Idaho vs. Wyoming: Game Preview, Kick Time, Livestream, Radio Schedule, Prediction
The Cowboys look to make it three in a row while hosting FCS Idaho. Here’s how to find the ESPN3 livestream and what to watch for.
Wyoming looks to avoid a slow start against the Vandals.
WEEK 3: Idaho Vandals (1-1) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (2-0)
WHEN: Saturday, September 14 — 2:00 PM PT/3:00 PM MT
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, Wyoming (29,181)
RADIO: The University of Wyoming broadcast can be found in and around Cheyenne, Wyoming on KFSB, 1240 AM. It can also be found on 26 affiliate radio stations around the state. The Idaho broadcast can be found on the team’s website.
LAST WEEK: Wyoming used a strong defensive effort to leave Texas State with a 23-14 win. The Cowboys held the Bobcats scoreless in the second half. Idaho bounced back after a rough opening week loss to Penn State to beat Central Washington, 41-31.
SERIES RECORD: Wyoming has only one loss against Idaho in seven meetings, dating back to their first meeting in 1923. The Cowboys last defeated the Vandals in 2013 at home, 42-10.
WEBSITES: GoWyo.com, the official University of Wyoming athletics website | GoVandals.com, the official University of Idaho athletics website
GAME NOTES (PDF): Wyoming | Idaho
ODDS (via OddsShark): Wyoming -25
SP+ PROJECTION: Wyoming by 34 (98% win probability)
Wyoming is glad they got last week out of the way. After the big Week 1 upset over Missouri, the Cowboys trek to Texas State worried coach Craig Bohl, not sure how his young squad would respond to such a win. After a sluggish first half, the Cowboys righted the ship and now enter Saturday’s game against second-year FCS Idaho on a six-game win streak.
The Vandals from the Big Sky Conference are looking to build on the confidence from last week’s win where they racked up over 400 yards of offense. However, making the jump back up to an FBS opponent and traveling to War Memorial Stadium in Laramie will prove to be a challenge for the more than three-score underdog.
Here’s how the Cowboys can continue their success and still be at the top of one of the best win streaks in the nation by the end of the weekend.
Three Keys to a Wyoming Victory
1. Show the secondary really is the strength of the defense.
Despite having a +5 turnover margin, the secondary has given up a lot of yards to the first two passers they’ve faced. Kelly Bryant threw for over 400 yards in the season opener for Missouri and Texas State’s Gresch Jensen wasn’t too far behind at 396. After the first two games, the Cowboys sit at the bottom of NCAA, with two other Mountain West teams, in passing yards allowed.
Despite giving up passing yards, Wyoming’s secondary continue to make the plays that matter. In Week 1, it was Alijah Haliburton and CJ Coldon that produced the defensive turnovers that changed the momentum against the Tigers. The next week, Braden Smith had a nifty interception while Tyler Hall picked a pass for a long score that put the Cowboys up for good against the Bobcats.
While senior Antonio Hull missed last week and isn’t on the depth chart for this week due to personal reasons, the rest of the group can use this week to not just make the big plays, but create the stops needed to show their overall strength.
2. Decide whether the passing game exists or not.
At Texas State, redshirt freshman Sean Chambers didn’t attempt a pass until the fourth series. His first two attempts were incomplete. He finished the game connecting on eight passes for just over 100 yards. The Cowboys currently rank as the fourth worst passing offense in NCAA, averaging 97.5 yard per game. In 2018, Wyoming averaged 131 yards per game, but Chambers only started four of those games.
Chambers has established that he can run, with the win over the Bobcats being the first time in his short career that he hasn’t cracked 100 yards in a game that he completed. The sample size is small, but Saturday’s contest is a great chance to see if Chambers can break out to to be the passer Wyoming needs to continue to compete in the Mountain West.
In Monday’s weekly press conference, Bohl mentioned the passing game’s woes fell on Chambers’s shoulders with some errant throws and missed opportunities on both sides. With a 41% completion rate, it’s clear that the passing game will need to continue to improve.
The receiving core is made up of upperclassmen with something to prove as seniors Austin Conway and Raghib Ismail Jr. have shown glimpses of playmaking ability in their respective careers. Other x-factors like 6-foot-7 tight end Jackson Marcotte and Gunner Gentry have shown they can produce. Marcotte snagged a ball by reaching around a defender at Texas State and Gentry, the younger brother of former Wyoming standout Tanner Gentry, had the longest strike of the season at 44 yards.
3. Get another strong performance from the offensive line.
The Cowboys have not allowed a sack. According to Football Outsiders, only five other teams can claim that after two weeks of play. That’s after playing against an SEC team and playing in triple digit temperatures in Texas. The offensive line is also in the top ten nationally for the fewest amount of tackles for a loss allowed.
Junior tackle Alonzo Velazquez has been a big piece to that success. According to Pro Football Focus, Velazquez has a perfect efficiency rating when going back to pass block.
It will be important for the Cowboys to continue that strong play to support their mobile quarterback to become more comfortable and establish the pass.
Heading back to Laramie, the Cowboys look to control the tempo against the Vandals and avoid the needed comebacks that led them to the 2-0 start. The running game for Wyoming should be easy to establish with four viable options to carry the load. Chambers and sophomore running back Xazavian Valladay can create a cushion for the Wyoming offense to find more of an identity and balance moving forward in the season.
Wyoming 35, Idaho 10