The Game Vitals
Game Time – 3:00 CT
Opponent – Wyoming Cowboys. War Memorial Stadium – Laramie, WY.
TV – None – Radio Only
Online Streaming – None – Radio Only
Spread – Wyoming – 18.5. Total = 47
— Offense = Pro-style, FB-TE, 2 WR’s.
— Defense = 4-3
Offensively, the Cowboys employ the same system that NDSU ran when Craig Bohl was there. Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen runs a pro-style, run oriented attack that loads up with multiple tight ends and fullbacks and tries to pound the ball as much as they can. If its working they will keep doing it.
The Cowboys have a two-headed monster at running back again this year. Brian Hill and Shaun Wick are both outstanding backs that compliment each other nicely and allow for a fresh back in the game at all times. Wick, a senior, has rushed for over 2,000 yards in his career. Hill, a true sophomore, rushed for over 750 yards last season. We fully expect the Cowboys to get these two the ball well over 40 times on Saturday.
At quarterback, transfer Cameron Coffman (Indiana) has won the camp-long QB battle over juco transfer Josh Allen. Coffman, 6’2-198, if more of a pocket passer who put up some decent numbers for the Hoosiers in his career, throwing for over 2,700 yards and 15 TD’s in 14 games. We see Coffman being a game-manager type vs. UND, being he will be called upon a few times to hit the big one over the top once the running game gets going.
Defensively, Wyoming uses the same 4-3 “Tampa 2” scheme that Bohl ran at NDSU. Last season they didn’t bring a whole lot of pressure, instead electing to sit back and react up out of their cover 2 look. Without a doubt, the strength of the defense is the defensive line. Led by all-conference pick #55 Eddie Yarborough, they do an excellent job at stopping the run game.
The weakness of the Cowboy defense will be the secondary. They are extremely young back there, choosing to go with multiple freshmen due to the poor play from the incumbents last season. This will be an area to
watch listen for on Saturday.
Wyoming gave up 33 pts/game last season, which is obviously not acceptable. The youth movement they have made is their answer to try and shore that up, eventually. UND will have some chances to try and take advantage of that youth.
North Dakota Keys to the Game
- Being it’s the first game of the year for both teams, there is going to be a long feeling out period. Wyoming is going to continue to try and establish their run game as long as they are still comfortable with the way the game is going. The UND front seven needs to build off last season’s success in stopping the run and win the line of scrimmage. If Wyoming gets their ground game going , UND is going to be in for a long day.
- We feel Wyoming is going to load up on offensive with tight ends and fullbacks and try to pound UND early. They have traded/flipped the tight ends/fullbacks in the past to create an unbalanced line and we see that happening again. Anything to try and get numbers on the edge and then hand it off to their stud RBs.
- We all know UND will want to establish the run. But, the passing game and Keaton Studsrud hitting on timely throws will be the difference in this one. The strength of the Wyoming defense is the front four. The weakness is the back four. Studsrud and his WR’s need to come up with timely third down connections and hit the big one when it’s dialed up.
- UND will be traveling with all six running backs on Saturday. Which one’s will actually play is still the big question. Our guess is there will be at least three of them carrying the ball but which three?
- If safeties Zach Arnell and Cole Reyes have solid day in the tackling department UND has a chance. There are going to be many times where Hill and Wick break through. If the UND safeties can cle
- Don’t give up the huge play on defense. Limiting their big runs will force Wyoming to have to work their way down the field. The inside/gap screen that they run so well is a killer to opposing defenses. UND needs to recognize it early, react up and tackle it for an average gain. If UND can make them snap it again they will always have a chance to make something happen defensively.
This could be a winnable FBS game for UND. Both programs are in their 2nd seasons under new head coaches, so growing pains are still in the mix on each side. Minimizing bad mistakes will be the key for both teams. Controlling the tempo of the game, sustaining drives, eliminating turnovers and having young, new faces step up will be key. UND QB Keaton Studsrud will be under the microscope in terms of seeing how he has progressed and matured since late last season. There are going to be very few surprises on Saturday as both staff’s know each other so well.
North Dakota 20