Wyoming vs. Illinois: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

Wyoming vs. Illinois: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

Mountain West Football

Wyoming vs. Illinois: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction


Wyoming vs. Illinois: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

The Wyoming Cowboys head to Champaign to face the Illini. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.

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A defensive showdown?

WEEK 0: Wyoming Cowboys vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

WHERE: Memorial Stadium; Champaign, Illinois

WHEN: Saturday, August 27, 2022, 2:00 PM MDT/1:00 PM PDT

WEATHER: Sunny, high of 85 degrees

TV: Big Ten Network

STREAMING: Get a free trial with FuboTV to stream this game.

RADIO: Cowboy Sports Radio Network

SERIES RECORD: This is the first meeting between the Cowboys and the Illini.

GAME NOTES (PDF): Illinois | Wyoming

ODDS: Illinois -10

SP+ PROJECTION: Illinois 28.6, Wyoming 16.8 

FEI PROJECTION: Illinois 22.7, Wyoming 21.9

PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Illlinois 28.68, Wyoming 14.46

Wyoming Football: First Look At The Illinois Fighting Illini

The Wyoming Cowboys open the season Saturday in Champaign, Illinois against the Fighting Illini out of the Big Ten. The Cowboys have historically struggled against teams from the Big Ten with only one previous win against a Big Ten team in school history, a road victory at Wisconsin back in 1986. This will also be only the 12th game in Wyoming history played in the month of August. The Cowboys are 6-5 in the month of August, with the most recent August game coming in 2019 when the Cowboys upset Missouri in Laramie.

Wyoming comes into the season with a lot of questions, especially after losing several key players to the transfer portal. Rest assured, though, the recipe for success for the Cowboys will be the same as it has been throughout the Craig Bohl era: A strong running game and a stout defense.

The Cowboys meet an Illinois team who will try to do the exact same thing. In a game like this on the road against a Power 5 opponent, the Cowboys will have their hands full, but here is how Wyoming can get back to Laramie with the win.

Three Keys to a Wyoming Victory

Control the line of scrimmage

As mentioned earlier, Wyoming and Illinois are two teams likely to have similar game plans. If the Cowboys want to win this game, it will come down to how well they can control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys have one of the best running backs in the conference returning in Titus Swen, who can be a game changer if he has performs well against the Illini. Last season, Wyoming had a 4-1 record in games where Swen had 50 or more rushing yards, and he averaged 5.9 yards per carry throughout the entire year.

With the increased load that comes with Xazavian Valladay’s transfer to Arizona State, Swen should have plenty of opportunities to make his presence felt. The Cowboys as a team averaged 211 yards per game on the ground while allowing 182 yards per game on the ground to opponents. Illinois counters this by rushing for an average of 173 yards per game and only allowing 151 yards.

However, Illinois returns a defense that was one of the best in the country last year and only allowed 22 points per game to their opponents. The Illini hope to make it hard for the Cowboys specifically with DT Keith Randolph and LB Tariq Barnes. Randolph, in particular, can make the day long for the Cowboys if he can clog the running lanes. 

Limit mistakes and turnovers

Week 0 games often come down to whoever can win the turnover battle and has the fewest penalties. Last year, Wyoming turned the ball over on average 1.1 times per game while forcing 1.4 turnovers per game. The Illini had almost the exact opposite split: turning the ball over 1.4 times per game while forcing one turnover per game. The Illini were penalized five times per game for an average of 53 yards per game, while the Cowboys averaged five penalties per game for 45 yards.

Passing game will be the X-factor

It is no secret that the Wyoming Cowboys are a run-first football team, but the Cowboy’s passing game over the past several years led by Sean Chambers and Levi Williams has been dismal at worst and inconsistent at best. The Cowboys hope to change that this year with a whole new quarterback room. The Cowboys brought in three new players this off-season, transfers Andrew Peasley and Evan Svoboda plus incoming freshman Caden Becker.

As of today, Peasley is projected as the starting quarterback but no one has been officially named as the starter, but Svoboda and Becker should be able to give Peasley a run for his money as the starter. Under a new quarterback, the Cowboys passing game should be interesting, and if the Cowboys can add an efficient aerial attack, they could have a special season coming.


This game is shaping up to be a low-scoring slugfest, and the winning team will be the one who dominates the time of possession and the line of scrimmage. I think the Cowboys sneak back to Laramie with the upset win and start the season 1-0.

Wyoming 24, Illinois 21


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