The Wyoming Cowboys (4-5) travel to San Diego to play the Aztecs (4-5) this Saturday at 7:00PM PST. Here is a preview of this Mountain West matchup along with a prediction.
When the Cowboys run:
Wyoming has two solid running backs in Brandon Stewart and Alvester Alexander but in the last few weeks the Cowboys have not made a commitment to the running game. The line has not been blocking well of late but Wyoming will need to run the ball if they are to win in SD for the first time since 1995.
The Aztecs don't have a solid run defense (163.8 YPG, 7th in the MWC) but Wyoming hasn't shown the ability or willingness to run the ball in the last month either.
When the Cowboys pass:
Wyoming's new spread offense has struggled to throw the ball all year (174 YPG, 8th in MWC) with a true freshman QB (Austyn Carta-Samuels) and a group of unreliable WR's outside of JR David Leonard. SDSU's pass defense ranks fourth in the MWC at just over 200 yards per game so I wouldn't expect Wyoming to be able to make many plays in the passing game.
When the Aztecs run:
SDSU hasn't shown any ability to run the ball this year. They rank last in the MWC totaling a meager 624 yards for the year with an average yards per rush of 2.6. OUCH! Wyoming's run defense is nothing special but the linebackers and safety Chris Prosinsky do a good job generally in run support.
When the Aztecs pass:
Although WR Vincent Brown is out for this game the Aztecs will have a distinct advantage when they put the ball in the air. Wyoming has struggled all year against the pass and coming off a 52-0 loss to BYU and Max Hall, Ryan Lindley second in the MWC in passing (256 YPG) should have a good night.
Wyoming and SDSU rank right next to each other in the MWC rankings in every major special teams statistic. This truly is a dead draw and whoever can make the most plays on special teams will probably have the advantage in winning this game.
Both teams have first year head coaches in Dave Christensen and Brady Hoke who have done a little better than expected. SDSU does have an edge though in the coaching department as long time New Mexico head coach Rocky Long is the Aztecs' defensive coordinator who in the past has given Wyoming fits.
This has a chance to be a highly competitive game where either team could win if things go the right way. Whatever team comes out and plays with the most hunger will win as both teams are fighting to get to six wins in order to achieve bowl eligibility. In the end I think Wyoming’s inability to throw the ball and stop the pass will hurt them and the Cowboys will fall on the road.
Aztecs 27 Cowboys 13