Coach: Craig Bohl (4-8, entering second season; 108-40 overall)
2014 record: 4-8 overall, 2-6 Mountain West Conference; sixth in Mountain Division
Look back: It looked like the Craig Bohl era was going to get off to a remarkable start in Laramie. After going 3-1 and recording a dramatic 20-19 home win over FAU, however, Wyoming struggled. The Cowboys lost seven of the next eight games, with injuries and illnesses a factor in the skid. Wyoming’s offense sputtered and ranked No. 107 nationally out 125 NCAA-recognized teams with 21.1 points per game.
Offensive starters returning: 6
Offensive starters lost: 5
Defensive starters returning: 4
Defensive starters lost: 7
Key losses: WR Dominic Rufran, QB Colby Kirkegaard, OT Connor Rains, DE Sonny Puletasi, LB Mark Nzeocha, FS Darrenn White, DE Riley Lange
Top returnees: RB Shaun Wick, RB Brian Hill, DE Eddie Yarbrough, S Chavez Pownell Jr.
Strengths: Indiana transfer Cameron Coffman has earned the Wyoming starting quarterback job and has a chance to immediately jumpstart a passing offense that lagged last season. While the senior’s squad lost the spring game, Coffman showed promising signs he can add more fire to the Cowboys’ attack. He played in three games at Indiana in 2013 and previously played at Arizona Western Community College.
Coffman will get some help from tailbacks Shaun Wick and Brian Hill, who both helped carry the offense last season.
When coach Bohl was asked to compare the 2015 team to the 2014 squad, the coach told the Billings Gazette, “We look more confident. We look more like a program. There’s more of a stamp of how we want to be. We’re certainly not there yet. … It’s another step forward.”
Weaknesses: Wyoming is tied for No. 114 in the nation in fewest returning starters. Bohl recruited aggressively to try to plug some of those holes, but it may take time for his athletes to adapt to the level of play at the school and in the Mountain West.
In addition to its scoring woes, Wyoming’s defense had its share of headaches last season. The Cowboys were especially weak against the run. The team ranked No. 120 nationally in pass efficiency defense (156.9) and No. 101 nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (203).
Outlook: Wyoming should be able to pick up some wins in nonconference play, but Bohl’s squad will be tested in late October and early November with a tough stretch of four games against teams that made bowl appearances last season — at Boise State, at Utah State, Colorado State and at San Diego State.
Sept. 5 North Dakota
Sept. 12 Eastern Michigan
Sept. 19 at Washington State
Sept. 26 New Mexico
Oct. 3 at Appalachian State
Oct. 10 at Air Force
Oct. 17 Nevada
Oct. 24 at Boise State
Oct. 30 at Utah State
Nov. 7 Colorado State
Nov. 14 at San Diego State
Nov. 28 UNLV
College Football / College Basketball Handicapper. 2011 won 74%, 2012 won 72% 2015 SPECIAL. CALL, 877.WIN.ATS9 EMAIL,V@VincentRizzoSports.com