Wyoming Football: News and notes ahead of Northern Colorado
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl talked during the offseason about how the top offensive line unit is a cohesive one.
He raved about the size and physicality. While polished techniques are still under construction for this unit, Wyoming's head coach said this group would be young but talented.
So far, he's right on the money.
The Cowboys have run 118 offensive plays through their first two games this fall. Fifty of those snaps have been attempted passes.
That front five, which at times features three new interior starters, has yet to give up a sack. Neither outing has taken place on natural grass, but if they were, Andrew Peasley still wouldn't need to wash his uniform.
"Once again, we protected the passer and we didn't give up a sack," Bohl said Monday during his weekly press conference. "Some of that has to do with where Andrew has taken the football."
Peasley was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week Monday after completing 20-of-30 passes for 256 yards to go along with two long touchdown strikes in the 40-37 double-overtime victory last Saturday over Tulsa.
He had plenty of time to operate in the pocket. He wasn't even "hurried" one time, according to the final stat sheet.
The Utah State transfer also led the team in rushing, finishing with 45 yards on 10 carries.
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Eric Abojei has made a seamless transition from left guard to the tackle spot. Frank Crum, who has manned the right edge over the past 21 straight games, has also been solid.
Those are the "old guys" on this unit.
The same can't be said for center Nofoafia Tulafono and right guard Emmanuel Pregnon, who both made their first-career starts during zero week at Illinois. Veteran Zach Watts and redshirt freshman Jack Walsh have shared time at left guard.
"There's a lot of new faces and I've been pleased, particularly, you know, with the offensive line," Bohl said. "I think, as we said, we haven't given up a sack in two games. Not a whole lot of missed assignments."
Here are some other news and notes from Bohl's Monday press conference:
* Scoring on defense, Bohl said, the likelihood of winning drastically goes up. Add a special teams score, and, well, you can't lose, right? It took two overtimes, but the Cowboys did eventually hang on to knock off Tulsa last Saturday in Laramie. That defensive touchdown came courtesy of a Jordan Bertagnole strip-sack that was eventually covered in the end zone by linebacker Easton Gibbs on Tulsa's second play from scrimmage. Early in the third quarter, Ryan Marquez came off the edge untouched and blocked a field goal. The junior receiver eventually scooped up the loose change and returned it six yards for a score early in the third. "(Those are) Some of the better things I thought we did in the game," UW's head coach said.
* By now you know Peasley's debut was a dud. He completed just 5-of-20 throws at Illinois for a grand total of 30 yards and an interception. That changed in a big way last Saturday when he connected with Will Pelissier on a 48-yard scoring strike in the second quarter and later hit Joshua Cobbs in stride from 51 yards out in the fourth. Peasley completed 20-of-30 throws for 256 yards in the win. "He threw the ball much better and we caught the ball much better," Bohl said. "We were efficient in that part of the game."
* Bohl said he wants to see better "tempo" from his offense when Northern Colorado comes to town this Saturday. "For several series in the second half, we had several three and outs and that has to get flipped around." Wyoming punted on its first three possessions of the third quarter.
* The Cowboys secondary had a rough outing against a talented Tulsa squad Saturday. Three receivers eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark in the loss. A fourth tallied 79. It wasn't pretty. "On the back end, way too many yards in the passing game," Bohl said. "We need to tighten our coverage down." Davis Brin threw for 460 yards and three touchdowns. You can read more about the UW pass defense right HERE.
* UW punter Clayton Stewart had a nice bounce-back game against the Golden Hurricane after averaging just 38.3 yards per kick in that opening loss to Illinois. That day in muggy Champaign, the Texas State transfer shanked a pair of boots that traveled just 22 yards each. Saturday, Stewart averaged 47.8 yards per kick and pinned three inside Tulsa's 20-yard line, including one that was killed on the five.
* John Hoyland was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week Monday after connecting on 4-of-5 field-goal attempts against Tulsa, including a career-long 55-yard boot that shifted the momentum back to the home team early in the fourth quarter.
* Good news, Bohl said the Cowboys made it through Week 1 relatively healthy. No new injuries to report.
* Wyoming Saturday will take on Ed McCaffrey's Northern Colorado Bears, who fell to Houston Baptist 46-34 in their season opener last weekend. UNC played a pair of former four-start quarterbacks -- Jacob Simon and Dylan McCaffrey -- who combined to throw for 425 yards and four touchdowns. "We know a lot about a lot of their players," Bohl said. "Obviously, they've got some pretty significant names." He's likely referring to McCaffrey, who played two seasons at the University of Michigan before transferring to Greeley.
* Bohl said Titus Swen was not at 100% against Tulsa. The numbers -- and a late fourth-quarter fumble -- show that. The junior rushed for just 40 yards on 11 carries a week after suffering bruised ribs at Illinois. "He Cowboy'd up, as we like to say," Bohl said. "He was going to go ahead and play. A lot of times, you can have bruised ribs and get cleared, but those can be really painful. So, I don't think he was at his best, but we appreciate his effort. He did some good things and hopefully he's going to be a little bit healthier this week."
* It's no secret, the Cowboys missed a ton of tackles in that 38-6 lopsided loss to the Fighting Illini. Last Saturday, UW was much cleaner in that department. "Our gap control was better, our tackling was better and guys were in better position," Bohl said, adding that Illinois running back Chase Brown is pretty good, too.
* Once again, Bohl praised the in-state kids that have been making such a big impact on this young team so far this season. Guys like Pelissier, Jordan Bertagnole and Caleb Driskill. "Yeah, it's heartwarming," he said. "It sends a message to a lot of these high school athletes that are out there in our state that, you know what, the Cowboys are looking at all of you. There's an opportunity to play big-time football, you don't have to be a superstar to excel on a big stage."
* Wyoming and UNC will kickoff at 2 p.m. Saturday inside War Memorial Stadium. The Pokes are 18-5-3 all-time against the Bears and have won eight straight in the series. Back in 1949, UW beat UNC 103-0 to claim its most lopsided victory in school history. These two didn't meet up after that debacle until 2013. Television and streaming for this game is currently TBA.
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