Well now it is time for the "Adios Utah" section of the schedule to begin. In back to back weeks the Cowboys will face the Utah Utes and BYU Cougars. Each team is leaving the Mountain West Conference after the 2010-11 school year. First up is the #10/#11 Utah Utes who roll in to Laramie with a 5-0 record and their bags packed for the PAC 10 next year.
Ute fans are feeling disrespected as usual by getting little to no love in the polls this past weekend. After a massive beat down of Iowa State on the road the Utes were expecting to move up. They actually stayed put in one poll and moved down a spot in the other. This has Ute Nation fired up as they look for another big victory to gain some traction in the polls.
The Cowboys (2-4, 0-2) are playing their first road game in three weeks after road trips to Toledo and Fort Worth. It will be homecoming in Laramie so there will plenty of fans in War Memorial Stadium ready for the Pokes. This game will mean that Wyoming has played four top ten teams this season and five ranked opponents in total.
The good news for Wyoming is that starting QB Austyn Carta-Samuels will be back at the helm after missing one with an undisclosed injury. The Cowboys will need Carta-Samuels running the offense perfectly and a big step up from the defense. TCU was able to dominate on both sides of the ball with their 45-0 victory.
Utah is no slouch themselves and cut put up plenty of points on the board quickly and have scored 50+ in their last three games. Last year was a close and Utah won 22-10 in the debut of QB Jordan Wynn. After grabbing the starting spot last year Wynn has shown that he can lead the the team despite his youth. After dealing with injuries early in the season Wynn came back with a great game against Iowa State throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Terrance Cain did a great job filling in for Wynn and depth is a strength for the Utes.
The other weapons for Utah include Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata who both have over 240 yards rushing this season. The real game changer is the special teams play of the Utes. Shaky Smithson is a dangerous kick and punt returner and has scored on two punt returns this season. As a team Utah has returned three punts and one kickoff for a touchdown.
For in depth coverage of the Utah Utes check out SB Nation's Block U.
KEYS FOR WYOMING:
- Forget last week. This is a fresh start and the score starts at 0-0. The Cowboys need to focus on the fundamentals on both sides of the ball.
- Score in the fourth quarter. When you don't score ever in the final 25% of the game it doesn't bode well for a teams record. The Cowboys remain without a score in the final quarter this season.
- Blocking. The offensive line does most of the work when it comes to blocking but I'm actually talking about the half backs and wide receivers here. In the spread offense screen passes are a staple. For Wyoming they have been a constant loss of yards this year. The other receivers need to do a better job of picking up blocks in order to open up running lanes.
Who would win in real life?
The actual mascot for the Utes is actually a red tailed hawk. This makes the third winged opponent the Cowboys have faced this year. After two easy victories over a Thunderbird and a Falcon expect a similar result here.
Final Verdict: Expect a much closer game than last week. These two teams always play each other close. A parting victory over the Utes on Homecoming would be glorious but will be hard to accomplish.