Pokes’ news & notes
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl said his doctor warned him he could develop cold sores when he's under stress.
After Saturday's wild escape job in DeKalb, Wyoming's head coach thinks he can already feel another one coming on.
"If you can see right here, I've been under quite a bit of stress," Bohl joked, showing his bottom lip. "So I told doc, I said, 'You know what? I don't know if I have a cardiac arrest, just let me go and bury me back in the cemetery in Nebraska."
Northern Illinois rattled off 33 points in the second half -- 27 unanswered -- to take a 43-42 lead with just 4:56 remaining. Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers, aided by a couple of big pick ups from Xazavian Valladay and a 33-yard grab by Isaiah Neyor, led the Cowboys on a 10-play, 75-yard drive to give the visitors a narrow 50-43 victory in DeKalb.
"I don't know if I've ever been through two back-to-back games that have ended the way they have," Bohl said, referring to the last-minute wins over NIU and Montana State in the first two weeks of the season. "I've coached for 38 years -- it's great to be 2-0."
After watching the film, Bohl had a few assessments of his team and what exactly happened:
* First off, Bohl gave plenty of credit to a young, revamped NIU squad that went 0-6 last year but knocked off Georgia Tech on the road in Week 1. "We knew going into the the ballgame that Northern Illinois was a much improved football team from the previous year," he said. "You know, their win over Georgia Tech was very impressive. What we encountered was a football team that, you know, it's got really good ability ... With those guys, there's a belief that they can win."
* "It was a game that had all kinds of turns to it," Bohl said. "Quite frankly, I don't know if I've ever been part of a game that has flipped as fast as what this game did. And Northern Illinois, credit to them. They believe that they could hang in there and fight, which they did." That's what Wyoming's head coach had to say after watching the Huskies score a touchdown on four straight drives to take the lead after the Cowboys held a commanding 42-16 lead in the third quarter.
* The momentum swing occurred when the Cowboys were unsuccessful on a 4th-and-1 call deep inside Huskies' territory. It took just four plays for the home team to go 86 yards. A UW turnover on the very next offensive snap led to another seven just one play later. Wyoming's defense allowed 129 rushing yards in the fourth quarter alone. Why? "We had some missed gapped assignments and their running back is an excellent runner," Bohl said of Harrison Waylee who finished with 179 rushing yards on 26 carries. "We've been able to contain him, but I think we got out of kilter a little bit. Now, did we lose our stinger a little bit? I would like to think that we didn't, but some parts maybe I think that we may have let our guard down a little bit. We've still got to mature as a football team. Maybe we felt like we had the game in the bag. Once they started making some plays, we lost a little bit of our, I guess competency, as far as doing our assignments."
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS:
* Three stars of the game
* Turning point, unsung hero and what's next for UW football
* 3 Quick takes: Isaiah Neyor is the real deal, folks
* Rants & Raves: Northern Illinois edition
* Bohl said the Cowboys not only escaped DeKalb with a win, they also came out of Week 2 injury free.
* Heading into the NIU game, Bohl said he wanted to see a lot more from his traditional run game than he saw in Week 1 against Montana State. That happened. Valladay led the way with 101 rushing yards on 21 carries. He also scored a touchdown and caught two passes for 50 yards. Wyoming finished with 191 yards on the ground, compared to just 151 against the Bobcats.
* "I thought Sean and the receivers made some phenomenal plays," Bohl said. "It was great to have Isaiah Neyor back at 100%. He certainly had an impact in the ball game." That's an understatement. The redshirt freshman receiver caught four balls for 87 yards and a pair of scores. He also added a rushing touchdown, snagged a two-point conversion and made the biggest play of the game on that Cowboys' final drive.
* Bohl knows his team needs to do a better job of hanging on to leads. Once again, he gave credit to NIU, but added that he has been proud of the way his team has clamped down -- even if it is as the very last moment.
* Had enough MAC-tion to last you a lifetime? Too bad. The league's defending champions are coming to Laramie this Saturday for a 2 p.m. showdown. Ball State is 1-1 after holding off Western Illinois at home on opening day and taking one on the chin last Saturday in Happy Valley. Penn State rolled to a 44-13 victory. Though the Cardinals return a whole host of experience from a season ago, Bohl knows it all starts under center. "I don't know if we've faced a quarterback who's as polished and as methodical," he said of BSU's Drew Plitt. "He's always putting the ball where it needs to be. They're a really good football team."
* Bohl also reiterated that the 28-point first-half outburst you saw from the Cowboys' offense Saturday -- that's what this is supposed to look like. "Yeah, I thought coach (Tim) Polasek and the staff have done a great job dialing up some things," he said. "We knew we had some playmakers out there, whether it be running backs or offensive line, it was man on man ... So, we certainly looked explosive. I thought we were unpredictable. Maybe the opponents' think that we're predictable, but I thought there was a great blend of run, pass and play action. Guys were making big plays and it was exciting to see."
* Stay tuned to 7220sports.com all week for all your Wyoming Cowboys football news