Wyoming at San Jose State: Three things we learned

November 27, 2017 GMT

Smith struggles

Junior backup quarterback Nick Smith made his second start of the season in place of injured starter Josh Allen (shoulder). Unlike a week ago, when Wyoming fell to Fresno State at home, Allen did warm up before the game, throwing some longer passes. But was only available as emergency relief, head coach Craig Bohl said.

Smith and the offense went three and out seven or more times for the second straight week, and Smith completed less than 46 percent of his passes. Wyoming did have more yards of total offense (357) than it had had against a Football Bowl Subdivision team all year, but 189 of those came on the ground.

Turnover turnaround

Wyoming entered the game as one of the nation’s best teams in turnover margins, while San Jose State is the nation’s most turnover prone team — by far. The Spartans did turn the ball over twice Saturday, but Wyoming did not win the turnover margin, as Smith threw two interceptions, both to Dakari Monroe.

Wyoming’s first turnover resulted in seven points for San Jose State on a Montel Aaron touchdown run. The second most likely cost Wyoming points, as Smith’s pass was intercepted near the Spartans’ red zone. Wyoming, meanwhile, failed to score any points off turnovers. Nela Lolohea’s fumble recovery, on a fumble he forced himself, was followed by Smith’s first pick. Marcus Epps’ 57-yard interception return also went for naught, as Wyoming went three and out in San Jose State territory.

D not quite perfect

The offensive struggles drew more ire, but the Cowboys’ defense didn’t necessarily play its best game either. Against an offense that entered the game bottom 10 in the nation in both scoring and total offense, the Pokes allowed more points than it had in any of its previous four games.

The Cowboys stiffened up some at the half, but before the intermission the Spartans had 230 yards of offense. San Jose State was having success through the long ball, especially with Tre Hartley. While the Cowboys forced three and outs on San Jose State’s first four drives of the second half, they did not force another takeaway, and the Spartans busted a late 44-yard touchdown that all but sealed the win.