Wyoming punter Ralph Fawaz helped raise Cowboys special teams | national

LARAMIE – If all goes according to plan, the Cowboys won’t need to kick a lot in Connecticut.

That’s not to say Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl, who oversees the kicking game, isn’t happy with Ralph Fawaz.

The rookie redshirt got off to a quick start after winning the starting position at fall camp. In three games, Fawaz averaged 44.1 yards per punt with a length of 54 yards.

More importantly, Fawaz placed eight of his 14 attempts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

In UW’s 45-12 win over Ball State last Saturday, Fawaz knocked down the field with three punters from at least 50 yards and two placed inside the 20s.

“Ralph did a really great job,” said Bohl. “I thought our cover units were well done. Ball State really put pressure on our protection, and we had a good operating time. Ralph did a great job turning the pitch around. The position on the pitch has a lot to do with our success on Saturday, as well as the take out. “

UW had a 31-0 lead in intermission before clinching the first two drives of the third quarter. Fawaz pinned the Cardinals on their own 7- and 13-yard line.

Fawaz said his main motivation is to make it easier for Chad Muma, Ayden Eberhardt, Braden Smith, Garrett Crall, Xazavian Valladay and other players to put their bodies at risk.

“I know these guys are doing absolutely everything to help our team win,” said Fawaz. “We are all real close friends. So it’s nice to play for them, to do well for them and to help them.

As Cowboys fans focused on the new offense in the spring game, Fawaz was having a nightmare at War Memorial Stadium when his punt was returned by first-year defensive back Zaire Jackson for a touchdown.

In June, Bohl used the NCAA transfer portal to add Clayton Stewart to the roster to compete with Fawaz for the starting position. Stewart, who still has three years of eligibility, had nine punters over 50 yards at Texas State, including a 60-yard one.

But Fawaz was unfazed during the fall camp and won the battle. In the opener against Montana State, he averaged 45.7 yards per punt with five of six kicks down inside the Bobcats’ 20-yard line.

“It helped me,” Fawaz said. “Clayton is a great, he’s a phenomenal punter. It can hit awesome crazy balls. Coach Bohl always talks about how competing brings out the best in us, and it certainly is. “

The loss of long snapper Read Sunn to an injury sustained during the camp season added to Bohl’s stress level. Defensive end Teagan Liufau handled the tasks in the punt game.

“I think Teagan did a great job,” Fawaz said. “We started the first two games a bit hard, but everything was going well in this third game, the five snaps were perfect.”

The Cowboys (3-0) should be able to move the chains consistently against UConn on Saturday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut (1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network). The Huskies (0-4) are allowing 46.0 points and 491.8 yards per game this season.

If UW needs a punt, Fawaz will be ready to give the team a boost.

“At first I just really wanted to come here and play Division I football,” Fawaz said of his decision to go to school at 7,220 feet, where his punts walk about 5-10 yards more. than he was used to in Cache, Oklahoma. . “Then when I got here the elevation difference between Laramie and Oklahoma was crazy. I love it here now.

Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn


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Joseph D. Whitman

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