LARAMIE --  Craig Bohl said during the offseason this would be the year his team would kick the door down and compete for a Mountain West title.

He had 95% of his roster returning. He has one of the best running backs in America. His offensive line had more than 145 combined starts. His defense features one of the top linebackers in the FBS, along with 10 other starters.

It's easy to see where that confidence steamed from.

Wyoming's eighth-year head coach believed that statement above whole-heartedly. So did his players.

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The word "championship" was tossed around freely throughout the month of August. That's not something you hear around here, though it's always the in-house goal.

Admit it, it made you trust that a silver trophy was Laramie bound, too.

After back-to-back loses -- and now six quarters of scoreless football -- it appears that door Bohl was referring to is made of titanium. It's not coming down. It doesn't even feature a dent.

It's not fair to say this football team is in shambles. That wouldn't be an accurate statement.

Wyoming's defense held Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener to just 96 passing yards Saturday afternoon in sun-spanked Laramie. That guy averaged 372 yards per game through the air coming in.

Last week, Chad Muma and his buddies allowed just 211 rushing yards against the No. 1 ground attack in the country. Air Force averaged nearly 400 yards per outing before the Pokes came to town.

The Bulldogs three scoring drives Saturday were all products of Wyoming turnovers. Fresno State went 41 yards for its first score, which was also helped out by a Rome Weber targeting call on a third-and-goal from the six. The next touchdown drive took all of three plays and six yards. The field goal was a four-play, three-yard drive.

What the defense did to Haener, and the rest of this high-flying offense, is deserving of a ticker-tape parade down Grand Avenue.

The offense, on the other hand, should be left to clean up the mess. It's only fair. That's what Wyoming's defense has been doing most of the season. Heck, most of the last four seasons.

Bohl didn't like me using the word "demoralizing" after the loss at Air Force. Maybe he's right. That does sound harsh.

What word would you use for this one?

Depressing? Discouraging? Distressing? Disappointing?

Those don't sound harsh enough.

Here's another "D word" -- dreadful.

The Cowboys offense entered the red zone one time Saturday. That ended with a Levi Williams' interception that bounced off the hands of wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt. Three other drives met their maker with a pick, too. Sean Chambers also fumbled on the second snap of the game. Four of the Cowboys' five turnovers go under his final stat line.

Fresno State entered the game with 50 tackles for loss. That is good enough for third in the nation. The 'Dogs added seven more of those Saturday, including three sacks.

Like always, Bohl said he would reserve judgement until he watches the tape. These questions can't wait for film study, coach.

Why did it take so long to insert Williams into the game? It was clear Chambers was not on -- and things just got worse.

"I thought about it and we talked about it," Bohl said when asked if he thought about putting Williams in sooner. "Anytime you make a quarterback change, it's a pretty major change, particularly when you have a captain -- but then do it. We did get Levi in there and we'll take a look at how Levi did."

Williams finished 1-for-7 for 32 yards.

Chambers completed 8-of-23 passes for 111 yards.

Bohl was supposed to be able to hitch his wagon to this big, talented front five. What is going on in the trenches?

"There's some things that come into play whether we're not getting movement -- I think that came in play sometimes -- not sustaining some blocks, sometimes the backs are missing some cuts," Bohl said postgame. "So, that's kind of the trifecta.

"... But nonetheless, I don't think we're running the ball nearly as well as what we should. We've made a concerted effort and we put a lot of time and effort into our running game. It certainly is not proving very beneficial."

Who will start under center when New Mexico comes to town next Saturday?

"There's things that I think you see on the sidelines -- and I've got a gut feeling -- but I just want to ... I think we need to cull through that," he said.

Bohl said postgame his offense is in a tailspin. That's one way to put it. He added that he is going to get with first-year offensive coordinator Tim Polasek and ask a few important questions this week like:

"What are we doing?"

"What is our identity?"

"Where are we misfiring?"

His words, not mine.

After six games Bohl is asking questions like that? Huh?

This "re-engineered" offense is a mess. They can't throw, run or block with any sort of consistency. That's not debatable.

"I will say this, I don't have rose-colored glasses on. We've got to do a rework," Bohl said. "And I don't think it's just a little tweak here or there. I think we need to -- it's always dangerous to completely reshuffle everything -- but I'll look at the two quarterbacks and we'll make a call this next week."

Fresno State 17, Wyoming 0

 

 

QB quandary

Look, I don't know the right answer at quarterback for this team. What I do know -- and you know -- is this isn't working.

Chambers completed just 35% of his passes Saturday. He was responsible for four turnovers. In that loss last week in Colorado Springs, he put the ball on the turf two more times.

It's one thing to have accuracy issues. It's another to turn the ball over like this.

To Chambers' credit, he walked to the podium postgame, put both hands on the wooden lectern and faced the media. He knew the questions about his performance were coming. He knew he'd be asked about his job.

"No, it's just football," the redshirt sophomore said. "Some were bad throws and some they made a play on, tipped a ball and it fell into their hands. It's just football."

Chambers wouldn't even let me finish the question about his confidence level right now.

"It's not wavering," he said. "I mean, I know what I can do and I know I can do it well. So, it's not wavering."

When Bohl pulled the plug on Chambers' day with 10:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, he said his starter remained engaged on the sideline. He praised his attitude, his engagement on the sideline and his competitive nature.

"You know, I'll probably have a long conversation with him," Bohl said.

Now, the decision awaits.

"I'm always a competitor," Chambers said when asked if he was prepared to fight for his job this week in practice. "I'm always going to compete. I'm always going to go out there and give it my best. So, yep."

 

 

Turn out the lights?

Not hardly.

Wyoming defensive end Garrett Crall knows you're upset. He's not exactly thrilled himself. But the super senior and team captain was not about to shovel dirt on the Cowboys' grave just yet.

He still believes.

His task now is making sure his teammates still do, too.

"We set out these goals and, some guys are going to feel completely deflated, well, The Mountain West is a good conference this year and teams are going to fall," Crall said. "So, we can't hurt ourselves more.

"... Maybe people now are starting to say our season is over. The season is not over. We just have to keep going at it. I'm going to tell you, those guys are going to keep going at it. Yeah, people are mad right now, but I know this team more than anyone -- guys are going to show up and play. I promise you that."

Statistically, this campaign is nowhere near over. It's just hard to have any faith after what we've witnessed between the white lines over the last six quarters. This defense could keep the Cowboys in every game. This offense, as of late, no chance.

"We know they're going to get it eventually," an optimistic Esaias Gandy said of the offense. "We just have to keep hammering. That's why we just kept fighting to the very end."

That might be an overriding theme this fall -- again.

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