Wyoming Football: News and Notes Ahead of Boise State
LARAMIE -- Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said he's in hopes Harrison Waylee will return from injury and be in the Cowboys' backfield next Saturday afternoon in Boise.
The junior running back says there's no doubt about it.
"I'm playing," Waylee told Alex Taylor of WyoSports. "I'm not missing this game."
The Northern Illinois transfer missed the first two games of the regular season, recovering from offseason knee surgery. He made his debut against then No. 3-ranked Texas, gashing the Longhorns for 110 yards on just 18 carries, 62 of which came on a first-quarter touchdown jaunt.
He added 156 more in a narrow win over Appalachian State and tacked on a season-best 191 yards in a nine-point home victory over New Mexico. Waylee amassed just 83 yards in an upset of Fresno State, but had his lower half rolled up on late in regulation, requiring assistance to reach the Wyoming sideline.
Bohl said postgame the injury didn't appear "season ending" and listed the Iowa product as "week-to-week."
Without Waylee, the Cowboys rushed for just 109 yards on 35 attempts in a 34-27 setback against Air Force. That's an average of just 3.1 yards per carry and quarterback Andrew Peasley led the way with 48 yards and a score.
"What we're missing there is, typically Harrison gives you one big play per game. That's an explosive play," Bohl said. "Now, I don't think he did it against Fresno, but he moved the chains. He hits the hole a little bit faster and he's got great quickness. It'll be interesting to see -- my eyes are pretty good when I watch our players -- to see if he's back at 100%. You know, the indications were good from our sports medicine. He gives us, as you know, a dynamic weapon in the backfield."
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Bohl also said right guard Jack Walsh is "probable" after suffering an ankle injury in Colorado Springs. Nose tackle Cole Godbout was also "beat up" in the loss to the Falcons, the head coach continued.
"We're hoping he's going to be back," he said of the senior captain.
Peasley also had some markings on his lower left leg. He said center Nofoafia Tulafono accidentally stepped on his ankle in the loss. The senior signal caller said he is fine and will play Saturday inside Albertsons Stadium.
Here are some other news and notes from Bohl's weekly press conference:
* Bohl set some very realistic goals over the bye week: Relax, recuperate, refocus. He said the Cowboys did just that. "Last week, one of the things we really felt like we needed to do was get refreshed," he added. "We had a lot of players who had played a lot of football against some rigorous opponents and were a little bit sluggish. Obviously, the Air Force game took a toll on us, physically, and then also mentally. So we backed off practice, somewhat. However, we thought we really had good focused practices."
* The kicking game was a bit "off" during that setback in Colorado Springs, Bohl said. All-American placekicker John Hoyland missed a pair of critical field goals in that one, the first from 45 and the last from 52. He also had a point-after attempt blocked. That would've given Wyoming a 28-27 advantage with 6:14 left in regulation. Hoyland also missed a 47-yard attempt in the fourth quarter of the win over Fresno State. "We worked hard on some things this week, not overdoing it, but addressing some things to make sure that we're a little bit better there," Bohl said. Look for a story this week on Hoyland's thoughts, confidence after a pair of tough outings.
* Boise State rarely loses at home. How dominant has that program been inside Albertsons Stadium? The Broncos are 52-12 on "The Blue" since 2013. Just seven of those were losses to Mountain West foes, including twice at the hands of Fresno State in the conference title game. Wyoming has never beaten Boise State in that venue, entering this one 0-8. In fact, the Cowboys are just 1-16 overall against that program, the lone win coming back in 2016. "Going to Boise is a really challenging place," Bohl said. "They play particularly well at home. I know they take a great deal of pride playing at home."
* Wyoming's conference title hopes are still alive. Boise State's are, too. Both teams enter this one with just one loss in Mountain West play. The Broncos are 3-4 overall and are coming off an improbable 31-30 loss against Colorado State in Fort Collins. They still have meetings with Fresno State (away) and Air Force (home). The Cowboys (5-2 overall, 2-1 in MW) have a much more favorable schedule down the stretch, facing CSU, UNLV, Hawaii and Nevada. "A lot on the line for both programs," Bohl said. "There's still a lot to play for. We're taking them one at a time. This is a big one. This is a game at the beginning of the year that I had circled, too, simply because of the tradition and the rich tradition they have and how they play at home. We're playing, I think, good football. We need to play great football against these guys."
* These two teams squared off in a classic last November inside War Memorial Stadium. Boise State eventually pulled off the 20-17 victory thanks to a last-second JL Skinner interception in the end zone. Peasley was sidelined for that meeting with a concussion, instead watching Jayden Clemons lead the Cowboys that frigid night in Laramie. In his last three starts, the senior has completed 50-of-77 passes for 589 yards and seven touchdown tosses. He has also added 107 yards and two scores on the ground. "I think he's shown that he has the ability to make plays with his legs, make plays with his arm and make plays with his head," Bohl said of Peasley. "So, it's a good combination. We're excited about Andrew playing in this game and I think he adds another element."
* How tough is it to prepare for the two-quarterback system Boise State has been implementing? "While they're slightly different, they're not drastically different," Bohl said, referring to Maddux Madsen and Taylen Green. "The play calls, we have not noticed being way, way different." Green, who will start this game, according to Ron Counts of the Idaho Statesman, has completed 53% of his passes while throwing for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns. Madsen has completed better than 64% from under center and has 584 yards through the air to go along with five touchdown tosses.
* Bohl has preached to his team all season long about finding an "extra 2%" and finishing the season strong. Here is their chance with five guaranteed games remaining. "This is going to be a big, big game for our program, as well," Bohl said. "We're in a different place, guys, I think you guys all know that. I think we're a different team. We're a better football team. How good we can be is going to come down the stretch. We had that bye at that time, now we have to hump up and really put the pedal down. This is going to be a big, big challenge for us, but I think our football team is capable of playing well."
* The Cowboys and Broncos are scheduled to kickoff Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Mountain Time. The game will be televised on FS2.
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