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August 11, 2013

UW offense goes aerial in first scrimmage

Powered by a very effective aerial attack, the Cowboy offense came away with a 93-28 victory Sunday over the Cowboy defense in the first scrimmage of fall camp for the University of Wyoming football team.

The Wyoming quarterbacks combined for 632 yards and eight touchdowns through the air, while the rushing attack amassed 205 yards and four TDs on the ground. The UW offense totaled 837 total yards and scored 12 touchdowns.

Practices throughout the spring and fall have focused on increasing the pace of play from the Cowboy offense, a strategy that has paid dividends already. The scrimmage featured 128 total plays on offense.

"I liked the tempo of our offense," Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen said. "We're getting close to what we want to be able to do. We made some plays. There were a lot of playmakers on both sides of the football. I'm anxious to get in and evaluate the film and see where we're at."

Sophomore quarterback Jason Thompson began his day by leading the offense on a seven-play, 75-yard TD drive, culminating with a 24-yard scoring pass to junior wide receiver Keenan Montgomery. Thompson added scoring tosses of 54 and 46 yards, finishing 18-for-22 for a team-leading 281 yards.

"Jason has made as much improvement on this football team as any player in our program from last year to this year," Christensen said. "He's made great progress. I feel really good about where he's at."

The UW defense struck back when junior cornerback Tyran Finley stepped in front of a sideline route and picked off the pass, racing 26 yards for a TD. Finley also finished with two tackles and one pass breakup.

"That was a heck of a play by Tyran," Christensen said. "He's an explosive player and he did some really nice things."

But junior quarterback Brett Smith recovered on the very next drive to tally 76 yards through the air, including a 23-yard strike to redshirt freshman wide receiver Nico Brown and a 33-yard completion to junior wide receiver Jalen Claiborne.

Smith and Claiborne connected on a 1-yard toss for the score to cap off the seven-play drive, and the offense was off and running. Smith finished 21-for-26 for 248 yards, five TDs and one interception.

Several receivers stood out for the Wyoming offnese, including junior Dominic Rufran, who led all Cowboys with six grabs for 58 yards and two TDs.

Brown led UW with 103 receiving yards on four catches and a TD, while newcomer Jarrod Darden also showed his skills. The 6-foot-5-inch senior, a transfer from Colorado, had three catches for 95 yards and one touchdown.

"(Darden) made some plays today in space," Christensen said. "Anytime you can get a 6-5 guy who can catch the football in space and make some things happen, it's exciting."

The running game featured several new faces, including freshmen running backs Oscar Nevermann and Joshua Tapscott.

Nevermann led the Pokes with 62 yards and two TDs on 12 rushes, while Tapscott had 49 yards on nine carries, including one TD run.

Senior running back Tedder Easton scored one TD and tallied 33 yards on eight carries, while sophomore Shaun Wick had five carries for 60 yards.

On special teams, junior place-kicker Stuart Williams had a fine day, going 5-for-5 on PATs and 4-for-5 on field goals, including hitting a 55-yard attempt and a 37-yarder in the final period to end the scrimmage.

"Stu's been as consistent as any player in our program," Christensen said. "He's pretty darn accurate. He's done a super job (this fall.)"

Defensively, junior linebacker Mark Nzeocha and junior defensive end Dan Crook led the Pokes with seven tackles each, while redshirt freshman Lucas Wacha had six stops from his linebacker spot.

Senior linebacker J.J. Quinlan had two sacks, while junior linebacker Alex Borgs had five tackles and two sacks.

As a unit, the Cowboy defense had six sacks, seven tackles for loss and four pass breakups. In terms of penalties, the UW offense was flagged seven times for 72 yards, while the defense incurred three penalties for 45 yards.





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