Wyoming vs Montana State: Scenarios | national
Hello again, old friend
After spending the past seven seasons at Laramie as Wyoming’s offensive coordinator, Brent Vigen will make his debut as Montana State head coach at War Memorial Stadium. Vigen also worked for his UW counterpart Craig Bohl for 11 seasons in the state of North Dakota. The two friends have won three FCS National Championships together and guided Josh Allen and the Cowboys to the 2017 Mountain West Championship game. Both coaches admit their reunion on the field will be emotional, but insist the focus will be on on the players and that they will get off to a good start in 2021. Bohl has said he will be a Bobcats fan following the end of Saturday’s post-game embrace with Vigen.
Can Chambers stay healthy?
UW quarterback Sean Chambers has returned to his starting spot after sustaining a season-ending leg injury in game three of the 2020 opener in Nevada. The Cowboys are thrilled to be reunited with their team captain and are desperate to win big this season with Chambers behind center. UW is 13-4 in games Chambers has started during his star career, but the two-threat quarterback has been unable to complete his previous three seasons in the program due to injury. If Chambers can stay healthy, that 0.765 winning percentage is expected to improve in 2021.
The Cowboys and Bobcats should both rely on the running game with experienced offensive lines and star backs returning to Xazavian Valladay (UW) and Isaiah Ifanse (Montana State). The team with the most balanced offense will likely leave the field victorious. UW ranked 113th in assists last season with Chambers absent and Levi Williams playing injured. It will be interesting to see if Vigen allows his starting quarterback, North Carolina transfer Matthew McKay, to broadcast it in front of many of his critics watching from the stands at War Memorial Stadium. The Bobcats have rushed 61% of their offensive plays in the previous 17 games.
Deep in the trenches
Bohl said his team’s strength is the offensive line. UW’s defensive line also runs deep with some talented opt-outs for 2020 returning to play with the young players who accumulated experience last season. The Cowboys should win the line of scrimmage and wear out the smaller Bobcats. Otherwise, that’s a bad sign for a UW team planning to play the program’s first conference championship in 28 years.
Back to normal (sort of)
The COVID-19 health crisis is not over as the contagious Delta variant continues to spread. But large crowds are expected to arrive in Laramie to witness these new starts for UW and Montana State at War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys only played two home games in front of limited-capacity crowds in a miserable 2-4 final in 2020. The Bobcats didn’t play at all last year due to the pandemic after reaching the FCS semifinals in 2019. Despite the state’s low vaccination rate, the UW team is at least 96% vaccinated. According to Mountain West’s policy for the 2021 season, teams that cannot play due to coronavirus issues will lose those matches. The Cowboys, who had two games canceled in 2020 due to coronavirus concerns in Utah State and the Air Force, plan to go through a full campaign in 2021.