With the Cowboys heading to the warm mesa from the frozen plains it may feel like a vacation for Wyoming players but this is a business trip. The Cowboys have plenty to prove in this game that kicks off the second half for each team. While many are saying this game is out of reach for the Cowboys; I certainly believe the Pokes will be competitive with the Aztecs.
Simply put Wyoming is a much better team then last year and believe it or not the Aztecs aren't as good as their 2010 team that finised 9-4. Last year the Pokes kept things close with San Diego State but lost 48-38 at home. Ronnie Hillman is a stud and he will certainly get his yards. There is no denying that fact. However the passing game is way weaker this year for the Aztecs and they are certainly giving up more yards and points on defense compared to 2010. Meanwhile the Pokes are scoring a ton more on offense and the defense is actually pretty similar to 2010 levels.
Let's take a closer look at the team comparisons after the jump.
It's obvious to see how greatly improved the Wyoming offense is so far this season. The Cowboy offense was fairly pathetic last year but still put up 38 points on a very solid Aztec defense. Now lets look at San Diego State are how they're numbers look compared to last year. Their offensive numbers are way down because Lindley lost his two deep threats. The young receivers are catching on but he is still completing just 50% of his passes on the year.
While the pass defense for the Aztecs is impressive it opens up a big opportunity for the Cowboy ground game. The Cowboys average nearly 200 yards rushing and the Aztecs allow 223 per game. The 3-3-5 is certainly susceptible to runs up the middle with just three linemen so expect Alvester Alexander and Ghaali Muhammad to have big days. Alexander has looked stronger each week and looks to have another big second half similar to 2010.
|San Diego State||2010||2011|
When throwing the ball Brett Smith certainly needs to be leary of Larry Parker who leads the Mountain West with five interceptions this year. Good thing the Pokes have plenty of weapons to throw to now. Parker will likely be covering Herron or McNeill so this could open up things for Dominic Rufran or Mazi Obgonna to have a big game.
Like I mentioned earlier Hillman will get his yards, the important thing is limiting the long runs. Don't let a 10 or 20 yard run turn into a 40 touchdown. Of course that is easier said then done. Missed tackles can doom the defense and Hillman needs to be brought down quickly.
I'm looking for a tough game between two talented teams and the Pokes coming out on top of this one. I have a feeling that special teams will have a big impact on this game like it did two years ago. Wyoming has started to insert some razzle dazzle into their offense and expect them to throw a few new wrinkles out there this time around.
Wyoming 35 San Diego State 32