What You Need To Know About The Wyoming Defense
– Eight starters return to a brutally nasty defense that took the ball away more than anyone in college football. The top six tacklers are back, starting with linebackers Logan Wilson and Cassh Maluia, who combined for 193 tackles as they cleaned just about everything up for a D that allowed just 335 yards and 17.5 points per game.
– The linebackers are good, but the secondary is even better. Andrew Wingard has been one of the best-tackling safeties in college football for the last three seasons, and now he’s back with the speedy Marcus Epps at the other main spot. These two are takeaway machines, combining for nine picks. The corners might be a little green, but they can move.
– It all stems from a pass rush that was dangerous all season long up front. Carl Granderson and his team-leading 8.5 sacks are back on the end, and Youhanna Ghaifan is growing into a NFL scouting favorite as an active tackle who can do a little of everything. Work it all around 310-pound Sidney Malauulu on the nose, and 2016 sack leader Kevin Prosser on the other side of Granderson, and look out.
Biggest Key To The Wyoming Defense
Make up for the offense’s mistakes. Wyoming was already overmatched against Iowa and Oregon without the defense having to pick up the slack, but the offense’s two giveaways in both of those losses didn’t help.
The D didn’t come up with a takeaway in the loss to Boise State, and the offense gave it up twice – 24-14 Broncos.
How the hell did UW lose to San Jose State? The two turnovers didn’t help, and the giveaways were a problem in the 13-7 loss to Fresno State.
On the year, Wyoming was 8-0 when the offense turned it over fewer than twice, 0-5 when it gave it up two times. To push this further, the program is 0-for-its-last-21 games when it turns the ball over two times or more, with the last win with multiple giveaways coming in the 2014 opener against Montana.
The offense will turn it over from time to time, and that means the D that led the nation in takeaways will have to do even more. No pressure.