Whose stock is on the rise in Laramie?
LARAMIE -- Which Wyoming players saw their stock rise in Friday's 45-14 rout of UNLV inside Allegiant Stadium?
LB/ Chad Muma
Yes, we already know how good Chad Muma is. However, isn't that taken for granted some times? The junior linebacker has been stuck on the depth chart behind a couple of guys named Logan Wilson and Cassh Maluia since arriving in Laramie. Heard of them? All Muma has done is step right in and take the reins from those guys and make plays all over the field. Friday in Las Vegas, Muma blitzed early and often. He racked up three sacks and seemed to be in on nearly every other defensive stop -- like always. He finished with a team-high 10 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. Muma is really solid. Plus, if he chooses, has two more years after this in Laramie. This guy gets better every week.
C/ Keegan Cryder
Here's another guy we know is good, but when Craig Bohl said Keegan Cryder maybe played his best game ever in Sin City, he's making this list. Cryder blew holes open all afternoon inside Allegiant Stadium. He had Rebel nose guards on skates from the second play on. You might recall that one -- a 78-yard, untouched, touchdown run by Xazavian Valladay. Cryder is already a Freshman All-American and a first-team All-Mountain West performer. And like Muma, he's just getting better. Guards Eric Abojei and Logan Harris get plenty of credit for what they do in the trenches -- deservedly so -- but Cryder is the anchor that makes it all go.
RB/ Trey Smith
This wasn't exactly Trey Smith's coming-out party. That happened last year against Idaho. He saved the Cowboys' bacon in front of a sellout crowd with a late 75-yard touchdown jaunt. Against UNLV, this was Smith proving he could be the No. 1 guy if called upon. Smith smashed and gashed his way through the Rebels to the tune of 164 yards on 24 carries. That's nearly seven yards per carry. He also scored his lone touchdown of the day from 28 yards out. Smith has been getting work as the back-up to Xazavian Valladay this season. When Valladay went down early in the second quarter Friday, Smith smoothly took control and the Pokes didn't skip a beat. The sixth-year senior transfer has seen it all in his long career, but the payments are just starting to roll in. Smith didn't commit yet to coming back to Laramie next fall, he wants to see what his options are after this season. If he does what he did against UNLV in the final two games, he might have just that -- options.
DE/ Garrett Crall
Was anyone surprised that Garrett Crall racked up five tackles, including two for loss and a sack Friday afternoon in his long-awaited return to the lineup? Probably not. Least of all Crall himself. Not only did Crall pick up right where he left off in 2019, he showed just how important he is to the Cowboys' defense as a whole. Think about it -- there were a lot of youngsters out there against UNLV. Rather than name them all, let's do it this way: No Cole Godbout, Mario Mora, Solomon Byrd, Devon Wells-Ross, Victor Jones or Claude Cole. That's a ton of talent not in uniform for one reason or another. Could you tell by watching? Me neither. Crall is a great asset on his own, but what he brought to the field Friday is worth its weight in gold.