Kickoff: September 30th, 3:00 pm CST
Location: War Memorial Stadium
Radio: AM1300/AM930/89.9 FM
Series Record: Series Tied at 1-1
Betting Line: Wyoming -16, O/U: 48 1/2
Last Meeting: Texas State 42-21, 2013
This Saturday the Texas State Bobcats will travel to Laramie to take on an opponent that they have both faced with different squads. They met in 2011 and 2013, respectively splitting the series with one victory a piece and have one more game to play against each other in 2019 to conclude the matchup.
Everybody Hurts, Sometimes
Going into this Saturday’s game the big headline for both teams is injuries. During their 28-21 victory over Mountain West foe Hawai’i last weekend Wyoming lost starting right guard Kaden Jackson to a knee injury and on the defensive side the Cowboys lost defensive end Kevin Prosser and safety Marcus Epps, both of who are starters. Senior left guard Ryan Cummings missed the game against the Rainbow Warriors with a concussion and it has yet to be seen if he plays against Texas State.
As for the Bobcats they lost several key players in the I-35 showdown versus UTSA last Saturday. Defensive lineman Ishmael Davis tore his ACL and wide receiver Mason Hays fractured his fibula and had surgery on Tuesday as both will miss the remainder of 2017. Additionally two other receivers, Thurman Morbley and Dennis Johnson both separated their shoulders. This puts my prediction of Elijah King to reach 1,000 yards receiving easily achievable as he and the rest of the ailing receiving corp will get help from freshman Caleb Twyford and Jeremiah Haydel. On the defensive side Easy Anyama and Hal Vinson will return after Anyama missed the last two games and Vinson missed the UTSA game. Inclusively sophomore Jordan Mittie will move from defensive tackle to end to replace the departed Davis.
Stop Joshing Me
Going into the 2017 season Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has had all the hype. Like many other players given this type of attention the weight of the NFL draft has been like a big lead cloud over Laramie. An anomaly in college football in terms of being a quarterback from a G5 school commanding so much attention pro scouts will show up way before Wyoming games to watch him warm up. On some draft board analysts have Allen going as high as the number one overall pick. Indeed he has the tools to be successful on Sunday. 6’5”, 233 lbs., a rocket arm, amazing vision of the field and the ability to look for his first, second and third options all while maintaining his composure in the pocket.
But so far 2017 hasn’t been all it’s been cracked up to be. Wyoming stands currently at 2-2 with blowout losses to Iowa and Oregon and a close win against Hawai’i. Allen hasn’t looked his best throwing two picks against the Hawkeyes and going 18/43 with 156 yards in two combined games against the Ducks and Rainbow Warriors. Not the stats you’d expect from a possible number one overall pick.
But it’s not his talent, but rather the talent around him. Injuries and the fact that Wyoming doesn’t really command the most elite talent and going against two P5 squads loaded with talent and an improving Hawai’i program shouldn’t be an automatic red flag. Last year Allen threw five interceptions against Nebraska and lost against historically MAC bottom dweller Eastern Michigan (ouch) but he bounced back to throw 38 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards.
Thundercats vs. The Marlboro Men
Allen will have to face a defense that had a bad go of it against UTSA. The Bobcats were allowing 2.4 yards a carry before the Roadrunners blasted Texas State for 539 yards of total offense in which it seemed at times the defense made of brittle swiss cheese. Sorry State, but you brought back memories of my college days where the defense looked like that and the offense had to reel off 500-plus yards to win a game. Refreshingly though the defense is still looking very good, in fact the best it’s looked in years. Bryan London II and Gabe Loyd anchor the linebacking corp and even though I mention them in every article it’s for a reason. The pair nicknamed Loyd’s of London play every down like their playing in an at-large bowl game. With the above mentioned Easy Anymaya returning and breakout player Hal Vinson returning this will be the most formidable set of linebackers the Cowboys will face this year.
Quarterback Damien Williams continues to improve but the limited ability of the young offensive line forces Williams to make plays on the fly. Given the freshman qb’s on the roster Damien Williams physical talent and experience give the ‘Cats the best chance of winning. In fact Allen and Williams have identical stats with Williams having an edge in rushing yards and total touchdowns. It’s not what I was expecting but even though Williams isn’t on Mel Kiper’s draft list don’t count out this former SEC signal caller. The playcalling needs to be more aggressive to let this young man shine and give his young team the confidence to grow.
This is going to be a very interesting game. An established quarterback that has been taking the pressure of being a future millionaire in stride leading a team that the jury is still out on versus the youngest team in FBS play whose defense is very wily, and an offense who can only move down the field with the home run ball. Both teams garner injuries and these teams have a history with large gaps between them maintaining a completely different squad each game of the series.
If you are a fan of either team I think you’ll be surprised because something has to give. A team with talent looking to hit their stride and a team with talent looking for a breakout game. I think we’re going to be in store for a good game. Gimme the Bobcats with a 20-19 victory.