Sunday, October 09, 2011

Looking forward to Wyoming


This time next week, I will have the Wyoming-UNLV game in my rearview. At the beginning of the season, it looked like a pretty clear, dominating win for Wyoming. The Cowboys started off 3-0, and then lost their next game against Nebraska despite putting up a good effort. They looked like a pretty reliable team in the Mountain West, if nothing else. Then there was this past weekend, when they got whitewashed by the Utah State Aggies in Logan. Not so good.
UNLV has been underwhelming all season. They were crushed by Wisconsin, Washington State, Nevada and most ignobly, Southern Utah. They did, however, win a home game against Hawaii. They still haven't allowed 60 points in a game, yet, like the Cowboys did in Logan yesterday.
The Cowboys are a perfect example of "running back by committee" They run for just less than 200 yards a game, and have 4 different backs who have reached that total on the season, Ghaali Muhammad, Alvester Alexander, Brandon Allen and quarterback Brett Smith, a Freshman who is improving with his arm as well. The Wyoming defense is the primary issue, as the team struggles with slowing down running games and allows too many big plays in passing attacks. If it stays true to form, this game will feature some high scoring.
The Runnin' Rebels are less successful running the ball, but more successful stopping the run than their counterparts in Laramie. They also scatter the ball around, with Tim Cornett, Bradley Randle and Dionz Bradford all get touches. Quarterback Caleb Herring is also a threat to scramble, but the Rebs' line is so porous that he will end up sacked more often than not. The passing defense has been atrocious for UNLV this season. Opponents have 200 more yards through the air than the Runnin' Rebels have total offense on the season.
I expect that, if Wyoming feels like they can open up their offense, they should have no problem winning their homecoming game against UNLV. It doesn't fit their typical scheme, but I think young Brett Smith is capable of leading the charge. The weather looks like it will be fine, despite it snowing there yesterday, so an airborne attack is totally viable. Prediction: Wyoming 49, UNLV 14

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