Friday, October 3, 2008

Something has to give for Cowboys, Lobos

Richard Anderson photo
Junior quarterback Karsten Sween looks for a receiver Saturday against Bowling Green.

By Richard Anderson

Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said he is blue in the face talking about it. Yet, he can’t avoid the subject.

With that said, Glenn talks about what turnovers have done to his team as they get ready for Saturday night‘s game at Albuquerque against New Mexico (7:30 p.m.).

The Cowboys’ 19 giveaways lead the nation. Their 11.2 points a game is 117th in the nation. The two have gone hand-in-hand this season.

“We’ve had five and six turnovers in the last two games and it has been brutal,“ Glenn said.
In three losses, 16 turnovers. In two wins, three turnovers.

“It was a way of life down the stretch last year and a reoccurring nightmare in the last two games,” Glenn said. “Anticipate getting something going on offense.”

The Cowboys are also one of the worst passing teams in the country, hence the switch back to last year’s starting quarterback, junior Karsten Sween. In last week’s 45-16 drubbing by Bowling Green, Sween had the best game of the four UW quarterbacks, completing 10 of 14 passes for 84 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but did lead the team on three scoring drives.

The reason Sween lost his starting job to sophomore Dax Crum is because of his knack of turning the ball over last season. He led the Mountain West Conference with 17 pass interceptions.

If Sween and the rest of the Cowboys can avoid those problems, Glenn said they will look like a different team out on the field.

“We actually aren’t that bad of a football team,” Glenn said.

Also in the lineup for the first time this season will be sophomore wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Stewart, who missed the first five games with a shoulder injury suffered in practice.

Stewart's debut and sticking with Sween has Glenn optimistic the Wyoming offense can get out of its funk.

“We’re looking forward to getting into a game where we can hang onto the ball and move the football on offense, get some points and protect the ball,” he said.

Mirror image?

Both teams have different quarterbacks other than their season-opening starters and both show a nice running attack with power and speed backs.

More importantly, both the Cowboys, 0-2, 1-4 and Lobos, 0-1, 2-3, are seeking their first MWC win.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Brad Gruner took over last week for injured starter Donovan Porterie and was adequate as the Lobos ran for 297 yards in the 35-24 win over New Mexico State.

Senior reserve back Paul Baker ran for 146 yards and senior Rodney Ferguson leads the league at 104 yards a game.

Wyoming senior Devin Moore is second in the conference in rushing at 101 yards a game and senior Wynel Seldon backs him up at 46 yards a game.

“They are guarding their quarterback position, it looks like, but when you rush for about 300 yards, you don’t have to guard him too good,” Glenn said. “They have a stable of wonderful running backs. Baker out-rushed their big guy, Rodney (Ferguson). They are going to settle in on that running game. I think one of the keys for us is to hold up in the running game and not let them get too much in the pass.”

And Glenn said there is no doubt the Cowboys are going to rely on their running game.

“(Ferguson and Moore) are the two top rushers in the league,” Glenn said. “Certainly their styles are different. You have to gang-tackle Ferguson and Baker is more like D-Mo. They give you a one-two punch and we have a little bit of a Rodney Ferguson is Wynel Seldon.”

After Saturday’s game, the Cowboys return home Oct. 11 for their Homecoming contest against Utah.

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