Monday news & notes
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl was thrilled with the way his team dominated both lines of scrimmage Friday afternoon in Las Vegas.
The stats really tell the whole story.
The Cowboys rushed the ball 57 times. They averaged seven yards per carry. Xazavian Valladay, Trey Smith, Dawaiian McNeeley and Brett Brenton, along with quarterback Levi Williams, accounted for 399 yards on the ground in the 45-14 win over the Rebels.
That was just what the offensive line accomplished.
The other line -- the one littered with opt outs, injuries and a recent suspension -- helped hold UNLV to just 132 yards on the ground. The return of team captain Garrett Crall was apparent right off the bat -- literally. The senior made a tackle nine yards in the Rebels' backfield on the opening play of the game.
Crall registered a sack. So did the defensive end on the opposite side, Jaylen Pate. Cameron Smith also recovered a UNLV fumble.
"They played with a great deal of energy and passion," Bohl started off his Monday press conference saying. "It wasn't as clean a performance as we'd like, but we were physical at the point of attack on both sides."
Here are some other newsworthy notes to come out of Bohl's presser.
- First things first -- Bohl said, as of now, the game against New Mexico will go on as scheduled. Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. MST Saturday from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
- Xazavian Valladay, who was injured on the first drive of the second quarter Friday, was listed atop the depth chart Monday. However, Bohl said he had no injury update on the junior running back. Valladay was spotted by television cameras with a bag of ice on the back of his knee. He didn't return to the game.
- Gunner Gentry and Cole Godbout will miss the return trip to Las Vegas this weekend when the Cowboys head to the desert to take on New Mexico. Bohl said neither has COVID-19, but both have been contact traced.
- Bohl had plenty of praise for the Pokes' next opponent. New Mexico has made Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas its home away from home this year because of coronavirus restrictions in their home state. The Lobos are 0-5 on the season, but the fact they are playing has been the real story. "We applaud them and their willingness to keep on playing," Bohl said of New Mexico. "To go ahead and field a football team ... kudos to the staff and players."
- New Mexico has a new coaching staff this season led by new head man Danny Gonzales. They have a new defensive coordinator Bohl and his staff are very familiar with, too. That man is Rocky Long, the former head coach at San Diego State, who spent 1981-85 as a defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in Laramie. "The defense is significantly different," Bohl said of New Mexico. "It's Rocky's defense. He stands on the sideline and dials up all kinds of pressures."
- How's this for a statement: Bohl thought Friday was Keegan Cryder's best outing in a Cowboy uniform. That's saying a lot considering Cryder was a Freshman All-American, a first-team All-Mountain West selection and the team's best lineman in the "knockdown" category. "He played well. It was probably his best game," he said. "You're right, to be able to dominate and do that, boy, that gives us a big, big advantage."
- Before the UNLV game, as you know, Wyoming had an unexpected two-week layoff thanks to COVID-19 issues at Air Force and Utah State. Players were open about how tough it was to stew on the game that happened before the break -- a 34-24 setback in Fort Collins. Monday, defensive ends coach Marty English, who has been on both sides of the Border War rivalry, was blunt about his feelings on sitting on that loss. "It sucked," he said. "I didn't like it at all... We needed to get that taste out of our mouth."
- Crall made his first start of the season in Las Vegas. No one was happier to be back on a football field than that guy. "It was a lot of fun, honestly," he said. "I had fun the whole trip, flying there, warm ups, it was just fun." Crall finished with five tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss in the win. He also batted down a pass.
- Tight end and special teams coach Shannon Moore talked about how playing in Vegas was the first time he coached in a dome since he was the head coach of the indoor football team in Casper, the Cavalry. "I'd say the Casper Events Center was a little nicer than that," Moore joked, referring to UNLV's brand-new home, Allegiant Stadium.