Wyoming’s Titus Swen Utilized Bye Week to Heal Body, Mind
LARAMIE -- Wyoming's first bye week of the season was a welcome one, especially for Titus Swen.
The Cowboys' starting running back has eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground just one time. He's averaging only 16 rushing attempts per game. Numerous times, the 5-foot-11, 206-pounder, known for his punishing style, has needed assistance leaving the field.
These aren't normal occurrences for this guy.
We quickly found out bruised ribs, suffered in the season opener at Illinois, played a major role in Swen's slow start to his junior campaign.
"It was not something you want to go out and play college football -- or really any sport -- with at all," Swen said. "It was hard just like turning my body and just like my quick twitch. So, when I was breathing out there, and with the elevation and the helmet on, I was in constant pain."
The Fort Worth, Texas, product carried the ball just 26 times over the next two games, rolling up 116 yards. He did find the end zone three times, all in a 33-10 victory over visiting Northern Colorado.
His best performance -- so far -- came the following week against rival Air Force, where he gashed the Falcons' defense to the tune of 102 yards on just 19 attempts. He also scored a touchdown in the 17-14 upset.
Since, Swen has been solid, but admittedly, he hasn't performed up to his own standards.
In a 27-14 win over New Mexico on Oct. 8 in Albuquerque, twice Swen was slow to get up off the turf and needed help from trainers to reach the sideline. Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said one of those resulted in a trip to concussion protocol.
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Swen says he is now operating at 100% physically. More importantly, he added, he took some time to reflect. While some of his teammates enjoyed their free weekend away from the football field, Swen said he secluded himself.
"It was a big wakeup call," he said. "During the bye week, I didn't go out at all or contact anybody, for real. I just stayed inside and got my mind right, got my mental health right. So, we're good."
Swen isn't about to blame injuries for his early inconsistencies, either.
"I was supposed to prepare myself better and do more things to get myself ready to play at that competition that is needed," he continued.
After the win over the Lobos, Bohl agreed, Swen hasn't scratched the surface when it comes to his potential out of the backfield, saying he hasn't maxed out, but needs to down the stretch.
Despite averaging 4.4 yards per carry and leading the team with 505 rushing yards, there's plenty more in the tank.
"That's the most exciting part about my game," he said. "I haven't even gotten into the passing game like I wanted to. I haven't really hit the holes like I wanted to. So, getting that little break and coming back, especially playing Utah State, a big game like this, is really going to give me energy to show my stuff out there."
The Aggies could be just what the doctor ordered, too.
Not only is Utah State allowing 186 yards on the ground per outing, Swen had his breakout performance against this team last November inside Maverik Stadium. The then-sophomore gashed the Aggies for a career-high 169 yards in a 44-17 upset of the eventual Mountain West champions. Swen tied a school record with a 98-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. He added another from 43 yards out in the win.
After the game, Swen was photographed at midfield, clutching Jim Bridger's Rifle, the traveling trophy that goes to the winner of this annual tilt.
That was all planned, he said.
"Before the game I told X (Xazavian Valladay), I'm going to take a picture with the rifle on the logo," he said, flashing a smile. "He was like, 'we have to win the game first.' I was like, 'we already won it.' The game was already over with, in my head. So, that's what's going to happen ... It was a good experience."
Where did that confidence come from? Utah State was on a five-game winning streak. Wyoming, floundering after a four-game skid to start conference play.
"It was like an intense feeling in the locker room, like people just taking the game way too seriously," he continued. "I mean, games are supposed to be taken seriously, but you're supposed to have fun out there. I was like, 'Y'all just have to have fun. It's a game. Like, y'all want to win but you can't play tense and all that because they want to win as much as we do. But if we just go out there, play our game and have fun, we'll come out on top.' That's what we did."
Should fans expect another big outing against Utah State this Saturday night?
"Most definitely," Swen said. "I'm feeling like myself. I'm feeling like I'm back in high school."
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised on FS2.
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