Know Wyoming’s foe: UNC Bears
LARAMIE -- Who will be Northern Colorado's quarterback Saturday inside War Memorial Stadium?
That's one JJ Raterink didn't have an answer for early in the week. The former Wyoming signal caller and current QB coach in Greeley said it could be a game-time decision.
In UNC's opener last Saturday, Dylan McCaffrey got the start under center but was forced to the sideline with an undisclosed injury in the third quarter after completing 15-of-24 passes for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The University of Michigan transfer also rushed the ball seven times for 29 yards in the 46-34 loss to visiting Houston Baptist.
"It wasn't the plan the first time," Raterink joked when talking about playing two quarterbacks. "Dylan took a hit and he just came over and said, 'coach, I can go, I just don't think I'll be that effective with some things. Dylan could've gritted it out, but it's one of those things where we needed to do what was best for the long haul."
Jacob Simon, another four-star recruit who spent time at the University of Washington and Central Michigan, took the reins and connected on 22-of-33 throws for 249 yards to go along with two touchdowns and an interception.
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Simon sparked a comeback in this one, leading the Bears on three touchdown drives after trailing, 39-20, in the third quarter.
UNC turned the ball over four times against HBU and racked up more than 60 yards in penalties.
“Self-inflicted wounds really do hurt you,” UNC head coach Ed McCaffrey told the Greeley Tribune. “It's hard enough when you play against a good, well-coached team to win a ballgame. It's even harder if you make mistakes.”
Defense was optional in the Bears' opener.
The home team gave up 517 yards of total offense, including 305 through the air on just 29 attempts. The Huskies ran the ball 41 times to the tune of 212 yards on the ground. That's an average of more than five yards per carry.
“When you play a game, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly,” McCaffrey added. “You can always play better, so despite the statistics, we didn’t find a way to win the game.”
Kickoff in Laramie is slated for 2 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
Here are some other things you need to know about Wyoming's Week-2 foe:
* Head coach: Ed McCaffrey (3rd year at UNC) 3-9 overall record
* Offensive coordinator: Max McCaffrey (3rd year); Defensive coordinator: Scott Darnell (3rd year)
* Record in 2021: 3-8 overall, 2-6 in Big Sky Conference
* Offense: Averaged 14.9 ppg, 275.4 ypg in 2021 (107.6 rush, 167.7 pass)
* Defense: Allowed 29.9 ppg, 373.9 ypg in 2021 (164.6 rush, 209.3 pass)
* Key Returners - Offense: Dylan McCaffrey (QB - 159-264, 1,333 yds, 5 TD, 7 INT, 58 rush, 227 yds, 4 TD), Kassidy Woods (WR - 43 catches, 483 yds, 4 TD), Zain Zinicola (WR - 1 catch, 7 yds)
* Key Returners - Defense: RJ Potts (LB - 38 tackles, FF), Brooks Talkington (DL - 21 tackles), Nick Ciccio (DB - 47 tackles, INT)
* Overview: UNC lost its top-two running backs and four of its top-five pass catchers from a season ago. Three of its top four defensive players no longer call Greeley home, either. There's a new place kicker on campus, too. McCaffrey's Bears struggled mightily on offense a season ago, averaging just over a couple of touchdowns per game. They scored 20-plus points in a game just twice in 2021. Five times, UNC failed to score more than 10 points. It was shutout one time, 35-0, courtesy of the No. 11 Montana Griz. In the first outing of the season, yards and points weren't the issue in that 46-34 setback against HBU. Turnovers (three fumbles and an interception), penalties and poor defensive play cost the Bears a win inside Nottingham Field. HBU quarterback Justin Fornby carved up the UNC secondary, completing 15-of-29 throws for 305 yards and four touchdowns. Eight different wideouts nagged a pass. The Bears gave up six plays of 20 yards or more, including a 78-yard touchdown run and a 74-yard scoring strike through the air.
* Thoughts on UNC: "We know a lot about a lot of their players. Obviously, they've got some pretty significant names. Both of their quarterbacks out of high school are both four-star recruits, so obviously they have the ability. They're big upfront. Their offensive line is big and they have very capable running backs. Over on defense, a lot of different pressures, which always pose problems." -- Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players