Saturday, September 6, 2008

Crum struggles in second game

Richard Anderson photo
Wyoming sophomore Dax Crum looks for an open receiver Saturday against Air Force.

By Richard Anderson

The learning curve can be somewhat agonizing at times. Just ask Wyoming sophomore quarterback Dax Crum.

After a so-so debut last week in the win over Ohio, Crum came away from Saturday’s 23-3 loss to Air Force stinging.

To put it ingenuously, it was not a good day for the transfer quarterback.

Crum was just 7 of 19 passing for 72 yards. That wasn’t even the bad part. He also turned the ball over four times with one pass interception and three lost fumbles.

While the Wyoming offense was running the ball well in the first half, the passing game struggled. Crum was just 2 of 6 passing in the first half for six yards.

“We just didn’t have any rhythm in our passing game,“ Crum said. “I fumbled the ball. I need to take some responsibility for this loss.”

Crum’s first lost fumble came midway through the first quarter, when on a scramble, he found a hole and appeared to be on the verge of a big play. But Crum was hit by Reggie Rembert after an 18-yard gain, losing the ball on the Air Force 38-yard line.

“I’m not going to slide; he put his helmet right on the ball and that makes it tough. But I should have covered it better and maybe dove instead of taking him head on,” Crum said.

On the second fumble early in the second quarter, Crum was caught on a blitz by linebacker Chris Thomas.

“We had game plan for that blitz, but I just didn’t see it,” he said. “They got me on that one. We knew they were going to try and bring pressure the entire game. We were ready for that, but maybe I didn’t pick it up every time I was supposed to.”

Crum was intercepted by Air Force’s Brandon Reeves early in the fourth quarter on the Wyoming 28-yard line, and he coughed up the football for the third time with just a couple of minutes when the game was all but lost.

Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said the Cowboys didn’t have it at quarterback on Saturday.
“Bob (Cole) and I talked a little bit after the game and it was hard to tell why,” Glenn said. “He had a lot on his plate and maybe it was too much.”

With about 10 minutes left in the game and the Cowboys trailing 16-3, Wyoming went with junior backup Karsten Sween -- last year’s starter who was beat out for the job this fall by Crum. Sween didn’t fare much better, going 1-of-3 for 4 yards. Twice he missed open receivers.

“It was still a two possession game,” Cole said. “He (Sween) had a chance to make a play and didn’t. We want to try to avoid a three-ring circus back there at quarterback. I like those guys to know that if someone is not playing well, they can go in and get a shot. But we’d like to stick to one guy if we could.”

While Cole and Glenn emphasized that there will be no quarterback controversy, Crum said he needs to play better to be the starting quarterback.

“We did enough in the running game where we should have won the game if I would have played better,” Crum said. “It’s a growing process and I think there is a lot to be learned from this game. The season is definitely not over. We have the whole season ahead of us.”

Crum said he didn’t get down on himself during the game. A little perturbed would best describe his emotions during and after the contest.

“I think I got frustrated because I knew we had opportunities that we left out there,” Crum said. “But I didn’t ever think we were out of the game until maybe at the very end. Next week, I just need to take care of the ball and find a way to win.”

Last week Crum said he had to keep his emotions on an even keel during an up-and-down game. After a game like he had against Air Force, it is just a matter of staying confident.

“You can’t win every game and I am certainly going to try to not get down on myself,” Crum said. “I definitely didn’t play very good today, but I can come back and have a great game next week, so that is what I am going to try to do.”

As it tuned out, it was a learning experience for Crum the hard way. What did he take from this game? He said it is all about taking advantage of situations.

“Early on in the game, we had some good opportunities to score that we didn’t take advantage of,” Crum said. “I think it is a learning experience as a whole when you get beat for the first time. You have to learn to come back. I think that is what we are going to do.”
Cole said that Crum will bounce back from the tough outing.

“It’s a hard lesson to learn, but hopefully he’ll learn from that and that won’t happen again," Cole said. “If something does go wrong, let’s cut it off and not let it lead to four, five, six other things that will happen in the game.”

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