(Photo: USA Today)
Texas will return home to DKR coming off one of the biggest wins for the program in quite some time last Saturday in Tuscaloosa. The Longhorns will welcome in Wyoming, who sits at 2-0 on the season and opened the year with an upset win against Texas Tech in Laramie. Craig Bohl will bring a physical team to Austin in search of an upset.
No one will mistake Wyoming for an explosive offense, but the Cowboys know who they are and what they need to do to win games. QB Andrew Peasley is in his 2nd season as the starter after transferring from Utah State. Peasley was not a good passer in 2022 and has had some up and down moments to start 2023. His value comes in what he provides with his legs (111 rushing yard and 1 TD through 2 games). Peasley could probably best be described as gritty and his ability use his legs is his biggest asset to the Wyoming offense. He stood tall as Texas Tech zero blitzed with the game on the line and delivered the game tying TD in double OT. None of the Wyoming pass catchers are likely to strike a ton of fear into opponents, but they do throw to tight ends quite a bit and Holy Cross WR transfer Ayir Asante has some juice with the ball in his hands.
Sam Scott and D.Q James have handled the bulk of the carries to start the season, but Northern Illinois transfer Harrison Waylee is expected back from injury at some point soon, possibly as soon as Saturday. Waylee rushed for 899 yards last season.
Wyoming has a ton of veterans on the roster, but the offensive line is the one place where there is some youth. The Cowboys will start 2 redshirt sophomores in addition to a redshirt freshman. They replaced 3 starters off a 2022 OL that was one of the better lines in the Mountain West. Texas Tech had 2 sacks and 6 TFL's in week 1 despite a shaky effort defensively.
If Wyoming hopes to hang around for 4 quarters Saturday night, they will likely need a strong performance from a defense that projects to be one of the better units in the Mountain West. Former Texas player and coach Oscar Giles is the DL coach for the Cowboys and has a solid unit. NT Cole Godbout already has 2.5 TFL's on the season and does a nice job inside clogging up running lanes.
The star of the defense is LB Easton Gibbs, who is in his 3rd season as a full-time starter. Gibbs recorded 121 tackles last season and finds himself around the ball a lot. He is very good run defender who also shows a knack for being able to drop back in coverage. Houston native Shae Suiaunoa starts next to Gibbs and is a solid player in his own right, leading Wyoming in tackles this year so far with 16, including 2.5 TFL's.
Wyoming is susceptible to teams who can throw the ball. The Cowboys have allowed 33 passing first downs already this season and Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough threw for 338 yards in week 1 despite some shaky moments. This might turn into another game where Texas puts the ball in the air frequently.
Wyoming has the defense to give Texas some issues, but the Cowboys will need a heroic offensive effort to pull off the upset in Austin. The 28.5 point spread in favor of the Longhorns signals the talent gap between the two teams, but the 48.5 point projected total also signals a potential low scoring affair. If Texas is able to establish the running game at some point, the Longhorns could put this one away early in the second half. If Texas spent too much time this week reading their own headlines and comes out flat, the Cowboys can and will hang around.