Titus Swen explosive in return to gridiron
LARAMIE -- It's been 574 days since Titus Swen took a handoff in a meaningful football game.
That was a game at San Diego State Oct. 12, 2019. The freshman tailback suffered a leg injury that would sideline him for the six remaining regular season games and an Arizona Bowl victory over Georgia State.
Last fall, the Fort Worth, Texas, product decided to opt out because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Some might question just how essential a spring game is, but for Swen, it was an opportunity to prove to fans, coaches, teammates and himself, that he can compete -- and excel -- at this level.
Saturday, it didn't appear the running back has missed a beat.
"It felt pretty good," said Swen, who caught a screen pass and took it 71 yards down the east sideline and later broke a 55-yard touchdown run. "It was good to be back. I haven't been with my team for a little over a year. Coming back, they embraced me with open arms."
It's easy to see why.
Swen definitely brings a different element to the Cowboys' backfield.
"That dude is a baller," quarterback Sean Chambers said. "That was on display today. I think all spring he's been playing really hard and running the ball really hard in our scrimmages."
Late in the second quarter with the Brown team deep in its own end, Swen got caught up in traffic and trapped behind his offensive line. Somehow he managed to slip out to the flat just in time to snag a dump pass from Chambers. After shedding one would-be tackler, Swen was off to the races.
"That was that was kind of a busted play," Swen said with a grin. "Sean saw me and we locked eyes. He delivered the ball and rest was history."
Well, not quite.
"Unfortunately my roommate, Caleb Roberson, had to turn on the jets and catch me," he laughed.
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Late in the fourth, Swen took a handoff, bounced to his left and took on a single tackler near midfield. The defender was outmatched. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound back shook him and took off toward the right pylon. Swen outraced the entire secondary for the easy touchdown.
"Titus possesses some excellent skill," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. "You saw his explosiveness. There are things that he has to do to become a complete back, but he's an emerging back and we're certainly excited about his play out there. I thought he added some some great plays today. Sometimes things are not scripted and you have to have a guy make a play, which he certainly did."
Last week, Bohl tabbed Swen as the leading candidate to return kickoffs this season. After Saturday's two outbursts, it could be a natural fit.
It's certainly a role Swen is looking forward to.
"I feel very confident in that," said Swen, who did not return any kicks Saturday. "... Hopefully we can get me out there in our fall camp so we can get it rolling during the season."
Before Swen's injury in 2019, he carried the ball 67 times for 337 yards. He also scored on a 59-yard jaunt in a blowout home win over UNLV, showing off some of that elusiveness to go along with the power that makes him such a change-of-pace back from starter Xazavian Valladay.
If Saturday's performance is any indication, a rested, healthy Swen might be even better than the guy you saw two seasons ago.
Here's a scary thought -- Swen said he's not satisfied.
"My game is not near where I need it to be or want it to be," he said. "I still got some improving to do from my cuts to my explosiveness, my stiff arm, catching the ball, pass protecting, all of that. I still want to be the best I can be."
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