Three Keys for a Wyoming victory vs Washington State
Can the Cowboys get a win over a Pac-12 team?
Cowboys looking to start 2-0
The Wyoming Cowboys return to Laramie to square off with the Washington State Cougars on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. The Cougars are starting their season at Wyoming while the Pokes, after a win at New Mexico State, enter 1-0.
WEEK 1: Wyoming Cowboys (1-0, 0-0 MW) vs Washington State Cougars (0-0, 0-0 Pac 12)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 1— 1:30 PM MT
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium (29,181); Laramie, WY
TV: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network – 1030 AM Casper, 1240 AM Cheyenne, 1290 AM Laramie and 1600 AM Denver
SERIES RECORD: 4-2 Washington State
PREVIOUS MEETING: Washington State 31, Wyoming 14 in 2015
The keys this week are nearly identical to the blueprint the Cowboys developed a week ago in their one-sided win at New Mexico State. The challenge will be executing against a much more talented Pac-12 opponent.
Wyoming Must Run Effectively
The run game that fans saw in Las Cruces last week was a breath of fresh air from what they put on the field a year ago. Nico Evans was the primary source of yardage with freshman Xazavian Valladay pitching in and the 215 lb. freshman Jevon Bigelow closing out the game in the 4th.
The offensive line had their way in the run game but they will need to prove it against a more talented Cougars team. Freshman QB Tyler Vander Waal will need to throw the ball more than he did last week but the run game will need to be a primary source of yardage for the Pokes.
Defensive Line Must Continue To Dominate
Senior safety Andrew Wingard entered the season as a preseason All-American but was hard to find for most of the night during the Cowboys Week 0 win. Wyoming finished with 6.5 tackles for loss including 3 sacks. Youhanna Ghaifan and the rest of the defensive line stopped the action from getting past the first level, Wingard only finished with two tackles.
While dominating performances will crush the senior captain’s chances of finishing as an All-American, they will likely improve the team’s chance of success. If Ghaifan, Carl (not Curtis) Granderson, and friends can live in Washington State’s backfield, Wyoming should finish with a big win and will earn a spot on the shortlist of Mountain West contenders.
Open Field Tackling
Against New Mexico State, Wyoming did a great job of tackling players as soon as they got the ball. While opportunities were limited due to a highly effective pass rush, LB/DB Tyler Hall was outstanding with 4 tackles. Washington State will be able to create more 1 on 1 situations with Cowboys defenders and Wyoming will need to be efficient tacklers if they want to stop the Cougars pass-heavy offense.