LARAMIE – Overall, Craig Bohl left Wyoming’s non-conference appetizer feeling satisfied.
The kicking game was strong, the defense was stingy and the offense delivered in the fourth quarter during the Cowboys’ 19-16 victory over Montana State last Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
The program’s bread and butter — a dominant running game — was missing from the menu, which left the head coach wanting more from an offensive line did not get much push against the FCS Bobcats.
UW finished with 151 net yards on 43 attempts (3.5 yards per).
“That was disappointing and that quite frankly surprised me,” Bohl said during his Monday press conference. “Because I thought, if anything, we would be able to go out and establish and dent and move the line of scrimmage. We’ve got some work to do there.”
Xazavian Valladay led the way with 18 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Sean Chambers ran 14 times for 51 yards.
UW enters this Saturday’s game at Northern Illinois ranked 68th in the FBS in rushing offense.
Bohl is optimistic the offensive line will make significant strides during the team’s first road test of the season.
“We’re trying to go through methodically why we were a little tentative, why we were falling off blocks, why we weren’t firing off the line of scrimmage,” Bohl said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in that group.”
The Cowboys came out of the Montana State game without suffering any significant injuries.
That’s welcome news for a team that lost its starting quarterback (Chambers) three plays into an injury-plagued 2020 season.
Strong safety Rome Weber, who did not dress for the Montana State game, will be making the trip to DeKalb, Ill.
“Rome will be back on the sidelines,” Bohl said when asked about Weber’s status. “He was not here (against Montana State). I don’t want to get into the specifics on why that is. That’s something internally handled.”
Ralph Fawaz placed five of his six punts inside Montana State’s 20-yard line, and placekicker John Hoyland picked up where he left off as a freshman all-American in 2020 by making two field goals.
However, there has been concern in the kicking game at long snapper since Read Sunn was injured at the start of fall camp. Teagan Liufau’s low snap led to a botched extra point attempt in the opener. True freshman Tommy Wroblewski snapped on the final PAT, which was successful.
“We’ve got to get that shored up because that really is an Achilles heel we have right now,” Bohl said. “I always say snappers are like the fire department, you never know they’re around until all of a sudden something goes awry and they’re not there. We’ve got to get that cleaned up. We’ve got a short week to do that, but we’re confident we can get that done.”
Bohl and defensive ends coach Marty English, a former long snapper during his playing days at Northern Colorado, will oversee the clean-up.
Treyton’s top play
Due to his viewing angle from the sideline, Bohl didn’t realize until after watching the game film that Treyton Welch made his game-winning touchdown reception with one hand.
The tight end’s left arm was unavailable because a Montana State cornerback had grabbed a hold of it before Chambers’ 21-yard strike arrived with 47 seconds left.
“It certainly was a remarkable catch,” Bohl said. “He made it with one hand, not because he wanted to make it with one hand, but because he needed to make it with one hand. I’ll leave it at that so I don’t get myself any demerits.”