The Wyoming Cowboys are jumping head first into the 2013 season when they go on the road to face the No. 18 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. This game wraps up a home-and-home between the two schools, that is right Wyoming was able to get Nebraska to come to War Memorial Stadium back in 2011.
This game seems primed for a Nebraska blowout, but Wyoming has been able to give really good teams some trouble, at least for a half. They played extremely well for a half against Texas a few years ago, and hung around with Nebraska back in 2011. In that 2011 game Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith was a true freshman and had a decent outing by completing 17 of 31 for 161 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
A more experienced Smith will be heading into the hostile crowed in Lincoln, Neb., and the Cowboys will be going up against a record crowd since Memorial Stadium was recently expansion. Wyoming is a monstrous 30-point underdog so they will have something to prove.
One thing that we somewhat know about Wyoming so far is that Smith is a very good quarterback and so is wide receiver Robert Herron. That combination could cause some trouble for the Nebraska secondary. The passing game in general is a strength for Wyoming since they return five of their top six pass catchers from a year ago. However, the offensive returns just two starters from last years team.
The Wyoming front needs to protect Smith if the Cowboys offense is going to have a chance. Smith is a mobile quarterback so he can make some plays with his feet by moving the topic or just taking off and run. The running game is just as a concern as the offensive line. D.J. May is out for the year and Brandon Miller looks to be the starter with Shaun Wick expected to get a lot of carries. Miller has bounced around from running back to wide receiver over the past few years, and Wick is a sophomore who had just 92 carries in 2012.
If the running game can make some type of noise and keep the Nebraska defense honest then that should help out the passing game and allow Wyoming to put up some points.
The Wyoming defense will face a mobile Nebraska quarterback in Taylor Martinez. The Cowboys defense in 2012 was not good at all, and that is being nice. They gave up 469 yards which was worst in the Mountain West and 108th in the country. So... good luck with that Nebraska offense.
The Wyoming defense actually should be a bit better and they do have former 2011 freshman All-American in the secondary in Blair Burns. He is their best defender and should be able to handle any receiver that Nebraska throws on the field.
The front seven of the Wyoming defense is making the change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 to get some more athletes on the field. Also, the Cowboys defense are implementing some junior college guys on defense (and offense too).
The concern for Wyoming's defense is to stop the run. There will be plenty of designed runs for Martinez and then there is running back Ameer Abdullah who had 1,287 yards and 11 touchdowns. Wyoming must slow down that passing attack, or at least try to, if they want to have a shot in this game. If Wyoming can make Martinez pass then they should have a chance to make it a closer game.
Wyoming probably does not have enough to upset Nebraska, but they should easily cover the 30-point spread.