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CFN Take: Wyoming Blown Away By Aggies
Posted Nov 30, 2013

Wyoming Cowboys 2013 ... Head Coach: Dave Christensen

Wyoming Cowboys

2013 Record: 5-7
8/31 at Nebraska L 37-34
9/7 Idaho W 42-10
9/14 No. Colorado W 35-7
9/21 at Air Force W 56-23
9/28 at Texas State L 42-28
10/12 New Mexico W 38-31
10/19 Colorado State L 52-22
10/26 at San Jose St L 51-44
11/9 Fresno State L 48-10
11/16 at Boise State L 48-7
11/23 Hawaii W 59-56 OT
11/30 at Utah State L 35-7
at Utah State 35, Wyoming 7
Basically … Utah State clinched its spot in the Mountain West title game with a 35-0 lead going into the fourth helped by two Darell Garretson touchdown passes and a 64-yard punt return for a score from Bruce Natson. Wyoming finally got on the board in the fourth on a 60-yard Dominic Rufran touchdown catch, but it was way too late. The Cowboys finished with just 190 yards of total offense.
- Utah State QB Darell Garretson completed 20-of-29 passes for 156 yards and three scores with a pick.
- Wyoming QB Brett Smith completed 16-of-29 passes for 162 yards and a score with a pick.
- Utah State RB Joey DeMartino ran 20 times for 112 yards and a score.
- Wyoming ran 29 times for 28 yards.

San Diego State 28, at Hawaii 21 OT
Basically … Adam Muema ran for a two-yard score to help give San Diego State a seven-point lead in overtime, and Hawaii couldn’t answer getting sacked and with a few misfires giving the Aztecs the win. SDSU overcame four turnovers and forced overtime in the final few minutes on a 14-yard Chad Young run. Hawaii got two touchdown passes from Sean Schroeder and two scores from Joey Iosefa on a five-yard run and an eight-yard pass, but San Diego State kept pace with a 56-yard Colin Lockett touchdown catch and a 30-yard Donnel Pumphrey run.
- San Diego State RB Adam Muema ran 24 times for 163 yards and a score.
- Hawaii RB Joey Iosefa ran 37 times for 150 yards and a score, and he caught two passes for 18 yards and a touchdown.
- San Diego State lost four fumbles, Hawaii turned it over twice.
- Hawaii QB Sean Schroeder completed 18-of-36 passes for 194 yards and two scores with a pick.

at Boise State 48, Wyoming 7
Basically … Wyoming scored first on a 19-yard catch from Robert Herron, and then it was all Boise State the rest of the way in a sloppy game. Jay Ajayi ran for three scores from 22, 12 and two yards away, and Grant Hedrick connected with Matt Miller three times on scoring plays from 14, 48 and five yards away. Wyoming moved the ball a bit, but the O turned it over four times.
- The two teams combined for seven turnovers with four lost fumbles. Boise State outgained UW 524 yards to 265.
- Boise State WR Matt Miller caught seven passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
- Wyoming QB Brett Smith completed 27-of-39 passes for 207 yards and a score with two picks. He was held to -6 yards rushing.
- Boise State RB Jay Ajayi ran 11 times for 70 yards and three scores. Boise State outgained UW 241 rushing yards to 55.

Fresno State 48, at Wyoming 10
Basically … After spotting Wyoming the first ten points, Fresno State blew up, scoring 48 unanswered points as Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes with Marcel Jensen catching two of them from nine and two yards out, and Davante Adams making a nine-yard touchdown grab in the fourth. Joel Quezada ran for 105 yards with a two-yard touchdown. Wyoming’s points came on a one-yard Shaun Wick run in the first quarter.
- Fresno State QB Derek Carr completed 33-of-46 passes for 360 yards and four scores.
- Wyoming QB Brett Smith completed 18-of-32 passes for 141 yards and a score with a pick, and was held to 12 rushing yards on seven carries.
- Fresno State WR Josh Harper didn’t catch a touchdown pass but he led the team with 159 yards on nine catches. Davante Adams caught 11 passes for 79 yards and a score.
- Fresno State outgained Wyoming 600 yards to 296.

San Jose State 51, at Wyoming 44
Basically … David Fales capped off a phenomenal day with a one-yard touchdown run with just eight seconds to play to give San Jose State a wild win. Wyoming came up with 642 yards of total offense led by Shaun Wick, who ran for 234 yards with a 15-yard score, and Brett Smith threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns, but Fales helped the Spartans overcome a 30-14 deficit in the third quarter and got hot. With 482 yards through the air and five scores, Fales found Chandler Jones for three scores including a 76-yarder in the second and a 30-yard play in the fourth. Following a one-yard Tedder Easton run to help Wyoming tie it up at 44, San Jose State went 65 yards in 12 plays and just over five minutes to pull out the win.

at Wyoming 38, New Mexico 31
Basically … Wyoming got two Shaun Wick touchdown runs in the first quarter from 11 and 14 yards away, and Brett Smith touchdown runs from three and 48 yards out in the fourth quarter, to hang on and get by a plucky New Mexico squad. Before getting hurt, New Mexico’s Cole Gautsche ran for a 49-yard touchdown and hit Kasey Carrier on a 24-yard scoring pass, but it was David Vega who found Marquis Bundy on a 23-yard touchdown with just over a minute to play to pull within seven. UW recovered the onside kick.
- It wasn’t the best of games by the Cowboys, but the offense ramped things up thanks to Brett Smith, who completed 19-of-32 passes for 247 yards and a score, and he led the team with 140 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Shaun Wick helped out the ground game with 116 yards and two scores on 17 carries, but the offense had to gear it back up late after getting out to a 21-0 lead. After the clunker against Texas State, UW needed this.
- It was a good game for New Mexico, even in a loss. For once, the passing game clicked to go along with the always strong running game, but Cole Gautsche was injured after leading the way with 113 rushing yards and a score to go along with his 156 yards and one score through the air. Kasey Carrier had a workmanlike day with 104 yards on 25 carries helping the Lobos control the clock and most of the game. But the defense couldn’t hold on in the fourth quarter.

at Texas State 42, Wyoming 21
Basically … Down14-7 in the first half after two touchdown runs from Wyoming’s Brandon Miller, Texas State cranked out 28 straight points helped by two scoring runs from Chris Nutall and Robert Lowe’s second short scoring dash of the game. Lowe helped the Bobcats pull away with a 19-yard score in the final seconds.
- Is Texas State the best team in the Sun Belt? Beating a hot team from the Mountain West like Wyoming was a big moment for Dennis Franchione’s program. The 3-1 start has been nice, but now the fun really begins with a trip to Louisiana-Lafayette to start out the Sun Belt season. The running game showed that it’s ready.
- Where was the Wyoming run defense? The line came up with a few plays in the backfield, but the linebackers were chasing way too often, giving up 256 yards and five scores with Robert Lowe carrying the ball 30 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns.
- Without a ton of time to work, Wyoming QB Brett Smith just wasn’t all that sharp. He threw for 292 yards and a score, but he was under pressure on a regular basis. He wasn’t able to get into a groove.
- With the running game working, TXST QB Tyler Jones didn’t have to take any big chances. He completed 14-of-18 passes, and while he threw a pick, he had an effective day.

Wyoming 56, at Air Force 23
Basically … Brett Smith threw four touchdown passes including two in the first quarter to Dominic Rufran and two more in the second quarter with a ten-yarder to Robert Herron with six seconds left. Smith also added a first half touchdown run and Shaun Wick ran for the first of his two scores on the way to a 49-17 lead. Air Force scored first on a 33-yard Jaleel Awini touchdown dash, but the offense only managed a six-yard Anthony Lacoste touchdown dash to break up the Wyoming run of points.
- Brett Smith is playing as well as any quarterback in a quarterback rich conference. He was brilliant, completing 35-of-41 passes for 373 yards and four scores, and he ran 16 times for 138 yards and a touchdown.
- The Air Force secondary didn’t have any answers. There wasn’t enough pressure on Brett Smith, and he did whatever he wanted as he picked apart the Falcons clean.
- Not everything was perfect for the Cowboys. The ten penalties were a bit too many, but whatever. The 622 yards of total offense and 10-of-14 production on third down conversions made up for it.
- The Falcon running game worked, cranking out 346 yards and two scores, and Jaleel Awini completed 11-of-18 throws, but this isn’t an offense built on comebacks. The team couldn’t keep up in the firefight.

at Wyoming 35, Northern Colorado 7, Sept. 14
Basically … Wyoming scored 21 points in the second quarter helped by a pick six from Jordan Stanton and an six-yard touchdown catch from Dominic Rufran, and after a 31-yard Derek Vander Velde touchdown catch to pull Northern Colorado within 14, it was all Cowboys in the fourth quarter with 14 unanswered points on Shaun Wick’s second touchdown run of the game and a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown from Cortland Fort.
- The Wyoming offense keeps on rolling. Brett Smith threw for 264 yards, and while he wasn’t quite as explosive as he was in past weeks, he was fine when he had to be. The Cowboys never had to press.
- Northern Colorado’s offense came into the game on a roll, and the UW defense did its job of keeping things under wraps allowing just 340 yards and coming up with two defensive scores. There were a few problems against the passing game, but the D only allowed one fourth quarter touchdown.
- Time of possession will be a big deal next week at Air Force, and controlling the clock and the tempo was a problem this week. The game was never really in doubt, but there wasn’t a lot of flow – UW had the ball for just over 24 minutes.

at Wyoming 42, Idaho 10, Sept. 7
Basically … Brett Smith threw four touchdown passes and Dominic Rufran scored three times on the way to a 42-0 lead at the end of the third quarter. Idaho didn’t get on the board until late, and didn’t get into the end zone until James baker ran for a one-yard score with 18 seconds to play.
- Brett Smith is in a groove. The Cowboy quarterback followed up his great performance against Nebraska with a 295-yard, four touchdown day with a pick. He ran for 64 yards, too, second behind Shaun Wick and his 110 yards.
- Chad Chalich was effective on his short to midrange passes, but the Vandals just can’t get anything rolling down the field to break open a defense. It’s not like Wyoming is the 1985 Bears, but still, there wasn’t any production early.
- Dominic Rufran might have been the money player for UW with three touchdowns, but Robert Herron had a huge game with 123 yards on five catches, and Tanner Gentry led the team with six catches for 76 yards. Smith was spreading it around.
- How brutally ineffective was the Idaho defense? Wyoming came up with 564 yards in just 23:43.

at Nebraska 37, Wyoming 34, Aug. 31
Basically … Nebraska got three touchdown passes on a nearly perfect day from Taylor Martinez, and Imani Cross ran for two touchdowns, but the defense had to hold on for dear life as Wyoming QB Brett Smith bombed away for 383 yards and four touchdowns leading the offense to 602 yards in the wild shootout. Down 37-21 late, Smith threw two long touchdown passes to cut the lead to three with under two minutes remaining. The Cowboys had one final shot, but they couldn’t get out of their own end of the field.
- The Nebraska offense was fantastic. Four Huskers ran for 76 yards or more with Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross each going over the 100-yard mark. The rushing attack was unstoppable, Martinez connected on 17-of-22 passes, and everything clicked. The defense simply couldn’t come up with a stop.
- The Mountain West is absolutely loaded with quarterbacks. Brett Smith didn’t keep the Cowboys alive by himself, but he was balling late in the game to throw a mega-scare into the Big Red. He ran well – going for 92 yards – but it was his fearless passing that made it a fight.
- The Wyoming defensive front was gashed time and again. The good: Marqueston Huff made 18 tackles and forced a fumble. The bad: He’s a free safety.
- Where’s the Nebraska pass rush? There was absolutely no pressure whatsoever into the backfield. It’s absolutely inexcusable for a Bo Pelini defense to come up with no sacks and one tackle for loss. Wyoming came up with eight tackles for loss.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited Experience hasn’t always translated into production for Wyoming over the years, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. With eight starters returning on each side of the ball along with the specialists, the Cowboys should know what they’re doing after finishing the season hot winning three of their final four games. As disappointing as the 4-8 season might have been, four of the losses were by a touchdown or less and the team certainly wasn’t miserable. A few improvements could be just enough to get back into the bowl picture.

Why To Be Grouchy The offensive line wasn’t exactly a rock last season, and it didn’t do nearly enough for the running game, and now it has some work to do with three starters gone including tackles Josh Leonard and Kyle Magnuson along with center Nick Carlson. The defense has to replace leading tackler Ghaali Muhammad at one outside linebacker spot and losing tackles Mike Purcell and B.J. Sumter take away a bulk of the side in the interior.

What Needs Working On The pass rush has to be better. The defense was lousy throughout last season, especially against the run, and part of the problem was the lack of a steady push behind the line with hit-or-miss production. It wasn’t just the lack of sacks – generating 14 on the year going eight games with one or fewer – it was the lack of tackles for loss. There simply wasn’t enough disruption to screw up opposing backfields, and now it’ll be up to ends Eddie Yarbrough and Justin Bernthaler to do more.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Cowboys have to try to find the 2011 mojo again by getting the offense rolling. Brett Smith might be a terrific quarterback, but he needs the weapons to start being more explosive. The running game was abysmal at times gaining just 3.38 yards per carry, and the passing attack couldn't pick up the slack. The defense has to come up with more third down stops after allowing teams to convert 51% of their chances.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... JUCO linebackers. The Cowboys are working on their offensive front with massive Connor Kiese and JUCO transfer guard Albert Perez two nice prospects in a big class, but the defense gets the most immediate punch with JUCO transfers Malkaam Muhammad, Jeffrey Lark and Jordan Stanton needing to shine early on at linebacker. Defensive tackles James Diamante and Dalton Fields need to be developed, and safeties Xavier Lewis and Tanner Gentry are promising, but the team needs the linebackers to shine to make this class work.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 107. That Class Was Heavy On ... Just how much is the needle pointing up? With QB Brett Smith in place for the next few seasons, now it’s about putting in the pieces around him. The 2010 class of receives should be maturing, but now the Cowboys need more running back prospects with Alvester Alexander taking off early for the NFL. Beefing up the secondary with more bodies is a must. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 97. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. The defense wasn’t ignored with several interesting outside linebacker prospects brought in, but with the sudden departure of Austyn Carta-Samuels, doing more for the anemic passing attack was a must, With five true receivers coming in, led by the smallish, quick London Muse, the receiving corps is getting an infusion of bodies. The quarterback gig is open, and Adam Pittser out of Illinois will get an instant shot at the job, while athletic Brett Smith will be part of the mix.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 90. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receiver. Austyn Carta-Samuels has to throw to someone. After hitting the jackpot and getting a quarterback who could play right away last year, the Cowboys now need to upgrade the passing game with more dangerous targets. JUCO transfers Mazi Ogbonna and DeJay Lester need to be a big part of the offense right away, while C.J. Morgan will be a speedy target who could be the No. 1 in the near future. On the other side of the ball, JUCO transfer Austin Daniels might start right away at one corner.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 105. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. The rest of the class is mediocre, at generous best, but the quarterback recruits might be the best in the Mountain West. Austyn Carta-Samuels isn’t big, he isn’t fast, but he’s a player who could be the franchise sooner than later. For now, considering the woes at quarterback last season, the signing of JUCO transfer Robert Benjamin is a nod toward the present.


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