Wyoming vs. Hawaii Preview: Keys To A Cowboys Win
How Wyoming can defeat Hawaii
Cowboys are looking for their first win.
WEEK 9: Wyoming Cowboys (0-1, 0-1 Mountain West) vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (1-0, 1-0 Mountain West)
WHEN: Friday, October 30th – 7:45 pm MT/6:45 pm PT
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, Wyoming
STREAM: Get a one-week trial of FuboTV.
RADIO: Wyoming Cowboys https://tunein.com/radio/Wyoming-Cowboys-(Football)-a38003/
ODDS (via ESPN): Wyoming -1.0
Wyoming will play its first home game of the season Friday night against Hawaii.
Following a tough loss to Nevada a week ago, the Cowboys will have to turn a few things around if they wish to win against a good Hawaii team.
Both the offense and defense took nearly three quarters to finally get into any sort of a rhythm, and Wyoming relied too heavily on the leg of freshman kicker, John Hoyland.
In order to not have a repeat of last week, and secure a home-opening win, three key things should happen.
Keys For A Wyoming Win
1. Don’t rely too heavily on the run
Last week Wyoming had most of its success, when they moved from their traditional run-first offense, and started taking more shots downfield.
Levi Williams has a big arm, Wyoming should take advantage of that by allowing him to throw the ball.
Hawaii has a good run defense, they kept Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers to just 79 yards on 18 carries. Relying on the run too heavily may play right into their strengths.
Xazavian Valladay has had success in the past in a run heavy offense, but if last week is any indication, the success finally came once they started moving the ball through the air.
2. Need to win in the trenches
Coming into this season the Wyoming offensive line was supposed to be one of the strongest parts of the team, last week tested this theory. The Cowboys had trouble finding an offensive rhythm for much of the game, this was largely due to the presence of multiple Nevada defenders in the backfield, rushing throws and stopping runs before they could really take off.
If Wyoming is to have any offensive success, the Cowboys need to win at the line of scrimmage. For much of the game last week they seemed lost, it wasn’t until they were able to stop the Wolf Pack rush that they saw any sustained offensive movement.
The second half of the game last week showed that the Cowboys linemen were able to perform like many thought they would, this week the goal will be to put that together for four quarters.
3. Pass coverage
Wyoming’s secondary gave up 420 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air last week, this can’t happen for the Cowboys to win against Hawaii.
Losing key defenders like Logan Wilson, Cassh Maluia and Alijah Halliburton from a very solid defense a year ago was, obviously, going to be tricky to replace, but add in numerous players that opted out of the season for coronavirus related concerns, and the defense was left in shambles.
The Cowboys need to minimize these losses, and not get beaten down field. Azizi Hearn was able to put up some impressive numbers, two passes deflected, and a would be interception. Wyoming will need more stellar play from Hearn, and the rest of the defensive back field, this Friday night.
It’s no mistake that it took a while for the Cowboys to get going last week in Reno. They didn’t seem to play with any sense of urgency and were lucky to even force overtime.
I think that the second half of last week’s game is a good indicator of what will be seen this week. Once the team was able to pull themselves together emotionally after watching their starting quarterback go down, for the third time in as many years, they really outperformed Nevada.
This is a really talented team, who was dealt a bad hand to start the season. I don’t see them repeating many of the same mistakes that they committed last week, coach Craig Bohl will make sure of that.
With that being said, I think that Friday’s game will be a hard-fought contest. Hawaii and Wyoming have an interesting rivalry, and with the Paniollo Trophy up for grabs anything could happen, but I see Wyoming continuing to build on the success of the second half last week, and come out on top.
Final score: Wyoming 31 Hawaii 28