Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wyoming Cowboys dominate three quarters, Take second quarter off

As you may remember, and as I showed in the highlight video I shared last night, the Wyoming Cowboys defeated the UNLV Rebels by a score of 41-14. As you might have heard, I was there. Here are some thoughts.

- First, there weren't many cowboy hats. Lots of Cowboys hats, but not many cowboy hats.
- UNLV's coverage early was atrocious, just like I expected. The problem was that the Cowboys are a running team, traditionally, and they got away from their game, trying to exploit the porous secondary. It didn't work out too terribly well. But UNLV is pretty bad, so even though Wyoming was slowed, UNLV wasn't able to find their way all the way back in. When Quarterback Brett Smith started to run, that's when the Cowboys really started to open up their lead. (He ended up with 59 yards on the ground, but it felt like a lot more)
- Special teams were huge in this game. The two biggest momentum shifts were on punts to Wyoming. The first was a second quarter punt that Wyoming muffed, only to have UNLV recover. They promptly scored 2 touchdowns. After the half, the teams were playing to a draw, more or less, until a 3rd quarter punt, which was returned all the way by Wyoming. I think, more than the score, the block I alluded to in the video yesterday changed the tone. Wyoming was more aggressive on defense and grittier on offense, eventually salting the game away.
- The Cowboys opened up the playbook in the 4th quarter. Chris McNeill who ran back the punt in the 3rd quarter also threw a touchdown to Brett Smith (the quarterback), and then on another reverse, threw the two point conversion. When one thinks of Wyoming, one does not typically think "razzle dazzle"
- Due to some strong winds, punters and kickers went out of their way to keep balls low to to the ground, taking angles on kicks, squibbing, etc to get it downfield but to allay the chance of a return. It was very strange.
- The Rebels started backup Sean Reilly, to give him a chance, I assume. He looked lost out there, but his receivers were no help. I assume the terrible receivers (and mediocre line) are why Caleb Herring's statistics were so down. Herring came in in the 4th and looked energetic and athletic, giving the Rebels a new life late in the game. He was afflicted by the same problems though, namely that his receivers were very, very bad. Herring should be in starting next week for UNLV.
- Some thoughts on the experience of the game... The Cowboys run out to "Cowboy" by Bon Jovi. At half time, the band did a Billy Joel themed set. The 80s are just now arriving in Laramie.
- After every score, at the beginning of the game, and after the end of the game, Wyoming fires off a cannon. A very, tremendously loud cannon that is fired by National Guardsmen. They are defending the no fly zone around the stadium, I have to believe.
- The food at the game was decidedly faux Mexican. They called it a "Jackalope taco", but really, it was a homemade, Norwegian style taco (i.e. no spice). I was picking jackalope taco out of my beard through the first quarter.
- The girl who sold me my Wyoming sweatshirt threatened to shoot me with a rubber band. I think she was flirting, but I can't be sure. Wyoming is weird.

OK, enough out of me, how about.... pictures! My camera/phone had a low battery through most of the game, so I stopped taking pictures soon after kick off. Nevertheless. here are the pregame pictures.
 The stadium is really high

 A look into the tailgate.

 I was able to get really close to the field. That was fun. I also got there really early.

Mountains to the west of Laramie. Please enjoy the  Mountain West flags off to the side. This was taken from a ramp at the stadium

Several pictures from my seats. Not bad.

 Look! A W! They're fight song is "Cowboy Joe" if you are ever on Jeopardy or something.

And now, last but not least, it's time for kickoff!

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