Wyoming giving it all away

By By Natalie Dicou and By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Either Xanax and Valium prescriptions are being handed out like Smarties on Halloween all over Wyoming, or Cowboy football fans are coping with the stress and frustration of losing games that they should be winning some other way.

The Cowboys are only 2-4, despite the fact that that they’ve outgained their opponents 350 to 235 yards per game. Another key stat that usually spells victory is first downs, and Wyoming has earned 125 first downs to its opponents’ 84.

So how has Wyoming lost four of its six games?

After a quick glance at the statistics, it seems like Wyoming should be destroying teams in routs.

Oh wait-there’s one more statistical category on the far right-hand side of the page: turnovers.

And that’s where the Cowboys have gone wrong this season. They can throw the ball (210 passing yards per game), and they can run the ball (140 rushing yards per game), but they just can’t hold onto the ball-a problem that has prevented their solid offensive numbers from adding up to very much in the win column.

The Cowboys have bungled away the ball 16 times this season in six games, including four times during the loss to Syracuse-a game in which Wyoming dominated the Orange in every other category.

Wyoming gained 512 yards to Syracuse’s meager 275 in the 40-34 double overtime loss. The Pokes obliterated the Orange in the passing game, completing 33 passes to Syracuse’s 11. And the first down differential? Also huge: 16-5 for Wyoming. But after two fumbles lost and two interceptions, the Cowboys squandered away what should have been a sure win.

Utah and Wyoming have been on opposite sides of the spectrum this season. Wyoming has battled all season in close games-five of its six contests have been decided by one touchdown or less. The Utes, on the other hand, have not been in a close game all year. Utah has either won by at least two touchdowns or lost by at least three.

After beating Utah State 38-7 in its season opener, Wyoming dropped four straight games. First, the Cowboys went on the road, losing to Virginia in overtime in a gut-wrenching 13-12 decision. The loss was followed by three straight games in which Wyoming was beat out by a measly touchdown.

In their third game of the season, the Cowboys lost to the WAC champion Boise State Broncos 17-10 on their home field, then fell to Air Force and Syracuse by seven and six points, respectively.

Wyoming finally got back on track last week as it picked up its first Mountain West Conference victory of the season to improve to 1-1 in the conference after narrowly beating New Mexico 14-10.

Despite three turnovers, the Cowboys pulled out the nail-biter on the road to ruin the Lobos’ homecoming festivities.

If there’s a positive for the Cowboys in all of this, it’s that they have experience in close games. They know what it’s like to feel their heart beating in their throats. But unless they can find a way to keep a firm grip on the pigskin, they’ll end up with their own homecoming ruined when Utah-which will probably not let three turnovers go unexploited-comes to town Saturday.

Megan Jolley

Wynel Seldon leads the Cowboys in rushing with 353 yards.