MWC preview: The passing game should go well for the Cowboys in 2023

raig Bohl, now in his tenth season at Laramie, has built a solid program, earning the Cowboys bowl eligibility in the past seven seasons.

While Wyoming has been consistent, the Conference Tournament has not been difficult. The Cowboys have only played in one Mountain West title game, in 2016.

They haven’t won a conference championship since they captured the WAC title in 1993, with Joe Tiller running his fast-paced offense.

Bohl has things going for him in Laramie, with his system in place, but if the Cowboys are to take the next step and win a title, they may need to borrow a little bit of Tiller’s philosophy from the 90s.

In 2021, the team opened 4-0 for the first time since 1996, then lost four straight 11 games without a touchdown.

I preview Wyoming’s upcoming season below and take a quick look at last season and examine the offense, defense, and system.

Wyoming Cowboys Fast Facts

2022 Record: 7-6
Head Coach: Craig Bohl (52-56 at Wyoming)
Offensive Coordinators: Tim Polasek
Security Coordinator: Jay Sawvel
Home Stadium: War Memorial Stadium (29,181), Laramie, WY
Topic of the Final Conference: 1993, WAC

2022 in Comments

LLast season Wyoming won seven games with an offense that averaged 21.2 points per game and ranked 120th in the nation with 313.6 yards per game.


The Cowboys ran the ball very well, going 181.4 yards per game, but the passing game was a concern. Wyoming ranked 125th in the nation in passing offense with 132.2 yards per carry.

This isn’t a big deal because Wyoming will be a defense-first team, but the passing game should be better, especially in the third game.

Wyoming ranked third at 34.9% in 2022, 105th in the nation.

On third-and-seven yards for gain or more, UW was only converted at 14.9%. About 40% of the three that dropped in 2022 were of the seven+ variety.


Toffensive, run or pass, he must produce more first and second downs to create third downs.

The passing game doesn’t have to be good, but good. Andrew Peasley started last year under center and will be back this year. They bring knowledge and leadership.

In 2022, Peasley connected on 56.8% of his first and second down passes but dropped to 42.9% on third down. He can get on the ball and gain yards with his legs.

The senior from Le Grande, Oregon has proven once again that he can win close games. Four of the seven wins last season were by seven points or fewer and five of those wins came in come-from-behind victories.

In 2022 he threw 10 TDs and nine interceptions; these numbers should improve in 2023.

Wyoming QB Andrew Peasley | Wyoming Athletics

The strength of this offense is the running game. This has been happening under Bohl and will happen again in 2023.

Titus Swen was an All-Conference Second-Team selection last season as he rushed for 10.29 yards and eight touchdowns.

Swen is gone, but the backs on this list are capable of repeating and possibly improving numbers. Dawaiian McNeely is the leading returner with 356 last season at 5.7 yards per carry.

DQ James is also back. He provided plenty of pop last year, averaging 8.7 yards per carry while totaling 346 yards. The addition of Harrison Waylee gives the Cowboys three backs who can step into the starting lineup.

Anyone who ends up with that many touchdowns must produce a 1,000-yard season and earn All-Conference honors. I think McNeely can be a great guy.

Cowboys RB Dawaiian McNeely | Wyoming Athletics

The offensive line has just two starters from the class of 2022. The class of 2023 has just 52 starters, 36 of them coming from Frank Crum alone. Having Crum in the batting position is a good starting point.

The 6-foot-7. The 315-pounder has the potential to play Sunday a year from now. Also in line is Nofoafia Tulafono, who started 12 games in 2022.

Look for Jack Wech and Cadan Barnett to be the guards and Wes King to take over the other position. This is a line that should open up holes in the backfield and give Peasley time to get through.

When all else fails for the Cowboys, they can turn to John Hoyland, who will be the best kicker in the Mountain West. The junior connected on 13 of 14 FG attempts last season with a career high of 42.

This season, Wyoming should be all but guaranteed points when they get the ball inside the opponent’s 35.


OhOn the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have 10 of 11 returning starters. The only piece not back is CB Cam Stone who is now with Hawai’i.

Even though this is a big loss, Wyoming is still loaded with All-Conference potential on defense.

This line has the potential to dominate this season. Cole Godbot and Jordan Bertagnole will be inside the lineup with DeVonne Harris and Sebastian Harsh on the outside.

This quartet will make up the best line in the Conference and among the top 30 D-line units in the country. The middle two will close the running lanes.

Wyoming DL Cole Godbot | Wyoming Athletics

Godbout showed signs of success at DT in 2021 before a foot injury in 2022 slowed him down. Look for him to regain his form in 2023.

DeVonne Harris tallied eight sacks last year and has seen that trend improve this season.

Although the line will be good, the pair of the line can be very difficult. Shae Suauoa and Easton Gibbs can do both in the middle.

Suanoa had 73 tackles in 2022 and would have been a big man under center almost anywhere but behind Gibbs at Wyoming.

Cowboys LB Shae Suaoa |

Gibbs is the best defender in the Mountain West. His 121 strikeouts were the second most in the MW in 2022. Gibbs reached double digits in strikeouts six times in 2022.

The pair will be able to get into the backfield to stop and provide pass support.

The defensive backs have lost a good deal of Stone, but the three returners have talent. Isaac White and Wyett Ekeler are back at safety while Tyrecus Davis is back.

Jakory Hawkins might be the best guy they have and should step into Stone’s spot. Wrook Brown had 37 tackles and three home runs in 2022 from the NB/Hybrid position.

Kobey Taylor is another promising sophomore who should find his way around the corner.

2023 San Jose State Football Schedule

September 3 vs Texas Tech
September 9 against Portland State
September 16 in Texas
September 23 against Appalachian State
October 7 vs Fresno State
October 14 in the Air Force
October 28 at Boise State
November 4 against Colorado State
November 11 at UNLV
November 18 vs Hawaii
November 25 in Nevada

Tthe last time the Cowboys played a Power Five program they beat Missouri 37-31 to open the 2019 season.

They will get a chance to start another upset at home when Texas Tech visits to open this season. This will be the first of two games against the Big 12 as the Cowboys visit Texas for the third game.

In conference play, Wyoming will open with New Mexico followed by an important three-game stretch that sees Fresno State come to town for two road games against Air Force and Boise State.

Wyoming has a legacy before you go to Boise. There’s no rest for UW in any tough road games, as the Falcons and Broncos will have an open week before those meetings.

The Cowboys have won the Bronze Boot from Colorado State in the last seven meetings and a home date with the Rams starts a four-game stretch to end the regular season in which the Cowboys should be favored in each.

San Jose State and San Diego State are not ready this season to lighten the load in conference play.

All in all, it’s a schedule that sets up well for Wyoming to make a big splash in the Mountain West if they can get through three games in October.

The Cowboys have a chance to take the next step this season and get their first MW title, the offense will just need to step up and stay on the field for a long time.

Defense will be very good but will need a little help.

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