Wyoming Football: News and notes ahead of BYU
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl's eyes weren't deceiving him last Friday night.
It really was that good. Watching the film just confirmed it.
"I thought it was one of the most complete games that we've had as a football team since I've been our head football coach," he said Monday during his weekly press conference, referring to the 17-14 victory over Air Force. "... What I thought was really impressive was how we started the game out. You know, the first drive was almost an eight-minute drive."
It sure was.
Andrew Peasley and Co. marched 73 yards on 15 plays, chewing up 7:32 of game clock. Wyoming's quarterback completed 6-of-8 throws on that drive, rolling up 48 yards of offense through the air and taking full advantage of soft coverage on the outside. That initial possession was capped by a 20-yard field goal off the right foot of John Hoyland.
It was almost the perfect start. Almost
"I know there was a lot of debate probably from the people out in the peanut gallery, whether we should have kicked the field goal or or gone for a touchdown," Bohl said with a slight smirk. "I'm not saying I've got a great deal of experience against Air Force -- but I do. And I knew every point was going to count and where we were at on the field, so we took the three and took the profit. That was, I think, a wise decision as the game played out."
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS FROM 7220SPORTS:
Bohl said the Cowboys "flipped the script" on the Falcons. What exactly does that mean?
* Wyoming won the time-of-possession battle, 30:34 to 29:26
* Bohl's bunch converted 6-of-11 third-down opportunities
* The Pokes ran 58 plays. Air Force, 54
There was also this.
"Another thing that was interesting, as you know, we rushed the ball for 180 yards and they rushed the ball for 171," Bohl added. "Going into the game, you know, they were over 500 yards per game against pretty good people. So, a really impressive performance by our defense."
That's an understatement.
There's another very important stat that came out of that upset win -- 1-0.
"We beat a good football team. I think Air Force is going to win a lot of games this year," Bohl said. "That was a conference game, it was in division, all these things. There was a lot on the line for both teams. We're really happy that we came out ahead with that."
You might have heard, there's another rivalry game on the horizon. This one won't affect the Mountain West standings, but Bohl knows what it would mean for the fans of this state to walk away with a win.
"So, it's on," Bohl said of the Cowboys' meeting with 23rd-ranked BYU Saturday night in Provo. "I know our fans embrace it and are excited about it, but, you know, I think it'd really be counterproductive for us to dwell on all that. They know it's a big game."
Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised by the ESPN family of networks.
Here are some other news and notes from Bohl's Monday press conference:
* Bohl said his team made it out of the Air Force matchup "fairly healthy." However, a number of players didn't appear in that one, including 6-foot-7, 315-pound starting right tackle, Frank Crum. For the second straight week, the junior is listed atop the depth chart, but will he play in Utah? "Frank is day to day. We'll get an update later on today," Bohl said. "He's getting cleared for his strength in his arm. When he gets cleared, then he's going to play. Hopefully I'll get a report after the press conference here today that he's a go, but we're going to plan on him being day to day right now."
* Running backs DQ James and Joey Braasch were also in street clothes Friday night. "I would say Joey Braasch would be doubtful," Bohl continued, "I think DQ is going to be probable. As a matter of fact, I met with DQ on a couple other issues this morning and we're optimistic that he's going to be in the fold. I don't think Joey will be. He's in a boot. He's got a high-ankle sprain so it'll be a little bit for him."
* While the running back room could be gaining another member this Saturday, Bohl boasted about the 1-2 punch of Titus Swen and Dawaiian McNeely, who carried the load in the victory over the Falcons. Swen finished with a team-high 102 rushing yards on just 19 attempts. He also scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. McNeely, a sophomore from California, rolled up 42 yards on just seven attempts. That's an average of six yards per carry. "Both those two guys were very effective and we're going to need to have those guys in the house over in Provo," Bohl said.
* Cole Godbout and Jordan Bertagnole have received plenty of praise after what they did Friday night to help contain the Falcons' vaunted triple-option attack. That included allowing just 54 yards on 16 attempts from fullback Brad Roberts, who entered the game as the nation's fifth-leading rusher. BYU, however, runs a much more traditional offense. And as Bohl said Monday, its offensive line is "huge." "It's going to be a great challenge for us, but like I said, our guys, I don't think they look at all the people that say you can't do this or you can't do that. They're trying to get better."
* Wyoming's coaching staff has been very impressed with BYU quarterback Jaren Hall. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior from down the road in Spanish Fork is completing nearly 70% of his passes and has already tossed five touchdowns through three games, including two in last Saturday's 41-20 loss at Oregon. "Hall, I think, is a great quarterback," Bohl said. "He's very accurate, he can make all the throws, he can throw on the run and he can throw a vertical pass. He makes really good decisions. There's just a great presence about him. So anytime you're facing a quarterback like that, that poses a big, big challenge."
* While the Cougars have been throwing it all over the yard early on this season, the running game hasn't always been so dependable. Christopher Brooks, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior, has racked up 194 yards on the ground on 36 carries. He's also scored a pair of touchdowns. BYU is currently ranked No. 86 in the nation in overall rushing, averaging just 152 yards per game. In that loss to the Ducks, the visitors amassed just 61 yards on 24 carries. A week prior, BYU picked up just 83 yards on the ground on 33 attempts in a win over No. 9 Baylor.
* This will be Bohl's first-ever trip to Provo and LaVell Edwards Stadium, but this isn't his first time facing the Cougars. These old rivals met in the Poinsettia Bowl in rain-soaked San Diego back in 2016. BYU edged Josh Allen and the Cowboys, 24-21. Bohl said in the week's leading up to that game, he found out just how much bad blood is involved in this series. "I was not completely aware, so much," Bohl admitted. "... You know, I heard some rumblings about it and different stories, and then we played the bowl game. I went up to (head coach) Kalani (Sitake) and said, 'what is the deal?'"
* Want to hear something crazy? A quick look at BYU's official roster shows five current players were on campus in 2016. Yes, the year the Pokes and Cougars met in San Diego. Want to hear something even crazier? Alema Pilimai, Britton Hogan, Keenan Pili, Jake Oldroyd and Hayden Livingston are all listed as juniors. That, of course, is due to two-year Mormon church missions and the free year awarded by the NCAA because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, really wild to think about.
* Wyoming and BYU have met on the football field 78 times. The Cougars hold a 45-30-3 advantage in the series and have won eight straight, dating back to 2004. The Cowboys haven't won in Provo since 1987. That was a 29-27 victory, which helped propel the Pokes to its first of two consecutive WAC championships.
* Stay tuned to 7220sports.com throughout the week for more on the Cowboys meeting with rival BYU. You can download our free mobile app right HERE. You can also subscribe to our daily newsletter right HERE.