Know Wyoming’s foe: Utah State Aggies
LARAMIE -- Remember when Utah State had an embarrassment of riches in the quarterback room prior to the 2022 season?
That isn't the case anymore.
Logan Bonner, the transfer from Arkansas State, who helped lead the Aggies to an improbable Mountain West title run last fall, saw his season -- and college career -- end after suffering a foot injury in a Week 4 loss to UNLV.
Hey, next man up, right?
That man was Cooper Legas, a junior who last year earned his first-career start in the LA Bowl. The Orem, Utah native completed 11-of-20 throws for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-13 win over Oregon State.
Nice back-up plan, right?
Legas appeared in five games for the Aggies this season. In a 17-13 victory over Colorado State last Saturday in Fort Collins, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound signal caller suffered a concussion in the second quarter.
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Luckily for Blake Anderson's squad, they signed former Wyoming QB Levi Williams in the offseason, right?
The reigning Famous Idaho Potato Bowl MVP had attempted just six passes all season before being inserted into the CSU game. The sophomore (Can you believe Williams is still listed as a sophomore?) connected on 2-of-9 passes for 12 yards. He also rushed the ball twice for 28 yards One of those was a 25-yard dash. It left him hobbled and eventually diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain.
Legas and Williams both headed to the visiting locker room together. Neither returned.
Anderson and Co. turned to true freshman, Bishop Davenport. The former three-star recruit from Spring High School in the Greater Houston Area completed just three throws on nine attempts for 41 yards against the Rams. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound speedster rolled up 29 yards on 11 carries. He also scored a touchdown in the win.
For his efforts, Davenport was named the Mountain West's Freshman of the Week.
Though nothing has been announced publicly yet, he's likely going to be under center Saturday when the Aggies pay a visit to War Memorial Stadium to take on Andrew Peasley and the Pokes.
Yes, that Peasley. The one who backed up Bonner in Logan last season.
Now leading the Cowboys' offense, Peasley is completing nearly 54% of his passes. He's thrown for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns while leading UW to a 4-3 record and a 2-1 mark in conference play.
Anderson has not announced who will be the starting QB in Laramie. During his weekly press conference Monday in Logan, USU's second-year head coach said Legas and Williams are "day-to-day."
Davenport, he said, hasn't received any reps in practice since camp. Anderson said that will definitely change this week.
"The moment was not too big for him," Anderson said. "He played in stadiums with 40-to-50,000 people, in high school. It's not something that took him back. With reps, you'd like to think we could put together a very sound game plan that utilizes his skillset.
"... There's a lot more we can do with him. He is very capable."
We will all find out together Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised on FS2.
Here are some other things you need to know about Wyoming's meeting with Utah State:
* Head coach: Blake Anderson (2rd year at UNM) 14-7 overall record
* Offensive coordinator: Anthony Tucker (2nd year); Defensive coordinator: Epharaim Banda (2nd year)
* Record in 2021: 11-3 overall, 6-2 in Mountain West play
* Offense in 2022: Average 19.9 ppg, 368.3 ypg (173.9 rush, 194.4 pass)
* Defense in 2022: Allow 31.7 ppg, 380.3 ypg (186.4 rush, 193.3 pass)
* Key Returners - Offense: Bishop Davenport (QB - 3-9, 41 yds; 11 rush, 29 yds, TD), Calvin Tyler Jr. (RB - 139 rush, 634 yds, TD), Robert Briggs (RB - 47 rush, 253 yds, TD), Brian Cobbs (WR - 39 catches, 497 yds, 4 TD), Terrell Vaughn (27 catches, 273 yds, 3 TD), Justin McGriff (WR - 19 catches, 301 yds, 3 TD)
* Key Returners - Defense: MJ Tafisi (LB - 66 tackles, sack, PBU), AJ Vongphachanh (LB - 61 tackles, sack, 2 PBU, FF), Hunter Reynolds (S - 46 tackles, 6 PBU, 2 INT), Ajani Carter (CB - 32 tackles, 2 PBU, INT, 2 FF), Daniel Grzesiak (DE - 22 tackles, 4 sacks, PBU, FF, FR), Hale Motu'apuaka (DT - 17 tackles, 2 sacks)
* Overview: We all grew accustomed to seeing the Aggies go five-wide and throw the ball all over the yard. They still do that, but it hasn't seemed quite so effortless this season. Even before all the issues under center, Utah State QB's are responsible for 13 interceptions through seven games. Turnovers have been a major issue for the defending champs. In fact, no other team in the nation -- out of 131 FBS teams -- gives the ball away as freely as the Aggies do. You can tack on five fumbles to all those picks. That's a grand total of 18 freebies. To make matters worse, USU has the lowest average time of possession in the Mountain West at just 28:17 per game. Anderson's squad is also drawing plenty of yellow hankies this fall. Sixty-five to be exact. Those flags have turned into minus-590 yards. That's an average of 84.3 per outing. For perspective sake, Wyoming is the second-least penalized team in the conference, drawing just 29 flags. The Aggies also rank 129th in the country in red-zone offense. They've made 19 trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line and scored just 12 times. That equates to eight touchdowns and four field goals.
* Thoughts on Utah State: "I mean, this is a big, big ball game. It's a meaningful game. Utah State, I think, has flipped the script. It's really turned into a good football team. You know, their win over Air Force was really impressive, and they had to come through a lot of adversity to beat Colorado State. I know they played three quarterbacks, which is always challenging. So, I think that's a testament to coach Anderson's leadership and their culture within their program. You know, they have some really talented players ... I thought Bishop Davenport really came in and did some exciting things. I know that coach Anderson was complimentary of his skill set. Even though he didn't have a lot of repetition, I think the background of the high school program he's from speaks well to his abilities. So he certainly played really well. They've got an excellent running game. Tyler and Biggs, both of them can move the ball on the ground. I think they're improved in that area from last year. Utah State always seems to have receivers and Cobbs is no different. I know he transferred in, but a big-play guy that has played with great effort. And they have another (6-foot-6) guy, No. 10, McGriff, who is a great target as well. You know, they're really a challenging defense ... Their whole front is disruptive and they're solid on the back end. So, it's no mistake -- they're trending up." - Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl
Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium
- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium