3 Quick takes: Slow starts becoming common theme
SAN MARCOS, Texas -- If Wyoming gained a ton of confidence from its stunning week-one upset of Missouri, they sure didn't show it during the first 30 minutes Saturday night in San Marcos.
They looked slow, out-of-sorts and, once again, featured zero passing game from redshirt sophomore Sean Chambers, who completed just 2-of-8 passes for 12 yards.
Even Mr. Automatic, Cooper Rothe, missed a 43-yard field goal.
Wide receivers dropped balls, Chambers missed throws and the rushing game -- despite recording 114 yards on 25 carries -- was inconsistent at best, mainly thanks to the Bobcats loading up the box.
And why wouldn't they?
The Cowboys still haven't shown any ability to throw the ball.
None. Zip. Nada.
"I mean, it's become a theme early in the season, starting slow, that has to change," said Chambers, who finished the night 8-for-18 for 103 yards and an interception. "We can't come out an lollygag for the first two quarters and expect to come out here and win the game in the second half. We started a little slow. We got the win, but we need to come out and attack things and get going right away."
Being one-dimensional won't get the job done. It didn't in the first half Saturday night. The Cowboys trailed 14-10. It could've -- maybe should've -- been worse. This won't work when Wyoming faces the likes of Boise State, Utah State or Nevada.
Hell, it won't work against anyone.
Why the slow starts? Craig Bohl doesn't know. Neither does Tyler Hall, Mario Mora or Chambers.
Luckily for the Pokes, football has two halves.
Defense plays takeaway again
With 8:36 remaining in the third quarter and the Pokes trailing 14-13, Texas State was on the move. Gresch Jensen was orchestrating a six-play, 37-yard drive and was knocking on the door of the red zone.
Then, he made the biggest mistake of the day.
The Bobcats' signal caller threw all the way to the left sideline from the right has, directly into the awaiting hands of Wyoming senior cornerback, Hall.
He was in the clear and he brought an envoy of blockers with him.
Instead of Texas State extending its lead, Wyoming was in the end zone with its second defensive touchdown in as many weeks.
"I knew when I caught the ball, if someone catches me, I have a lot of explaining to do," Hall joked postgame. "I knew I had one dude behind me, the intended receiver. So, I just used my speed. He was the only guy to beat."
That was the biggest turnover of the day, but it wasn't the only one. Wyoming gave up 444 total yards of offense, but they picked off Jensen twice and forced a fumble. Mora got the recovery. Braden Smith snagged the interception. In the win over Mizzou, the Cowboys were a plus-3 in that department.
Tonight, they were plus-2. Chambers heaved a Hail Mary into the end zone at the end of the second quarter that was picked off.
Hello, pass rush
Wyoming recorded five sacks Saturday night in San Marcos.
Read that sentence again.
During the first half, Jensen was making three, sometimes four, reads while sitting in a nice cozy pocket.
In the second half, when he wasn't on his wallet Jensen was getting swallowed up or running for cover. So what changed? Mora said it isn't a big secret.
"The difference is we came out and started working as a team," the 6-foot, 3-inch, 264-pound nose tackle said. "We rushed together as a unit."
Mora and Garrett Crall each finished with 1.5 sacks, and Cole Godbout also got in on the action with one. Cassh Maluia and Victor Jones both picked up a half a sack on the night.
That, and eight tackles for loss, helped turn the tide in the second half.