San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: BYU 24, Wyoming 21: 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017
BYU hung on to get by Wyoming in a fun – and rainy – 24-21 win in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Josh Allen giveth …
And Josh Allen giveth away to seal the win for BYU.
Brilliant at bringing Wyoming back into the game, he had the puck on his stick with a chance to pull off a game-winning/tying drive, but he made the one pass he couldn’t throw, giving away his second pick of the game, with Kai Nacua sealing the win for the Cougars.
Even with the second half problems, and even though Allen was excellent at times – finishing with 207 yards and Tanner Gentry catching seven passes for 113 yards and two scores – the BYU defense was outstanding, especially against the run.
Allen proved he’s going to be a major factor in the Mountain West and the Cowboys for the next few years, but even though his final throw turned out to be the key moment, the main man was …
Jamaal Williams brought the thump
The Wyoming running game was supposed to rock, but it was held to 155 yards. Williams blew that away on his own, ripping off 210 yards and a score – averaging over eight yards per carry – for a Cougar offense that couldn’t get the passing game going.
Williams might have been stopped late, and he might have lost a fumble, but he was powerful, cranked out the speed on the outside, and did everything to close out his great career with one of his better performances in the conditions, considering …
It rains in San Diego?
Yeah, and it was a big problem early with several sloppy plays, some big turnovers and miscues, and too many struggles for the Wyoming running game that relies more on flash and quickness in good conditions. Brian Hill wasn’t able to pound away in the muck, struggling to come up with anything big and finishing with 93 yards on the ground with a score.
But Williams didn’t have as many problems.
This was a game built for the BYU run defense, and it allowed the Cougar offensive line to blast away and get nasty, but in a game that should’ve been a bit more of a shootout, it ground down into the muck in the first half. Wyoming was able to wake up in the second half, but the turf and the rain turned into the story – or at least it was as much as the Williams performance.
What’s next for Wyoming in 2017?
This was the rebuilding year with the success kicking in, and now the expectations will be high to start doing more. The O revolved around Josh Allen, who showed just how good he could be late in the Poinsettia Bowl, but top target Tanner Gentry is gone. RB Brian Hill is all but gone to the NFL, and Shaun Wick is done, too, but the line welcomes back four starters. That one lost starter, though, is a killer with C Chase Roullier done.
The defense was still young and emerging, even with head coach Craig Bohl having a few years to work. Now the recruiting classes should start to kick in with nine underclassmen starters returning around CB Rico Gafford. In all, ten starters are back with only MLB Lucas Wacha done.
What’s next for BYU in 2017?
Jamaal Williams is gone, along with receivers Nick Kurtz, Mitchell Juergens, and a slew of other key parts, but Tanner Mangum is back at quarterback with the experience to make the new top targets better. On the plus side for the offense, the line should be a killer with four starters back.
The defense that was such a rock against the run loses three stars up front, but Kesni Tausinga is back on the nose to anchor a promising group – just enough depth returns to be okay. The back seven should be amazing with six starters back – with the caveat for BYU always being that Church missions could change things – only losing safety Kai Nacua.