News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
UW QB Smith doubtful for Cal Poly game
Sep 12, 2012 - The Associated Press
CHEYENNE -- Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith, who was carted off the field last weekend in a game against Toledo, remains doubtful for this Saturday's game against Cal Poly, coach Dave Christensen said Tuesday.
"It's a day-to-day deal, it's doubtful for this week," Christensen said.
Smith was strapped to a backboard and wheeled off on a stretcher to the local hospital in the fourth quarter during Saturday's 34-31 loss to Toledo in Laramie.
The exact nature of the injury wasn't disclosed but it appeared Smith to suffered a head injury while being tackled on the sideline by two Toledo defenders. As one Toledo player was pulling Smith down from behind, another came in and hit him in the head, sending Smith hard into the ground.
Smith was last season's Mountain West Conference freshman of the year, setting a conference record for total offense by a freshman with 3,332 yards in 2011.
UW's offense was finally looking like the one fans expected when Christensen was hired in 2008 away from Missouri, where he was the offensive coordinator.
"I think we were executing at a pretty high level offensively the last two weeks in particular last week," Christensen said. "...Obviously, if Brett doesn't play this week it'll be a little bit different, but we'll see how the next guys in handle it."
Wyoming's backup quarterbacks are junior Colby Kirkegaard and freshman Jason Thompson.
Kirkegaard replaced Smith against Toledo and completed one of three passes for no yards. He converted a 2-point conversion on a pass to Riley Lange after Wyoming scored on a trick play to pull within 3 points.
But during Wyoming's last drive, which started with 2:11 left in the game, Kirkegaard completed 1-of-2 passes for no yards and the drive ended when the Cowboys turned the ball over on downs at their own 44 yard line. Toledo ran out the remaining 42 seconds of the game.
The numbers aren't good and the coach's assessment isn't favorable, either.
Through two games, Wyoming's defense has given up 35.5 points, 242 rushing yards and 470 total yards a game. It also allowed No. 14 Texas and Toledo to convert 50 percent of their third downs and all four of their fourth-down tries. And the defense has forced just one turnover, none in a 34-31 home-opening loss to Toledo last Saturday. The Cowboys' only takeaway this season was a fumble recovery by senior defensive end Miraldo Michel at Texas, but the ball hit the field when quarterback David Ash mishandled a shotgun snap.
UW has not intercepted a pass, and the only forced fumble was on special teams by sophomore receiver Dominic Rufran against Toledo.
That's not all. The Cowboys have just one quarterback sack and six tackles for loss in two games, among the worst in the 120-team Football Bowl Subdivision.
UW coach Dave Christensen said mental errors held the Cowboys back against Toledo, which threw for 300 yards, ran for 204 and went 11-for-21 on third and fourth downs. First-year defensive coordinator Chris Tormey said the mental errors took place all over the field. "I don't think there was one position that was immune," he said. "We've got to do a better job of recognizing formations, getting lined up and being assignment-sound." UW also gave up too many big plays in the pass game. Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens threw four touchdown passes, including a pair of 35-yarders to receiver Bernard Reedy. Texas and Toledo are a combined 3-1 this season. Toledo lost its opener at Arizona 24-17 in overtime, but Arizona is now ranked 24th after a home win over previously ranked Oklahoma State.