Behind the numbers: Wyoming vs. Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, Ill., -- Avert your eyes.
In this space, we take a look at some of the numbers and stats that ultimately determined the outcome. Wyoming's offense -- as it's been known to do -- was a no-show in Champaign for the Cowboys' Zero-Week opener. The home team, and its new quarterback Tommy DeVito, rolled up nearly 500 yards of total offense in the 38-6 rout.
Chase Brown had plenty to do with those gaudy numbers.
It was as bad as the score looked. If you dare, here's how it all unfolded:
That's how many completions Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley had on 10 first-half attempts. Joshua Cobbs was on the receiving end of both. He had 14 yards. That was a team-high -- by seven yards. The junior signal caller capped his day, connecting on 5-of-20 throws for 30 yards. He also lobbed an interception into the awaiting arms of Illinois defensive back Devon Witherspoon midway through the second quarter.
That's the Pokes' third-down conversion rate in this one. They started the contest 0-for-11. For good measure, UW was 0-for-1 on fourth down, too.
Illinois' 1,000-yard back Chase Brown gashed the Cowboys to the tune of 151 yards on the ground. It took just 19 carries to do it, too. The junior opened the scoring, hauling in a 14-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage. He added two more on the ground.
If there was a bright spot for the visitors Saturday inside Memorial Stadium it was the performance of placekicker John Hoyland, who was responsible for all of Wyoming's points. He booted through a 22-yard field goal in the first quarter and added a career-long 46-yarder in the third. The Colorado product has connected on 25 of his 30 attempts during his UW career.
That's how many yards Titus Swen rolled up on the ground Saturday on 17 carries. The Cowboys' bruising back finished with a long of 25, which came on the opening play of the second half with UW trailing, 17-3. Swen left the game late with what Bohl said could be a "rib injury."
Illinois' ball carriers -- all six of them -- rushed for a combined 260 yards on 41 carries. Brown, of course, led the way, but Reggie Love III finished with 46 yards on just three carries. One of those was a 33-yard touchdown run late in the game. Love took a big hit near the sideline but rolled over on the UW defender and never touched the turf with an elbow, forearm or knee. He coasted into the end zone untouched after UW thought the play was dead. Josh McCray added 33 yards on eight attempts. When the dust settled, the Illini averaged 6.3 yards per carry on the day.
Illinois head coach Bret Bielema didn't name a starting QB until Thursday. That man was DeVito, a senior transfer from Syracuse. He was more than efficient Saturday, completing 27-of-37 passes for 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns. More importantly, he shared the love, tossing the ball to 12 different pass catchers. Isaiah Williams led the way with seven receptions.
That is Wyoming's all-time record in season openers. The Pokes are 20-27-1 in road openers and dropped to 6-6 in Zero-Week tilts, dating back to 1991. Under Bohl, the Cowboys are now 5-4 in the first game of the season.
When Bohl beats a Power-5 program, he cashes in -- quite literally. The amount above is what UW's head coach put in his bank account when the Cowboys topped Missouri in the 2019 season opener. It's a perk in his contract, one he has taken advantage of one time. Bohl has now played 10 games against the "big boys." He's 1-9.
That's how many UW players made their first-career start Saturday in Champaign: Emmanuel Pregnon (OG) Nofoafia Tulafono (C), DeVonne Harris (DE), Jakorey Hawkins (CB), Braden Siders (DE), Cam Stone (CB), Shae Suiaunoa (LB),
and Miles Williams (S).
That's how many players made their debut in a Cowboys' uniform: Deron Harrell (CB), Andrew Peasley, (QB), Jakorey Hawkins (CB), D.Q. James (RB), Joey Braasch (RB), Wrook Brown (Nickel), Cole DeMarzo (LB), Mathew Posas (CB), Sam Scott (LB), Clayton Stewart (P), Oluwaseyi Omotosho (DE), Carson York (Long Snapper), Micah Young (LB), Caden Barnett (OT), Emmanuel Pregnon (OG), Jack Walsh (OG), John MIchael Gyllenborg (TE), Braden Siders (DE) and Ethan Drewes (DT).
Jartavius Martin, a senior defensive back for the Illini, finished with that many tackles in this win over Wyoming. He also added a team-high three pass breakups.
Despite having three new starters on the offensive line, Wyoming gave up this many sacks. Illinois also had just one tackle for loss. Unfortunately it was a big one. On a 4th-and-1, a Peasley sneak was snuffed out with just 1:10 to go in the third quarter.
Wyoming's offense ran a grand total of 51 plays Saturday. Illinois, 81. The home team played keep away, holding onto the pigskin for 36:36. They also converted 7-of-16 third-down attempts.
That's how many times the Cowboys turned the ball over. The first, a Peasley interception into the arms of Devon Witherspoon. UW running back Joey Braasch also lost a fumble on the final offensive possession of the game. Illinois didn't commit a turnover.
That's how many trips to the red zone the Cowboys made on Saturday. They were 1-for-1. Hoyland was true on a 16-yard field-goal attempt.
That's how many penalties the Fighting Illini were called for in this one. That equated to 65 yards. The home team also added a pair of missed field goals in the lopsided win.
That is the announced attendance today inside Memorial Stadium. This venue seats 60,670.