Scouting Report: Wyoming Cowboys
Central Michigan and Wyoming rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the country for turnovers forced during the regular season. They face off on Dec. 22 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Cowboys started the season losing to Power Five Conference schools Iowa and Oregon to open with a 1-2 record.
UW won six of the following seven games to compile a 7-3 record, but without star quarterback Josh Allen playing in the final two games due to injury, the Cowboys faltered, losing to Fresno State and San Jose State to end the season.
Here’s a look at how the Cowboys stack up statically outside of their wins and loss record.
Passing: Allen’s health is still in question, but CMU could possibly play Wyoming's backup quarterback if Allen is not ready to go.Wyoming averaged over 28 points per game during the winning stretch of its season. Without Allen in the final two games, the Cowboys only managed 24 total points. The junior quarterback has thrown 41 touchdowns and 4,912 yards during his college career. If Allen can’t go, junior quarterback Nick Smith would play. He’s thrown two touchdowns, two interceptions and 471 yards.
Rushing: The Cowboys have struggled to find a rhythm rushing all season. They rank last in the MWC with 107.8 yards per game and just 3.2 yards per attempt. The Cowboys leading rusher Trey Woods was recruited as a linebacker. He had 474 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games. Allen leads the team in rushing touchdowns with five. The Chippewas are eighth in the MAC in rushing defense allowing over 190 yards per game.
Receiving: UW finished ninth in receiving in the MWC. As a group, Wyoming's receiving core has snagged 184 passes for 15 touchdowns and 2,150 yards. Sophomore C.J. Johnson leads the team with six touchdown receptions on the year, but sophomore Austin Conway is the teams top-rated wideout with 58 receptions for 520 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Passing: Both team's defenses rank in the top-two in the country in turnovers forced. The Cowboys are tied for second in the nation in turnovers forced with 30, while Central Michigan tops the Football Bowl Subdivision with 31 turnovers, 19 of those being interceptions compared to the Cowboys 16. Rico Gafford and Andrew Wingard are tied for the team lead with four interceptions each. UW is allowing just over 160 yards per game through the air along with 10 scores.
Rushing: The Cowboys rank in the bottom half of the conference allowing over 2,000 yards on the season and 15 touchdowns against the run. In 12 games, UW’s opponents are 172.2 yards per game. Sophomore linebacker Logan Wilson leads the team in stopping the run, making 111 tackles (70 solo) on the season with eight tackles for a loss.
Sacks: UW ranks third in the MWC with 29 sacks on the season for a total of 169 yards lost. Defensive end Carl Granderson has 8.5 sacks for 44 yards lost on the season to lead the Cowboys pass rush, while also adding two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Kicking: Sophomore kicker Cooper Rothe is the only kicker to attempt a field goal or extra point for UW this season. He has made 12-of-15 field goal attempts with his longest made at 49 yards. His most used range is from 30-39 yards where he is 7-for-8. On point-after-attempts, Rothe is 32-of-33. He is tied for seventh in the conference in overall kicking.
Punting: While the Cowboys have attempted 81 punts on the season for the second-most in the conference, they are tenth in the conference in yards per punt, averaging 39.4 yards per punt. Freshman Tim Zaleski handles those duties, attempting every punt for the Cowboys this season compiling 3,188 total yards.
Punt returns: Conway is the teams leading punt returner with 21 attempts for 221 yards on the season. His longest return was 55 yards and he has yet to score a special teams touchdown in the 2017 season.