GAME OF THE YEAR
Air Force 20, Wyoming 14 -- The Cowboys' coaching staff showed its willingness to alter its approach to give its players the best chance to win. Wyoming scrapped the spread in favor of a Wing-T rushing offense that helped the Cowboys slow down the game and play with the ranked Falcons. Wyoming's ability to run the ball, a season-high 174 yards at the time, enabled the Cowboys to take a 14-7 lead into the fourth quarter. But whereas the Cowboys last season found ways to win games, the Air Force game was symbolic of Wyoming's inability to make the key plays to win the game. The Falcons put together an 80-yard drive with 3:41 left in the game for the game-winning touchdown.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
QB Austyn Carta-Samuels was a factor in every game in which the Cowboys were competitive in 2010. The sophomore persevered while the offense struggled to move the football and score points. Carta-Samuels has won nine games as a starter for Wyoming, and the offense has hovered about the 300-yard mark per game during his two years. He accounted for about 2,100 passing and rushing yards in 2010 with 12 touchdowns. For the Wyoming offense to fully take advantage of his athletic ability, it must surround him with more playmakers. The biggest positive could be the breakout performance of RB Alvester Alexander during the final three games of the season. Freshman WR T.J. Smith also began to prove himself as a playmaker, and that should help Carta-Samuels immensely.
The Cowboys lose only a few seniors, but those players combined for more than 100 games of playing experience. LG Sam Sterner was a three-year starter and WR David Leonard finished No. 8 on the school's all-time receptions' list. FS Chris Prosinski finished fourth on Wyoming's career tackles list and CB Marcell Gipson was a four-year starter. Wyoming has to adapt to the 4-3, especially with its run defense, to get off the field. MLB Brian Hendricks had 80 tackles in 2010 but might not mind seeing that total go down if it means the defense plays fewer play next season. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels needs wide receivers who can stretch the field to get coach Dave Christensen spread offense up to speed.
Wyoming might get a boost from Rivals three-star DE recruit Miraldo Michel out of Ellsworth (Iowa) Community College. The Cowboys' line was one of their shortcomings in 2010. The Cowboys also are hoping that Chad Reese, another three-star recruit, can help fill in the void in the secondary left by DBs Chris Prosinski and Marcell Gipson. The offense is looking for playmakers and have WR London Muse (Sugar Land, Texas) and athlete Trey Norman (Texarkana, Texas) committed for 2011.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I don't know if I could have written a better script on how I wanted this game to go. The great thing about it is that our kids have never stopped working hard all season or quit during a game, they just kept pounding away. They believed and put it all together today. It was exciting to have them play that way, and it was nice to send out the seniors with a performance like this. What a great feeling for everyone." -- Wyoming coach Dave Christensen, on the team's 44-0 victory over arch-rival Colorado State in the season finale.
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