SAN DIEGO – The choppy feet of Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers settled and launched the ball 50-plus yards down the field into the hands of a welcoming San Diego State safety, Luq Barcoo. It all but sealed the deal for the two Mountain West Conference foes, with the Aztecs pulling off the 26-22 comeback.
While the last pass of the game was a low-light for the Cowboys, it was only emblematic of the night for the visiting team. Here’s three reasons, including the passing game, Wyoming fell Saturday night:
1. When All You’ve Got is the Run
The start of the contest had the Aztecs reeling on defense, one of the best in the nation against the run, as the Cowboys were able to control the tempo with solid running from Chambers and Xazavian Valladay. Both busted a run a piece of over 20 yards that helped catapult Wyoming to the 14-3 lead.
The Cowboys had half of their 157 yards rushing on two series in the second quarter.
But in the second half the San Diego State defense adjusted and the predictability of the Wyoming run-only offense made the movement stop.
“It was kind of the next man up mentality. When we saw Big E (Abojei) go down we lost a big presence,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said post-game.
2. When All You’ve Got is the Run (Part 2)
Chambers had 14 attempts in the air, but only five passes for a 35 percent success rate. At least two passes were right on target and dropped while the freshman quarterback still couldn’t find a rhythm. It’s one of the weak spots of this Wyoming team that can’t seem to get fixed.
Chambers still had 49 yards on the ground and accounted for two of the scores. He even led Wyoming late on a seldom seen passing touchdown to Raghib Ismail Jr. from 19 yards out.
Wyoming is 3rd from last in the NCAA at 115 yards per game.
3. Secondary Still Struggling
Another spot that hurt the Cowboys wasn’t necessarily the big plays that it had given up in the secondary in previous games, but it was the constant onslaught of passes underneath that the Aztecs were able to take advantage of.
Ryan Agnew was a creative passer for the Aztecs as he completed 21-of-32. The senior made several plays from nothing including this one that was a rollout to the left that drew the defense in enough to leave his tight end, Daniel Bellinger, open in the end zone.
The Cowboys are still hovering around the bottom of the NCAA in passing yards allowed at 125th, with New Mexico the only other Mountain West team to be worse than them, sitting last.