Cowboy Offense Was Missing Against Utes

Coming into Saturday?s contest with Utah, the Wyoming Cowboys were not a successful football team. At 2-4 overall (0-3 in conference), Wyoming?s only victories came in wins over Utah State and Furman?hardly top-tier competition.

But the Cowboys could do one thing?air it out. The Cowboys came in averaging an MWC leading 296.2 pass yards, as well as 411 total yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Casey Bramlet ranked No. 8 in the nation in total offense.

All that changed over the weekend.

The Wyoming offense was out of sync throughout much of its 35-0 loss to Utah. Bramlet could not sustain a drive, the offense generated only eight first downs the entire game, and the long ball was nowhere to be found.

?The [Utah] d-line did a good job of mixing it up,? Bramlet said. ?I didn?t know where they were coming.?

Bramlet was sacked three times, but constant pressure resulted in short completions. He completed 15-of-29 passes for 80 yards, including one interception. For the game, the Cowboy offense generated 150 yards, 117 through the air. Wyoming?s leading rusher, Derek Armah, ran 11 times for 43 yards.

But those numbers don?t tell the story of the Utes? utter domination. Sixty-one Wyoming yards came in fourth quarter garbage time, when Utah was subbing freely. Through three quarters, Utah held Wyoming to 89 total yards, 80 through the air.

?[Utah] mixed coverages up well. They also brought the house a lot,? said wide receiver Ryan McGuffey, the most productive Cowboy of the afternoon, with 8 catches for only 41 yards.

The Wyoming defense played to the game plan through the first quarter, but the offense failed to jump on the U. Wyoming held the Ute running game in check, holding Utah scoreless through one quarter. But without offensive production for Wyoming, Utah?s patience turned into scores.

Cowboy coach Vic Koenning said his players may have been outmatched. ?There are as good of players on Utah as there are in the conference. There are a half-dozen future NFL players on that team.?

Even Utah coach Ron McBride was dumbfounded by his defense?s performance. ?I didn?t expect a shutout, especially against a team with this much firepower.

?Coming in, I thought they were going to move the ball, score some points. I thought our offense would have to control the tempo of the game.?

Instead, the U defense governed play. Wyoming has seen Mountain West defenses Colorado State, Air Force, New Mexico, even current No. 24 Texas A&M of the Big XII, but none of them held the Wyoming offensive juggernaut scoreless.

?The Utah Utes embarrassed our players and embarrassed our coaching,? Koenning said.

[email protected]