Wyoming (3-1) at Texas State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 28, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobcat Stadium (30,000) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: Longhorn Network. Home Record: Wyoming 2-0, TSU 1-0. Away Record: Wyoming 1-1, TSU 1-1. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, TSU 0-0. Conference Record: Wyoming 1-0, TSU 0-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Coming off their top offensive performance in more than 15 years, the Wyoming Cowboys take a break from conference play this coming weekend and hit the road to challenge the Texas State Bobcats.
The Cowboys, who were barely beaten by 18th-ranked Nebraska in the season opener back on Aug. 31, have rebounded with three consecutive victories. The team has scored at least 34 points in every game thus far and lit up the scoreboard for 56 in the 33-point triumph over Air Force in the Mountain West Conference opener last weekend.
The victory for the Pokes means the team has now won back-to-back games in Colorado Springs, having defeated the Falcons back in 2011 (25-18), for the first time in a quarter-century.
As for the Bobcats, now members of the Sun Belt Conference, they suffered their first setback of the season last weekend with a 33-7 defeat at the hands of Texas Tech. Texas State, which last year competed in the Western Athletic Conference, won the first two games of this campaign with decisions over Southern Miss and Prairie View A&M.
Wyoming won the only previous meeting between these two teams by a score of 45-10 two seasons ago.
Quarterback Brett Smith was unstoppable in the conference opener against Air Force last Saturday, generating a personal-best and school-record 511 yards of total offense. Not only was that total the fourth-best single-game effort in MWC history, it was the second-highest effort this year behind only Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel's 562 yards against the Crimson Tide.
Smith completed a personal-high of 85.4 percent of his passes (35-of-41) for 373 yards and four touchdowns, his pass efficiency rating topping out at a staggering 193.98.
Defensively, the Cowboys were paced by Jordan Stanton and Lucas Wacha who both tallied 10 tackles, although Air Force did compile a hefty 346 rushing yards overall. Because of the ground attack set forth by the Falcons, Wyoming is now giving up 231.3 ypg on the ground, ranking the unit 110th in the country after four games.
Luckily, Smith and the offense are more than capable of offsetting that lackluster run defense with some impressive numbers on the other side of the ball. Smith ranks second in the nation with 1,315 passing yards and is also second in terms of total offense per contest with 403.5 ypg.
Taking advantage of Smith's accurate throws is Dominic Rufran who has reeled in 33 balls for 385 yards and six touchdowns already. Robert Herron has 10 fewer receptions and only two scores, yet he is averaging 15.5 yards per catch to help spread the field.
On the ground, Shaun Wick is getting the job done with 353 yards and five TDs, although Smith is not afraid to bring the ball down and run as well, generating 8.3 yards per attempt and a total of 299 net yards.
Texas State was overwhelmed by the Red Raiders in Lubbock last weekend, turning the ball over on three consecutive possessions in the first half, resulting in the team being held scoreless until the opening minutes of the third quarter. Robert Lowe accounted for the squad's only points as he found the end zone on a 49-yard run.
Lowe finished the outing with a game-high 103 rushing yards, although the team came up with just 107 net rushing yards on 37 attempts. Quarterbacks Tyler Arndt, Jordan Moore and Duke DeLancellotti combined to hit 15-of-31 passes for 133 yards, the former also tossing one interception and being sacked twice.
Defensively, the Bobcats held the hosts to only 118 yards on the ground, but at the same time surrendered 434 yards and two touchdowns through the air. On a positive note, TSU did pick off three passes and force the Red Raiders to kick four field goals.
At this stage, the Bobcats have one of the better run defenses in the country, giving up just 62.0 ypg (fourth nationally), but a lot of that probably has to do with the fact that the pass defense is 123rd with a whopping 331.0 ypg surrendered.
Because the pass defense for the Bobcats has been so weak, it has been tough for the offense to keep up, averaging just 285.0 ypg to rank 116th. However, the squad is trying to keep things from getting out of hand by coming up with a plus-2.0 turnovers per outing, tied for third in the country.
With the secondary for the Bobcats being so vulnerable, Smith will more than likely have a field day going over the top as he leads the Cowboys to yet another win this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 41, Texas State 23
09/25 10:30:48 ET