that can be used as a decoy. He needs more touches whether it be running, catching, or even throwing (this one will happen this year).
- Craig Bohl’s hiring of Scottie Hazelton was a game changer.
Wyoming’s defense has went from its achilles heel from a year ago has become arguably its greatest strength. There are a few reasons why this might be the case, they are a deeper group than they have been in the past and they simply have better athletes and players in place but these aren’t the biggest reasons. The main reason for the turnaround is that Craig Bohl decided to relieve DC Steve Stanard of his duties following the 2016 and then hired his former DC at NDSU, Scottie Hazleton. Hazleton was at NDSU from 2007-2011 and spent time as the DL coach, then as the LB and DC in Fargo. Following NDSU he spent time with USC, Nevada, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hazelton has made a major difference with this defense and they have been fun to watch, they are causing turnovers, pressuring the QB, and most importantly missing fewer tackles.
- The Cowboys have their work cut out for them in Boise.
Boise State has proven time after time that they are the golden standard of the Mountain West and it appears to be the same this year. The Broncos are 4-2 (2-0) and coming off a dominating win of San Diego State. Last year’s win against Boise was the first in Wyoming’s program history, which tells you right there how hard it is to be beat Boise State. However, Boise is beatable. They have losses to Washington State and Virginia and didn’t look sharp against Troy or New Mexico. The Pokes come into the game as 2 touchdown underdogs, and for good reason. If the Wyoming offense can find some rhythm in this one they should have a chance, if they can’t then they will have their work cut out for them.