WYOMING FOOTBALL: UW Looks to Take Control of Mountain West Conference
Cowboys and Falcons face-off in Colorado Springs as conference front-runners
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Oct 14, 2023
Wyatt Wieland catches the football for a touchdown against No. 24 Fresno State that made the game 7-0. Wyoming beat Fresno 24-19 on October 7. (Courtesy photo from Wyoming Athletics)
By Kaycee Clark-Mellott
Special to the Wyoming Truth
The University Wyoming (UW) Cowboys (5-1, 2-0) head south to begin a two-game road trip as they take on the Air Force Falcons (5-0, 3-0) in Colorado Springs tonight. Both teams are just outside the Associated Press Top 25 and the American Football Coaches Association Poll.
But the Pokes and the Falcons sit at the top of the Mountain West Conference (MWC), setting the stage for another competitive game.
Following an upset victory against then-No. 24 Fresno State last weekend, the Cowboys are 5-1 for their best start since 1998.
“I do feel like [there’s] something special with this football team,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said, following the Cowboys’ impressive start to the season. “We felt like that for quite some time, the belief, resolve and encouraging one another. You can do a lot with that in college football in today’s age.”
Saturday night’s stars
The goal of the Wyoming defense is to slow down the triple option—or “the triple option on steroids,” as Bohl called it last year. It’s an offensive play style that is run heavy. Expect to see linebackers Easton Gibbs and Shae Suiaunoa crowding the line of scrimmage. With a run-focused attack, the UW defense will aim to fill the gaps opened by the Falcon’s offensive line.
On the opposite side of the ball, Wyoming’s rushing attack, led by Harrison Waylee, has been highly successful. Waylee was helped off the field in the fourth quarter last Saturday, and on Monday, Bohl announced he was “day-to-day” and hoped to have him available to face the Falcons. No matter who will be in the backfield with quarterback Andrew Peasley, Sam Scott or Jamari Ferrell, the run has been a center piece to the Cowboy offense. The team has totaled 150 rushing yards or a rushing touchdown against all teams except Fresno State.
For the Academy, quarterback Zac Larrier and fullback Emmanuel Michel have provided 762 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns — nearly half of the team’s rushing yards — this season. Watch for the ball to be in the hands of these Falcons, as they try to dominate the clock.
With UW’s offense including a potent rushing attack, especially with the potential return of Waylee, the Air Force defense’s key players are PJ Ramsey and Bo Richter, linebackers who lead the team in tackles for loss and sacks. Between Ramsey and Richter, they have totaled 6.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss.
What’s at stake?
There is more riding on this game than a win or loss. For Wyoming, Bohl said Monday that the game is a rivalry game, but he doesn’t know if the Air Force team feels the same way.
Repercussions of the game result will be felt past this week as well, with the victor most likely becoming ranked in at least one of the national polls—if not both. Additionally, the winner will be the front-runner in the MWC and favored to win the conference.
There have even been projections that either the Air Force or UW will be the selection for a New Year’s Six bowl game, featuring top teams in the country that don’t compete in the College Football Playoffs.
“For us to beat Fresno, we were going to need to peak,” Bohl said. “This [Air Force game] is going to be a big challenge, and it’s going to take all the gas we have in our tank.”
Watch the Cowboys visit the Falcons on Saturday on CBS Sports Network or listen on the Cowboy Sports Network. Game time is 5 p.m. MT.