40 Days Away

Wyoming 2011 Record: 8-5

David Ash and the Texas Longhorns clash with the Wyoming Cowboys Sept. 1.

Head coach: Dave Christensen (18-20 in 3 years as head coach)

Coaching pedigree: Christensen went to Wyoming after serving as Gary Pinkel's original offensive coordinator at Missouri

Significant results in 2011
38-14 loss at Nebraska
31-20 loss at home to TCU
36-14 loss at Boise State
37-15 loss to Temple in New Mexico Bowl

Returning starters
Offense (5)
Defense (7)

News and notes

* The Cowboys and Texas Tech are the only two FBS teams that gave up more than 3,000 yards rushing last year.

* The Cowboys return their starting QB, Brett Smith, who is just a sophomore. Smith has NFL potential.

* The Cowboys utilize an offense similar to Missouri's. It looks for the quarterback to be both a running and passing threat.

* Smith rushed for 710 yards (he was the team's leading rusher) and passed for 2,622 yards. He was 253-415 passing with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

* New defensive coordinator is Chris Tormey, former Nevada and Idaho head coach. The team expects to blitz much more than they did in 2011.

* Of the 7 defensive starters returning, four of them are in the secondary.

* The Cowboys have gone to two straight bowl games.

* The Cowboys averaged 26.1 points per game last year, rushing for 232 yards per game and passing for right at 200 yards per game.

* They enjoyed a +12 turnover margin in 2011. That was the best mark in the Mountain West and 9th nationally.

* Texas played Wyoming in 2009 and 2010. Both were Christensen-coached teams.

* In Laramie in 2009, Texas started slowly before a late score in the first half gave Texas a 13-10 edge at the break. Texas went on to score four unanswered touchdowns in the second half to win 41-10.

* In Austin in 2010, Texas again started slowly and was down in the second quarter before Fozzy Whittaker broke off a 39-yard run to put the Horns up for good. The final score was 34-7, one of only five Texas wins on the season.

Prediction
Longhorns get the running game going right from the start and it's only slowed by a few hiccups in the passing game. It's a big opening for true freshman Johnathan Gray, who ends up with two touchdowns and 100 all-purpose yards. The defense is marginally tested by a talented quarterback and the read option. Texas 48-10

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