Pokes news and notes
LARAMIE -- Don't tell Craig Bohl that Boise State is having a down year.
Though he can't quite put his finger on why the Broncos have struggled at times, Wyoming's eighth-year head coach knows full well what that program is capable of.
Boise State showed glimpses of that past glory Saturday night when they walked into a sold out Bulldog Stadium in Fresno and came away with a resounding 40-14 victory over the No. 23 team in the country. Andy Avalos' team also went on the road on Week 6 and knocked off No. 10 BYU inside LaVell Edwards Stadium.
It's the home record that has turned some heads.
The Broncos are just 1-3 on the blue turf of Albertson's Stadium this season, losing to Oklahoma State, Nevada and Air Force. The last time this school lost three games in Idaho -- 1997. Boise State was in the Big West Conference in those days, battling the likes of Idaho, North Texas and New Mexico State.
In fact, the last time this team even lost three games total in a season was 2017. Their final setback came in the Mountain West Championship game.
"It's been a different year," Bohl said. "Typically, Boise has always almost been the reverse, you know, they've defended their home turf. I know it's really important for them to have a great tradition of playing on the blue. They have a really active fan base."
Here are some other news and notes from Bohl's Monday Zoom call:
* Sophomore defensive end Solomon Byrd is likely done for the year after sustaining an injury late in the game at San Jose State, Bohl said. Byrd finished the season with 37 tackles and is tied for the team lead with Victor Jones, tallying 3.5 sacks.
* Wyoming could also be without wide receiver Alex Brown in Boise. Brown suffered a knee injury against Colorado State, per Bohl. The team does not yet know the severity. Eric Abojei, UW's left guard, didn't play in the second half against the Rams. He was also dinged up and has an undisclosed injury. Bohl said he's hopeful Abojei will play Friday night.
* Boise State is ranked No. 95 in the nation in rush defense, allowing 173 yards per game. On the offense, the Broncos rushing attack is averaging just under 107 yards per outing. What is Bohl's take on the Boise State line of scrimmage? "You know, I don't quite know what to make of those numbers," he said. "When I watch the tape, I certainly don't see that. I know, the numbers are what they are, but I think maybe the addition of some of these players they have come back, they're starting to look like the Boise type of team that I know."
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS:
* Rants & Raves: CSU Edition
* Behind the numbers: UW vs. CSU
* Turning point, unsung hero and what's next for UW football
* Quick takes: We stopped believing, Wyoming didn't
* Muma named MW Defensive Player of the Week
* Wyoming's rushing attack, on the flipside, was back in a big way in Saturday's 31-17 victory over Border War rival Colorado State. The Cowboys rolled the Rams on the ground to the tune of 385 yards. There were explosive plays and power runs that kept the chains moving. This is what Wyoming football is supposed to look like. Bohl said credit the guys in the trenches. "I think our offensive linemen, fullbacks and tight ends have done a good job not only initially blocking the right guy, but maintaining their blocks and finishing off those blocks," he said. "I think that's been a big, big improvement, and then I think our running backs are running extremely hard."
* This will be a short week for the Cowboys, who kickoff in Boise Friday night at 7 p.m. MT. What does that mean for the team? "Coaches are running on a lot of caffeine right now," Bohl said. "It's a big, big ball game. We'll do kind of a hybrid practice schedule of what we normally have done. I think it's imperative though we get our hard work in. If we're going to play a physical game, we need to play and practice that way."
* Avalos is a defensive coach, a 180 from some of Boise State's great offensive minds of the past like Dan Hawkins, Chris Petersen and Bryan Harsin, among others. Where has Bohl noticed the biggest difference? "You see different elements within their offense," he said. "But, what you do see is a an offense that's really balanced, it can attack in the running game, they can make all the throws vertically and they have an run-pass option (RPO) game, as well. So, from that standpoint, they're similar."
* Turnovers haven't been easy to come by for the Pokes in conference play. The same can't be said for their next opponent. Boise State is a plus-9 after forcing three takeaways in that win over Fresno State. The Broncos have intercepted eight passes and forced 11 fumbles. That is the seventh-best total in the FBS. Wyoming is a minus-4 in turnover margin. The Cowboys did haul in two picks in Saturday's win over CSU.
* The Levi Williams to Isaiah Neyor connection has produced four touchdown passes in the last two outings for the Pokes. Both are still technically freshmen, too. Neyor has eight touchdown grabs on the season and has added one on the ground. The potential and long future with these two has to make the head man giddy, huh? "It is encouraging," Bohl said. "I thought Levi played well. He certainly took care of the ball better. Neyor is really a gifted player. He's tall and rangy, and as I said, he's got a great catch radius and he's got strong hands and good leaping ability. So, that combination is really, really helpful. It's going to be important that we build on that in the future."
* Join Ryan Clement and me live tonight at Dillinger's in downtown Cheyenne for our Monday Happy Hour segment. We will breakdown the CSU game and give you plenty of thoughts on where the Cowboys are at heading into Boise State.
* Stay tuned to 7220sports.com for all your Wyoming Cowboys football news throughout the week.
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