Gameday: Here’ s how Oregon and Wyoming Stackup
It seems like a tough act to follow, but ask anyone from players to coaches about the turnover from a top-ten matchup to a game against Wyoming and the same answer resonates. No disrespect toward Wyoming, but the national exposure following this game won’t quite be comparable. Nevertheless, Oregon will conclude its non-conference schedule Saturday with an early morning kickoff at 11 a.m., before beginning Pac-12 play.
Marcus Mariota is proving to be everything that he was predicted to be early in the year. He now has a marquee win next to his name and he should continue to scorch the opposing defense with a combination of instinct and ability. Without a doubt.
What will be worth watching, however, is how the offensive line operates with the presumed addition of Tyrell Crosby. Crosby played well by all accounts last Saturday and we can assume he will get the first start of his career this Saturday, but it will still be something that coaches will most likely key on. Elsewhere, Oregon is simply more athletic than Wyoming’s defense and it will come down to how the game plan is executed.
The last time Wyoming’s head coach, Craig Bohl, lost a game was in November of 2011. The ex-North Dakota State head coach has a longer winning streak in charge of a program than Mark Helfrich has as a head coach, period. The three-time national champion at the FCS level has a different challenge though at Wyoming and against an Oregon defensive line that overmatches the Cowboys’ offensive front.
While at NDSU, Bohl was known for a powerful downhill rushing attack that included two running backs who ran for over 1,300 yards in 2013. He is now in the beginning stages of implementing that same type of system at Wyoming, but it will obviously come in stride. The offense has scored just 17 points per game in its first two contests of the season, but its leading rusher, Shaun Wick, is averaging nearly five yards per carry.
The way Wyoming’s offense works, Oregon’s defense could be in line for a heavily productive day. Considering how well they were able to stop the Spartans’ rushing attack in the second half, it would seem logical to think some things are starting to fall into place up front and in the trenches, which could lead to positive results on Saturday.
The linebacking corps, now including Joe Walker, was a huge bright spot last week and provided a level of play that hadn’t been seen in the week prior. Now with an opponent like Wyoming, it seems like everything as far as size and ability sways in their favor.
Wyoming allowed just 12 and 13 points respectively, in its first two games. However, those two defensive showings didn’t do anything to suggest that they were ready for this “blur-offense” they’ll find themselves up against this weekend. Wyoming has experience, but as Bohl noted in his teleconference Monday, the key to the game for the Cowboys’ defense will involve everyone on defense getting to the ball.
“I think it’s unrealistic to think that we’ll go into the game and have on point one-on-one tackles being made,” Bohl said. “We got to make sure our pursuit angles are set.”
Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JWISE25