Mountain West Football: Midseason Team Grades

Mountain West Football: Midseason Team Grades

Air Force

Mountain West Football: Midseason Team Grades

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Wyoming Cowboys

Sep 16, 2022; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; Wyoming Cowboys tight end Treyton Welch (81) celebrates a touchdown against the Air Force Falcons during the second quarter at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Offense: C- | Defense: B- | Special Teams: A | Meeting/Exceeding Expectations: B+

The Wyoming Cowboys have beaten the preseason projections with their first half performance, but are they for real? It’s hard to say, but it’s noteworthy that among the five teams in the Mountain West with a winning record right now, the Pokes are the only one with a negative point differential, being outscored by 21 total points in the first seven games.

At a minimum, it isn’t hard to argue that Wyoming hasn’t yet been consistent. For instance, quarterback Andrew Peasley strung together three September games in a row with a completion percentage above 60%, but he regressed in the following three contests and now has as many games with a completion rate under 50% this year. Titus Swen has been banged up and similarly inconsistent, averaging over five yards per carry in three of the team’s first four games and then averaging under four for three games in a row. The retooled offensive line has been okay but not great, though it may bode well for the future that youngsters like Emmanuel Pregnon and Nofoafia Tulafono haven’t looked overwhelmed as full-time starters.

That inconsistency has carried over to the defense, as well, though the task of replacing a wealth of starters has at least laid the foundation for that next great unit in Laramie. The young defensive line has been remarkably adept at getting after the quarterback, at least, with Oluwaseyi Omatosho, DeVonne Harris, and Braden Siders spearheading a team sack rate of 7.7% that ranks 26th in the country. Gavin Meyer has held his own, too, replacing star defensive tackle Cole Godbout on the interior.

Easton Gibbs, meanwhile, has taken up the mantle of holding down the middle of Jay Sawvel’s unit and put up a PFF run defense grade of 80.4, third-best in the Mountain West to date. Shae Suiaunoa has been a solid newcomer next to Gibbs at linebacker, while Wyatt Ekeler has been a pleasant surprise at strong safety. The Cowboys have been pushed by strong offenses, though, like Illinois, BYU, and San Jose State, which explains why they’re still slightly below the national average in terms of points allowed per drive (2.39, 76th), available yards percentage allowed (49.8%, 80th), and drive yards per opponent offensive play (5.93, 80th). The talent is there to buckle down and improve down the stretch, but they’ll have to survive the injury bug, as well.

Few such concerns exist on special teams, at least, where kicker John Hoyland has already established a career high by making 15-of-16 field goals and Clayton Stewart, after beating out Ralph Fawaz for the punting job, leads the conference with an average of 45.8 yards per punt. Additionally, Stewart has also landed ten punts inside the 20-yard line.

Head of the Class: John Hoyland, K

A kicker? Really? Given how often the Cowboys have turned to the veteran from Broomfield, Colorado, he’s passed just about every test with flying colors in the first half. His 93.8% field goal success rate includes 4-of-5 makes from 40 yards and beyond, including a career-best 55-yarder in the narrow win over Tulsa.

One Player Deserving of More Attention: Treyton Welch, TE

The numbers may not jump off the stat sheet, but Welch has a strong case as the Cowboys’ most reliable pass catcher. Only Hawaii’s Caleb Phillips has more receiving yards (154) by a Mountain West tight end, but Welch has made his limited target count since he’s also one of five players in the conference with at least four receiving touchdowns (not to mention he’s the only tight end with more than one, period).

Midseason Grades By Team

Air Force | Boise State | Colorado State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Nevada | New Mexico | San Diego State | San Jose State | UNLV | Utah State | Wyoming

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