Saturday, September 5, 2009

It was a day of firsts for UW running game

Richard Anderson photos
At top, Wyoming running back Darius Terry earns some big yards against Weber State. At right, freshman running back Alvester Alexander and wide receiver Travis Burkhalter (3) celebrate after Alexander's 44-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

By Bobby Ablanalp
and Richard Anderson

Evidently, there is nothing too tough about being a Division I running back.

After all, freshman Alvester Alexander ran 44 yards for a touchdown on his first carry … ever.

Wyoming junior Darius Terry knows better. He too scored his first touchdown as Cowboy, but it took him a few of years of waiting and wishing just to get into the Wyoming lineup.

Alexander jump-started his collegiate career in impressive fashion.

“Coach has told me to run with my speed and I ran through the hole when I could and I was gone,” Alexander said. “It feels good as freshman to come in and get a touchdown in your first carry. I feel good about it.”

Terry scored the first two touchdowns of his career and ran for 99 yards in the 29-22 victory over the Weber State Wildcats Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. Alexander also gained 83 yards on just eight carries, to lift the Wyoming running game playing for the first time in four years without Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon.

On the day the Cowboys rushed for 246 yards, averaging 5.1 yards a carry.

“The offensive line made me an Al look real good today,” Terry said. “They just opened up the holes so good, we had no choice but to hit them.”

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was pleased with the overall effort of the running game, but feels there is still room for improvement.

“Darius had 102 (99) and Alvester had 83 (81). We can still get better,” Christensen said. “We ran the ball more physically than we did in camp, but we are capable of doing better. It was a positive day when you have two tailbacks combine for 180 yards, so that was a pretty good day.”

Physical running was Terry’s responsibility today, as he was handed the ball in two goal line situations, and both times he crossed the plane for his first career touchdowns.

“Oh man, it felt great,” Terry said of his touchdowns. “Three years I sat behind two of the best to ever come through here (Moore and Seldon) and to finally score, it was like a relief. Everything I worked for hard and it (his first touchdown) kind of gave me a little reward.”

For Alexander, it was a debut to remember, especially a first carry that he will never forget. Did his effort warrant him more playing time next Saturday against Texas?

“If it comes, it comes. I’m just going to play for the team. That is what I am doing,” Alexander said.

One thing is for sure, Alexander said that he and the Cowboys will work hard to improve their game, whether it is against Texas or UNLV. That’s what they did to get ready for Weber State, he said.

“If we get it right in practice, it just comes naturally in the game,” Alexander said.

Again, it is all about running a little stronger, north and south, Christensen said.

“We can finish more physical and finish runs better, and we can block heck of a lot better,” he said. “We need to improve there. I think we got pushed back a few times and I was disappointed with that. We need to become more physical up front.”

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