Three Stars of the Game: Pokes vs. Bobcats
TUCSON, Ariz., -- These postgame lists are never easy.
First, a quick glance at the official stats. That typically points you in the right direction. Then, the eyeball test comes into play. Finally, what was the true impact these guys had in the eventual outcome?
Still it's never an exact science.
It would be really easy to hand this honor to Jordon Vaughn. The redshirt freshman not only made the first start of his career in Friday night's 30-27 overtime loss to Ohio in the Arizona Bowl, it was his initial appearance in a college football game. He scored two touchdowns and led the team with 67 rushing yards.
Wyoming placekicker John Hoyland booted through a 53-yard field goal against Ohio, surpassing Cory Wedel to become the single-season record holder with 21 field goals on the season. He added No. 22 in overtime.
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Wrook Brown was all over the field in this one, arguably his most impressive play a five-yard tackle for loss after sniffing out an option pitch. The Cowboys' nickel corner capped his season with six tackles and a pass breakup.
While those guys have a case, here is our opinion on the matter. For the last time in 2022, here are the Cowboys' three stars of the game:
1st star: Braden Siders - Defensive end
This guy showed up to the yard in a bad mood. At least it seemed that way as he drove one Ohio player after another into the turf Friday night in Tucson.
Braden Siders, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end, tallied six tackles in the loss, most coming in rather violent fashion, too.
With 8:31 remaining in the second quarter, the redshirt freshman blew past his man, bulldozed an Ohio running back and laid out quarterback CJ Harris for a seven-yard loss before he knew what hit him.
It was as impressive as it sounds.
Siders added another sack just before the half. and the Thornton, Colo., product tacked on another tackle for loss in overtime.
In his first season as a starter, Siders racked up 44 tackles and seven sacks. Only fellow edge rusher DeVonne Harris got to the QB more, finishing with 8.5. Siders, along with offensive guard Emmanuel Pregnon, was named an honorable mention Freshman All-American by College Football News.
This kid could be a real problem for opposing tackles for years to come.
2nd star: Easton Gibbs - Linebacker
For the sixth time this season, Easton Gibbs registered double-digit tackles in a game. Against Ohio, Wyoming's middle linebacker finished with a team-high 10. He also added a sack on a 3rd-and-8 early in the fourth quarter.
Gibbs looked surprised he was all alone in front of Harris. The sophomore promptly dropped him to the turf and in the process dislodged the football. Ohio recovered but was forced to punt it away.
The California product finished with a team-best 121 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and a recovery for a touchdown in a double-overtime win over Tulsa in September.
Gibbs entered the 2022 campaign as the guy tasked with taking over for Chad Muma. He stepped into the middle of the Cowboys' defense after spending the year prior on the outside.
It appears that was a seamless transition.
3rd star: Treyton Welch - Tight end
Treyton Welch has all the tools: size, speed, skill and football IQ.
Now, he's becoming one of the program's top offensive weapons.
Welch, the 6-foot-3, 242-pound junior tight end, hauled in a career-high five passes for 91 yards on Friday inside Arizona Stadium.
He also hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter after making a quick adjustment to the back-shoulder throw and snatching the ball above an Ohio defender before falling into the end zone.
That was Welch's fifth touchdown of the season.
With the departure of Joshua Cobbs to the NCAA Transfer Portal after the regular season, the Minnesota native became the Cowboys' leading receiver after his big night in the desert. Welch now has 22 grabs for 308 yards.