Richard Anderson photo
The Wyoming defense will look to bounce back Saturday against Utah.
By Richard Anderson
What made the previous two weeks so critical for the Wyoming Cowboys were the next two games -- Saturday at home against No. 13 Utah and Oct. 25 at TCU.
Three straight losses for the Cowboys (0-3, 2-4) hasn't helped the mindset for the future.
“It doesn’t get any easier. Suffice to say, we’re pretty disappointed at this point,“ Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said Tuesday during his weekly Mountain West Conference coaches’ teleconference. “We went down to New Mexico with a good plan and it just didn’t work out in any area of the game. Maybe we punted good … but that’s not good.”
The Wyoming offense, last in the country in scoring and near the bottom in most other offensive categories (passing and overall offense), will need its best game of the year to stay with the high-flying Utes.
But scoring just three points in three league games leaves Glenn and the Cowboys a bit staggered on where to start. Wyoming has been shut out by BYU (44-0) and New Mexico (24-0, scoring just one field goal against Air Force (23-3).
“It’s one thing to lose, but to lose without scoring, I think that is a double whammy,” Glenn said.
The Cowboys, despite all of their woes, have been decent on the ground behind seniors Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon. Utah’s defense, however, comes into the game tanked sixth in the country against the rush.
“Our coaches are searching high and low, looking at tape from the beginning of the season to last year, to try to find ways to see if there is an area where we can scratch a little bit if it itches," Glenn said of moving the football against the Utah defense. “Some teams have done a little better job of running the football than others and some have done a little better job of throwing the football than others. We have to pay particular attention to the ones who have had success. You always try to think, what do we do best? You have to blend a little bit together there.”
And then there is trying to stop the Utes, led by quarterback Brian Johnson (109 of 163 passing for 1,330 yards, 10 touchdowns, six interceptions) and the strong running tandem of Matt Asiata (373 yards, six TDs) and Darrell Mack (363 yards, three TDs).
The Cowboy defense had its worst game against the rush last week, giving up 317 yards against the Lobos, who were without leading rusher Rodney Ferguson.
“We gave up over 300 yards rushing and that was a disappointment,” Glenn said. “For a team to rush on us for that much yardage, it is just unacceptable.”
It all starts up front for the Utes, Glenn said, just like it does against BYU.
“They can pretty much dominate up front,” he said. “ You have a nice combination of run and pass, you have a couple of big backs, 220, 230, who can get downhill on you. They have it rolling good, their quarterback is the key to it all. He makes good choices and if seems like when he needs to go, they go.”
While Glenn said they have a lot of work to do in every phase of the game, he said they till have good kids, good coaches and good spirit.
“We have a lot of fight left in us, but we better be ready because we have a whale of a football team coming in with Utah this weekend,” he said.
The Cowboys also took a little beating at New Mexico physically, with junior wide receiver likely out with a shoulder injury and senior receiver Chris Johnson questionable with a hand injury.
Receiver Brandon Stewart, who played his first game last week because of a shoulder injury, re-aggravated the injury when he was slammed down hard out of bounds, but Glenn thinks he still might be able to go.
The good news? Redshirt offensive tackle Clayton Kirven appears ready to return to the lineup after missing a couple of games with a sprained ankle.
“He was been able to pick his game up and was working fast before he hurt his ankle a couple of weeks ago,“ Glenn said. “It will be good to have Clayton back.”