Tuck’s Take: Boise Buzzsaw Caught Pokes Off Guard. Seriously?
BOISE, Idaho -- Craig Bohl always gives his players 24 hours to celebrate or sulk after a game.
It's a team rule.
Wyoming's head coach limited that period to just 12 this week with Border War rival Colorado State coming to town Friday night. During his weekly press conference Monday in Laramie, Bohl was eager to turn the page and move on to the Rams.
It makes sense, and I certainly don't blame him for that.
As for me -- and likely you -- I'm still attempting to digest what I witnessed Saturday afternoon inside Albertsons Stadium.
This program had a real chance to make a statement. Not only would a victory vault them into the thick of the Mountain West title race with the calendar flipping to November, but prove to the conference -- and its own fans -- that this year would be different.
With a chance to toss some dirt on Boise State's grave, the home team instead emphatically jumped on the shovel head. Ol' Pistol Pete was standing directly above the wooden handle.
The lopsided final score -- Boise State 32, Wyoming 7 -- doesn't even begin to tell the tale. In fact, it should've been worse. Way, way worse.
If you are squeamish, now would be a good time to look away:
* Wyoming's offense amassed just 112 yards of total offense, 27 of which came on the ground.
* Andrew Peasley and Co. managed to pick up just one third-down conversion on 11 attempts.
* Running back Harrison Waylee, making his return from a lower-body injury, carried the ball 10 times for 18 yards. That's an average of 1.8 yards per carry.
* The visitors snapped the ball on first down 19 times. Half of those resulted in negative yardage (two via penalties) or no gain. Six others went for three yards or less.
* Wyoming picked up just eight first downs on the day, ran only 45 plays and held the ball for a grand total of 21:29.
* The offense never crossed the 50-yard line in this one. That includes starting a first-quarter drive at its own 49-yard line.
* This unit committed five penalties on the day, including on the first snap of the afternoon. Wes King's holding call negated an 11-yard run from Waylee. Tight end Colin O'Brien was hit with back-to-back false start flags early in the fourth quarter.
All of that above is just the offense's ineptitude in Boise.
It gets worse.
The Cowboys' defense, the supposed strength of this team, allowed the Broncos to roll up 443 yards of total offense, including 227 on the ground. Ashton Jeanty, the nation's leader in all-purpose yards with more than 181 a game, didn't even play in the second half after suffering an undisclosed injury. He carried the ball just six times and netted 53 yards.
Imagine if he doesn't go down?
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Boise State's much-criticized two-quarterback system sure looked good, didn't it? The old adage goes: if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one. That wasn't the case Saturday.
Maddux Madsen, the newly crowned Mountain West Freshman of the Week, completed 12-of-15 throws for 147 yards and a touchdown. Starter Taylen Green, who rushed for 32 yards on four carries, also connected on 3-of-6 passes for 69 yards and a score. Last season's league freshman of the year added another on the ground.
Eric McAlister didn't seem bothered by the sudden changes under center. The redshirt sophomore receiver hauled in seven passes for 160 yards, 49 of which came on a touchdown toss from Green on the Broncos' opening drive.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, McAlister was named the conference's offensive player of the week.
Seeing a trend?
Imagine if Stefan Cobbs doesn't muff a punt inside his own red zone in the first quarter? Imagine if the Broncos' field-goal unit correctly executes a chip-shot opportunity in the second frame? Imagine if Green doesn't fumble at Wyoming's 16-yard line on the third possession of the afternoon?
Bohl said postgame that his team was not ready to play. I asked him the obvious question: why?
This team was coming off its bye week. It had everything to play for.
"Those are pretty complex answers," he told me. "They weren't (ready), and like I said, that's my responsibility to figure that out. I mean, for me to come up and give you an answer right now would be less than honest."
I planned to ask him that same question Monday. He beat me to the punch.
"One of the things I would say is that we have been successful because we have really, I think, utilized the potential that we have and we play with a chip on our shoulder in most of our games," Bohl said. "This game, I don't want to say it, but maybe we read our press clippings or looked too far ahead. As a coaching staff, we didn't see any of those things coming with how we practiced, but nonetheless, that's the facts."
He wasn't done there.
"I think what I failed to do was really express to our team the type of opponent that we were going to be playing," Bohl continued. "I think our players might have looked and said, 'OK, you know what, they've got a losing record. They're not like Boise. You know, this is our chance. We're going to whip up on them.'
"I knew enough that they were going to come in and be like a caged animal and play really relentless, hard and aggressive. I failed to get that across."
Are you telling me, this program, one that has never beaten the Broncos (now 0-9) on the road, thought they were going to waltz onto The Blue and roll?
This program, one that is 18-50 away from home in the Bohl era, took this one lightly?
This program, one that is now on a 5-game skid on the road and has beaten just one conference team that has finished with a winning record (Utah State in 2021) over the last nine-plus years in their house, thought this one was in the bag?
Wyoming is now 1-17 all-time against Boise State. That same squad dashed its title hopes last November in Laramie, a JL Skinner interception sealing a 20-17 heartbreaker.
To think, this team was supposedly looking for motivation in this one?
It all sounds like a laughable and truly unthinkable excuse, but the uninspiring optics Saturday afternoon would say otherwise. Body language was bad. The visiting bench was emotionless. Questioning effort is a slippery slope, but if that was the Cowboys' best, you might as well turn your energy toward a rebuilding basketball squad that gets its season underway next week.
This was a systematic failure with plenty of blame to go around. It was an absolute embarrassment, top to bottom. That's no overstatement.
"Our guys, we got taken to the woodshed and we weren't ready for it," Bohl said.
The wake-up call should've come after a 34-27 loss at Air Force. Clearly it didn't. That will more than likely cost Wyoming any shot at an elusive conference championship.
Mathematically, it's still possible. Realistically, it's not.
What this team can control is how it finishes out this season, beginning Friday night against its most hated rival. The Cowboys have won 10-of-14 against the Rams and hoisted the Bronze Boot in two straight.
Loses are frustrating enough, but setbacks in this fashion are serious cause for concern. How will Bohl's roster -- and the man himself -- respond to this latest adversity?
We'll all be watching Friday night.
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
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- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players