Behind the numbers
SAN MARCOS, Texas -- In this new series we will examine a few numbers that stand out from the game we just witnessed. That was a 23-14 Wyoming win over Texas State tonight.
Sometimes they won't be fun ones. Other times, you will be downright giddy.
So, let's get started.
Sean Chambers has been the starting quarterback for the University of Wyoming five times. He has won ever single one of them. They aren't always the prettiest of displays, and his passing efficiency is little to be desired early on in 2019, but, he's winning. Saturday night in San Marcos, Chambers once again changed the tide of the game with his legs. He got the Cowboys in the end zone late in the second quarter from seven yards, ending with a headfirst dive into the pylon. No Cowboy signal caller since Jay Stoner has won five straight starts. That came way back in 1998.
Speaking of Stoner and those 1998 Cowboys, no team since has reeled off six straight wins. Well, this team has, dating back to last October in Fort Collins when Chambers and Co. took down Border War rival, Colorado State.
There's that number again. That's how many takeaways the Cowboys have through their first two games of the 2019 campaign. Wyoming didn't get its sixth turnover until week four last season against Wofford. At this rate, they are on pace for 36 takeaways. The Cowboys finished with 32 en route to a Potato Bowl Championship in 2017.
That's how many plays a Wyoming drive took in the second half, by far the longest of the season. The Cowboys offense chewed up 9:12 of game clock, playing keep-away with the Bobcats for 88 yards. That drive ended with a 19-yard field goal off the right foot of Cooper Rothe.
Rothe has been the most dependable player in this program the last few years this side of Logan Wilson. He converted 16-of-17 field goals in 2018 and was up for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the nation's top placekicker. After Wyoming's initial drive of the day stalled out, Rothe trotted out to attempt a 43 yarder. He missed. That never happens. He redeemed himself in the second quarter, booting a 47 yarder. However, referees had to go under the hood to review the play. It appeared that the ball might have went wide left. But, after further review, it didn't. All was right in the world again.
That's how many passes Chambers has completed through two games. Chambers completed just 15 of his 25 throws during his three-plus games of action in 2018. Everyone and their mother knows this needs to change if the Cowboys hope to contend for a Mountain West title this fall. Chambers will be the first to admit it. Tonight, if there was one bright spot in the passing game, it was a beautiful long ball to Gunner Gentry for 44 yards down the sideline.
You think Wyoming is a running team? They rushed the ball 49 times tonight for 190 yards and a Chambers touchdown scramble. Trey Smith got most of the workload, rushing for 54 yards on 16 attempts. Wyoming rushed the ball 42 times against Mizzou. That night, the Cowboys averaged 7.1 yards per carry. Tonight, it was just 3.9.
Wyoming's defense recorded five sacks in the win over Texas State. In 2018, the Cowboys never finished with five sacks in a game. Considering the pass rushers -- Carl Granderson, Kevin Prosser, Youhanna Ghaifan, and Co. -- that's hard to believe. Twice, the Cowboys finished with four sacks: New Mexico State and New Mexico. Wyoming didn't even get its fifth sack until the Wofford game in week four. They were shutout in back-to-back games by Washington State and Missouri.