Another top-tier QB awaits Pokes this Saturday in Laramie
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl isn't quite done singing the praises of Jaren Hall.
During his weekly press conference Monday in Laramie, Wyoming's ninth-year head coach said BYU's quarterback was better than advertised.
The numbers certainly bear that out. The junior from Spanish Fork, Utah was true on 26-of-32 pass attempts, connecting with eight different receivers for 337 yards. Hall also tossed four touchdown passes, matching a career high in the Cougars 38-24 victory over the Cowboys Saturday night inside LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"I was really impressed with him," Bohl said, still in amazement over what he initially thought was a fade to tight end Isaac Rex that set BYU up for its first touchdown of the evening. "... I mean, it was a rope for about 35 yards down the field in a six inch box. And then he did other things. Whether it was a 3rd-and-5 third and five on a sprint option and he eludes three guys, he's an exceptional player."
Defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel said, for the most part, Wyoming's defensive backs were in prime position to make plays. Hall just put it where they weren't, he added.
With just 3:32 remaining in the first half, Hall led the Cougars on a 13-play, 76-yard scoring drive. He helped chew up all but four seconds of the game clock. He also converted three straight 3rd-and-long opportunities, giving the home team a 14-10 lead at the break after firing a 3-yard touchdown strike to Brayden Cosper.
That, Sawvel added, was the turning point in this one.
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Bohl agreed that Wyoming's corners were in the right spots, aside from a "pick play" that led to a Kody Epps score early in the third quarter.
"Outside of that, between our DB's and our linebackers, we were covering the guy," he said. "And many times those were in man situations. So those were, you know, you need to go up high-point the ball. You need to rake the ball out of there. Those are techniques that, you know, when you play against upscale opponents where the quarterback can put the ball in the right place, that's that next phase."
Deron Harrell, a senior transfer from Wisconsin, capped his night with two tackles, including a solo stop. He said UW corners were in tight coverage all night long, including jamming BYU receivers at the line. Despite being in their hip pockets, Harrell said this is a time when you simply just tip your cap.
"That quarterback, man, you have to give it up to him," he said. "Hall is a good quarterback, he put the ball in only places his receivers could catch it.
"... good ball beats good coverage. It was frustrating, but it's back to the lab."
Wyoming will face an all-too familiar signal caller this Saturday when the San Jose State Spartans pay a visit to War Memorial Stadium. Chevan Cordeiro will be making his fourth-career start against the Cowboys, his first in SJSU blue.
The Hawaii transfer is 2-1 in head-to-head meetings with Bohl's boys, including a 38-14 victory over the Pokes last December in Laramie. That afternoon, Cordeiro threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns in the upset. He also added a team-high 86 rushing yards and scored on the ground.
You might recall, Cordeiro launched a 50-yard bomb on the final play of the first half that landed in the arms of Hawaii wideout Jared Smart. The Rainbow Warriors turned that Hail Mary into a 24-7 halftime lead.
Bohl certainly hasn't forgotten.
"It was a bad deal," he said, shaking his head. "... I mean, he's really good. And you saw his ability last year, and I think their receivers probably are a little bit better than what Hawaii has. So, he's going to get our guys' attention."
Through three games so far this fall, Cordeiro has thrown for 764 yards and three touchdowns and has yet to be picked off. He has added 53 yards on the ground and two more rushing scores.
Will facing Hall have its benefits this week?
"I think it gives our players a perspective that, you know, just because you think you've got them covered they're not going to throw there. They will throw," Bohl said. "The windows on a really talented quarterback, you know, make you dot your i's and cross your t's. That's the advantage of playing somebody like that.
"It sucks that we lost, but it also, I think, it's a point that it shows that we have a good football team that can play better. These are the steps that we need to do to play better against really good competition. And I will say this is going to be really good competition we're getting this week."
Kickoff between the Pokes and Spartans is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players