Opponent Spotlight: Wyoming

Eric Wolf

Record: 2-2 (0-0 MW)

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Northern Illinois: W 40-34 (3OT)

@Nebraska: L 17-52

UC Davis: W 45-22

@ Eastern Michigan: L 24-27

In their third season under head coach Craig Bohl, the Cowboys enter the CSU game with a 2-2 record. Last year, the Cowboys finished 2-10 (2-6 MW) and lost to CSU 26-7 in Laramie. In 2016, Wyoming returns 16 starters from last year’s team, with eight on defense and eight on offense.

“I’m expecting a competitive football game,” CSU head coach Mike Bobo said. “We know they are going to be ready. We know it is going to be a sixty-minute fight. Coach Bohl does a nice job. He coaches physical football teams that are going to play hard and play for sixty minutes and that’s what we expect.”

Offense:

Points per game: 31.5

Rushing: 181.8 yards per game

Passing: 216.7 yards per game

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Redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen heads the Wyoming offense as he returns from an injury suffered during week two last season that kept him out for the rest of the year.

Bobo called Allen athletic and a little bit fearless during Monday’s press conference and at 6-feet 5-inches 225 pounds, the quarterback brings a physical presence similar to that of Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner last week. Allen has shown the ability to beat defenses with his arm and his legs, rushing 32 times for 97 yards and two scores, while throwing for 866 yards and six touchdowns through four games.

The Wyoming offense runs heavily through preseason All-Mountain West first team running back in junior Brian Hill, who now sits 74 yards away from becoming Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher. Hill has run for 2,890 yards in his career, and for the season, he has carried the ball 97 times for 463 yards and six touchdowns.

Of the 6-foot 1-inch 220 pound running back, defensive coordinator Marty English said, “He is a talented running back. (He’s) big, strong, he gets his pad level down and he wants to run through you.”

On the outside, the Cowboys are led by 6-foot 2-inch 215 pound senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry. This past week, the Aurora, Colorado native was named to the Biletnikoff watch list, the award of which goes to the nation’s the top wide receiver. For the season, Gentry has caught 29 balls for 388 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Upfront, Wyoming returns three starters from last season’s team in junior tackle Ryan Cummings and sophomore tackle Zach Wallace, as well as senior guard Chase Roullier (28 career starts) who was tabbed as a first-team All-Mountain West offensive lineman heading into the season.

Defense:

Scoring defense: 33.8 points per game

Rushing yards allowed per game: 146

Passing yards allowed per game: 297.8

The Wyoming defense runs primarily through standout sophomore safeties Marcus Epps and Andrew Wingard. Epps currently sits second on the team in total tackles with 31. Against Eastern Michigan last week, the safety intercepted two passes and ran one of them back for a touchdown.

Wingard returns off a freshman All-American season in which he led the team and ranked 12th in the country with 122 total tackles. The preseason All-Mountain West selection has picked up right where he left off last season, as he leads the team in tackles with 41, to go along with one interception.

“Andrew Wingard just makes plays,” Bobo said of the sophomore. “I think he averages over ten tackles per game. He is very aggressive it the box. He does a great job of getting guys down.”

As a whole, the team has intercepted six passes on the season.

In front of Wingard and Epps, senior linebackers Lucas Wacha and D.J May control the middle for the Cowboys. Wacha (28) and May (25) currently rank third and fourth on the team in total tackles.

Wacha is an experienced middle linebacker making his 27th career start on Saturday. May (5-feet 11-inches 216 pounds), is a speedy linebacker who also specializes as the teams “nickel” cornerback. In evidence of his speed, the “strongside” linebacker is also the team’s featured kickoff returner.

The Cowboy’s front seven has recorded seven sacks on the year and five different players have at least one sack through the first four games.

The group is headlined by 6-foot 6-inch 244 pound sophomore defensive end, Carl Granderson. He currently leads the team in sacks with three and sits eighth on the team with 14 total tackles through the first four games.

Collegian sports reporter Eric Wolf can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eric_Wolf5