Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Scott Nulph

Positive news for Allen, Cowboys


November 15, 2017

The sound coming from Monday's University of Wyoming football press conference by coach Craig Bohl was about as positive as could be expected.

Bohl said the Cowboys are hopeful that junior quarterback Josh Allen will play this Saturday's home game against Fresno State after injuring his right arm at Air Force.

As it turns out, it's an AC joint, injury, one that's not great for a quarterback, but not a season ender, either.

That's good news for UW for the rest of this season and for Allen, who's about two months away from fully entering the world of being a top NFL draft pick.

The Cowboys beat Air Force late Saturday night in another benchmark victory for the program since Bohl took over. UW beat Air Force for the third time in four years under Bohl, something it hasn't done since the late 1980s.

But with the win also came a dark cloud of uncertainty.

Allen had to leave the game in the third quarter with a right arm injury. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Allen was in street clothes, the Cowboys' once dominant lead was close to vanishing, and Nick Smith was in at quarterback.

UW has done a wonderful job of the "next man up" approach this season, whether it's been on the offensive or defensive lines or simply trying to find an effective running back.

But this was different.

How do you be that next man up when you're trying to replace the program's main man?

Turns out it can be done.

With the right coaching.

And the right system.

And the right team.

Smith's numbers weren't jaw dropping. He didn't have a "Josh Allen moment," one that makes NFL scouts jump out of their seats.

The redshirt junior was 2 of 3 passing for 38 yards, with all of it coming on one play to freshman running back Trey Woods that flipped the field and the momentum. UW scored two plays later for a 28-14 lead with just more than eight minutes to play.

If you haven't noticed during the last three decades, Air Force's offense isn't exactly built for quick scores that a comeback demands.

The game was over.

Yet many went to bed Saturday night wondering the same thing about the Cowboys' season.

If Allen was done, was UW as well?

The main shame in that line of thinking was that UW fans wouldn't get to see Allen complete his final season with the Pokes.

Allen has become the centerpiece of UW's resurgence and will continue to be right up and through his name being called in the first round of the NFL draft.

To not get to see him put on the UW uniform again would have been hard for everybody, Allen included.

But to be honest, in terms of the season, Allen's return wasn't going to be a do-or-die situation.

About an hour after UW beat Air Force, Colorado State coughed up a late lead at home against Boise State. The Broncos trailed CSU by 14 points with more than three minutes to go and rallied to force overtime, and then won.

That means UW's chances of repeating as Mountain West Mountain champions are almost gone.

Boise State will have to lose its last two games – at home against Air Force and at Fresno State – while UW will need to win its last two to play in the MW Championship Game again.

Sorry, but I don't see the Broncos losing at home to the Falcons.

So other goals will quickly take the place of a division title.

UW hasn't won nine games since the 1996 season, which incidentally is the last time the program won 10 games. That's still a possibility.

And the Cowboys haven't won a bowl game since 2009.

The best news of all right now is it looks like the Cowboys will get to make a run at those marks with Allen behind center.

Maybe not for all of it. It's not 100 percent certain he'll play against the Bulldogs.

But it's a better percentage than most thought late Saturday night.

Here's hoping Allen puts on the UW uniform at least one more time, if not two or three.

He deserves it.

UW fans deserve it.

The program deserves it.


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