The Cowboys opened the season with losses to North Dakota and Eastern Michigan, and then played respectable games against Washington State (lost 31-14), New Mexico (lost 38-28), Appalachian State (lost 31-13) and Air Force (lost 31-17) before securing their first victory last week (28-21) over Nevada.
(BroncoCountry video by Rod Couch)
Sophomore running back Brian Hill Brian Hill is #4 in the country in rushing with 985 yards, and looks to test a Bronco defense that surrendered the most rushing yards of the season last week to Utah State. At 6.31 yards per carry, Hill ranks 24th in the NCAA, and Bronco defensive coordinator Marcel Yates says it is Hill's downhill running that makes him so successful.
Senior quarterback Cameron Coffman, who transferred to Wyoming from Indiana after the 2013 season, is this week's Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week after he helped the Cowboys down Nevada. Coffman completed 18-20 (90.0%) for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Coffman compiled a single-game quarterback rating of 228.96 in the win.
Coffman leads the Mountain West in nearly every passing category, including passing efficiency (153.8 rating), completion percentage (66.1%), passing yards (250.7 per game) and passing TD's (14), and he leads the conference in total offense (237.2 yards per game) and points responsible for (14.0 per game). Coffman ranks 18th nationally in passing touchdowns and is #21 in completion percentage.
(BroncoCountry Video by Rod Couch)
Wyoming features a tall lineup of receivers, and the loss of star Boise State cornerback Donte Deayon to injury makes the challenge greater for the Bronco defense. Yates hasn't said who will start in Deayon's absence, but he expects both Tyler Horton and Raymond Ford to play.
Tanner Gentry (6-2, 198) is averaging 18.3 yards per reception (37 catches for 678 yards and 4 touchdowns), and is on the Watch List for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate wide receiver.
As strong as the Cowboy offense is, the key to the game will be if the Wyoming defense can continue the exploitation of Boise State's soft offensive line exposed by Utah State last week. The fired-up, aggressive Aggie defense harassed Bronco quarterback Brett Rypien and the stable of Bronco running backs, penetrating the Boise State backfield time and time again in a 52-26 win in Logan.
That Bronco unit that allowed 11 tackles-for-loss against the Aggies looked bad enough on the surface; the performance in hindsight looks worse in light of last night's game between Utah State and San Diego State. The Aztecs put up 336 yards of rushing against Utah State and allowed just four tackles-for-loss.
(BroncoCountry video by Rod Couch)
Wyoming showed signs of improvement in the win over the Wolf Pack. The Cowboys held Nevada to 118 rushing yards, which was over 100 yards under the Wolf Pack's rushing average of 222.3 yards per game. UW's group of young players has shown considerable improvement over the course of the season, and they aren't the team they were in the opening two games, as Bronco offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz notes in the video above.
The Pokes are led on defense by end Eddie Yarbrough, junior linebacker Lucas Wacha and freshman safety Andrew Wingard. Yarbrough leads Wyoming with 3 sacks and 5 tackles-for-loss, while Wacha and Wingard are UW's two top tacklers, with 60 and 52, respectively.
Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. in Albertsons Stadium.