Sunday, February 12, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Wyoming Cowboys

2016 was a season of recurrent dominance on one side (San Diego State), and a resurgence on the other (Wyoming). The strength of the MWC was once again on the Mountain Division side of the league, as both Boise State and Air Force finished with 10 wins after bowl season was over with, and New Mexico finished with 9 wins. Wyoming, finished with 8 after being one of the worst programs in America in recent seasons. The Cowboys made it to the MWC title game after holding off charges from both Boise State and New Mexico, and while the season could have finished better for the Cowboys, the surge in success in Laramie had to be recognized as a huge move forward for Craig Bohl and his Cowboy program. In the West, Hawaii showed signs of life under Nick Rolovich, but the rest of the division, not including San Diego State, tanked once again, that side of the league will have 3 new head coaches in 2017. Here is a look back at the season that was in 2016.

Wyoming Cowboys
8-6 (6-2)

2016 Schedule
Beat Northern Illinois 40-34
Lost to Nebraska 52-17
Beat UC-Davis 45-22
Lost to Eastern Michigan 27-24
Beat Colorado State 38-17
Beat Air Force 35-26
Beat Nevada 42-34
Beat Boise State 30-28
Beat Utah State 52-28
Lost to UNLV 69-66
Beat San Diego State 34-33
Lost to New Mexico 56-35
Lost to San Diego State 27-24 (MWC Title Game)
Lost to BYU 24-21 (Poinsettia Bowl)

MVP Offense: RB Brian Hill
Hill repeated his offensive dominance in 2016, as he managed to rush for 1860 yards on 349 carries, and also scored a staggering 22 times on the ground. He averaged 5.33 yards per carry, 24.93 carries per game, and 132.86 yards per game for the Cowboys. The Wyoming offense had a huge season in 2016 as a whole, averaging 35.9 yards per game, scoring 35 points or more 8 times. 
MVP Defense: DB Andrew Wingard, DB Marcus Epps, LB Lucas Wacha
The defense for Wyoming was not nearly as dependable as the offense despite the play of these three listed above. Wingard was a star, and an abused one at that, in the secondary. He led the team with 131 tackles, averaging 9.36 per game. He finished with 7.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 INTs. Epps finished second in tackles with 111, and collected 6 TFLs, 6 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 INTs, one of which was returned for a score. Wacha was seemingly the only player of note in the front seven actually being productive, as he finished with 108 tackles, 9 TFLs, and 3 sacks. As a while, the unit allowed 34.1 points per game, gave up 249.5 yards passing per game, and allowed a terrible  203.64 yards rushing per contest. Teams ran for 34 TDs against this unit. 
Others of Note: Josh Allen was solidm but not always great, as he managed to toss 15 INTs against his 28 TD passes. He finished with 3203 yards passing, yet completed just 56% of his passes. Senior receiver Tyler Gentry ended his career on an up note, as he posted a receiving line of 72-1326-14. He averaged 18.42 yards per reception, and 94.7 yards per game. 
Freshman LB Logan Wilson has a bright future, as he finished with 94 tackles in his debut season. Sophomore DL Kevin Prosser finished with 11 TFLs, but finished with just 6.5 sacks. Both numbers led the team. Not one member of the defense finished in double digits in PBUs, but the team did manage to force 16 fumbles in 14 games. 
Best Win: Air Force 35-26, Boise State 30-28, San Diego State 34-33
The Cowboys had 3 sold quality wins in conference play when they beat Air Force, who won 10 games, Boise State, who had dominated the Cowboys for years, and San Diego State, who the Cowboys split games with in 2016. This season was a major breakthrough for Craig Bohl's Cowboys, as they returned from a deep and dark abyss to win the Mountain Division.
Worst Loss: UNLV 69-66, New Mexico 56-35
In both cases, the defense, which was not great all season, completely imploded. UNLV was a tough, but young football team, but this was a game that the Cowboys should have been able to control from the outset. The loss to New Mexico was not a matter of being low quality, but it did prevent Wyoming from winning the division outright, causing a three way tie. 
2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/2 at Iowa, 9/9 Gardner-Webb, 9/16 Oregon, 9/30 Texas State
The Cowboys get three of their non con games at home in 2017, and one of those dates is against an Oregon team having to hit the rest button after firing Mark Helfrich and hiring Willie Taggart. THe Iowa game will have the Cowboys as dogs, but Iowa has a bad habit of losing early season games out of conference, so watch for an upset. Gardner-Webb and Texas State should be wins, both coming at home. 

No comments:

Post a Comment