Wyoming’s Wyatt Wieland gets first catch ‘under the belt’
LARAMIE -- He wanted it to happen, but it wasn't keeping him up at night.
On the final play of the third quarter Friday night, sophomore receiver Wyatt Wieland hauled in a bullet over the middle from Levi Williams on a 3rd-and-7. It was the first catch of Wieland's college career.
The play went for 15 yards. More importantly, it kept the Cowboys' drive alive, something that didn't happen with any sort of regularity on the famous blue turf of Albertsons Stadium.
In fact, that was Wyoming's first third-down conversion of the game. The visitors went 3-of-10 in that category in the 23-13 loss to Boise State.
Wieland, who has been a mainstay on UW special teams units since 2019, said it was great to get that first reception out of the way, but there was no time to celebrate.
"It was pretty awesome, but I've accepted my role," said Wieland, who is seeing more time with the receivers due to injuries to Ayden Eberhardt and Alex Brown. "That's something (wide receivers coach Mike Grant) talks about a lot -- rising to the moment and not letting the moment get too big.
"You can't let the moment get the best of you. You still have to contribute and show the training you've put in."
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The 6-foot-1, 197-pound Colorado Springs product has been with the UW program since he walked on in 2018.
A graduate of Pine Creek High School, Wieland snagged 87 passes for 1,402 yards during his three-year varsity career. Along with 17 touchdowns grabs, Wieland averaged 17.2 yards per reception and nearly 62 yards per game while raking in 4A All-State First-Team honors as a senior.
How does a natural pass catcher cope with such a limited role?
It's not as hard as one might think, Wieland said.
"It's pretty easy to put those thoughts aside," he said of not being targeted more in the Cowboys' run-first offense. "We have a great team environment here. It's super team driven, so I do what I can do to help the team, whether that's catching passes or making tackles on the punt team."
Wieland has also served as a return man on kickoffs.
Williams, the redshirt freshman quarterback on the beginning end of that pass Friday night, said it was awesome to see Wieland make that catch in Boise. It simply reaffirmed what he already knew.
"He's a reliable guy I know I can count on," he said. "That came at a really critical time. We needed that third down and he made the play."
Yes, Wieland is content.
Also, yes, he hopes to see more footballs flying in his direction.
"I definitely plan on proving that every day in practice," Wieland said. "Hopefully, I'll be given more opportunities. Either way, I'll continue to contribute on special teams or any way I can for this team."