Poinsettia Bowl 2016: BYU vs. Wyoming TV Schedule, Time, Odds
Andres Leighton/Associated Press
Old rivals get together for a bowl game Wednesday at the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl when the BYU Cougars encounter the Wyoming Cowboys.
BYU, 8-4, enters more confident than most teams would while down a starting quarterback. The Cougars, though, aren’t strangers to changes under center and boast a dominant rushing attack.
Wyoming, 8-5, enters its first bowl game since 2011 revitalized and looking to take down a former Mountain West rival while riding one of the nation’s most prominent rushers.
There is little in the way of love lost between these two as BYU looks to overcome a perplexing hurdle and Wyoming hopes to continue a resurgence. Here’s everything to know about the showdown.
Taysom Hill, as expected, had a great season for the Cougars, throwing for 2,323 yards and 12 scores and rushing for another 603 yards and eight scores on the ground.
Then he suffered an injury in the regular-season finale.
As hinted in the intro, though, the Cougars are better equipped to handle such an occurrence than most. Tanner Mangum, after all, shined as a freshman last year when Hill got hurt, throwing for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, including a few game-winning passes.
Now a sophomore, Mangum’s journey begins a bit earlier than expected.
Though he lost the quarterback battle to start the season, offensive coordinator Ty Detmer suggested his doing so helped him better learn the new offense, according to the Associated Press’ Kareem Copeland .
“Those are times where, mentally, you’re kind of learning on the run,” Detmer said. “(Mangum’s) been on the headsets every game, so he’s hearing the end-game, play-by-play coaching points. Overall, that maturity level, having an offseason that he didn’t have the year before, all of it has really played into his favor.”
An extended break before the bowl and his soaking up the new offense all year sound like good details for Mangum. So does the presence of star rusher Jamaal Williams, who averages 5.6 yards per carry with 11 touchdowns.
Winners of four in a row despite the rough turn of events for Hill, BYU heads into the bowl with plenty of confidence.
Turning It Around
Unlike the Cougars, the Cowboys have had a rough go of it as of late.
Wyoming has lost two in a row, the finale a near-upset of San Diego State, 27-24. Three of the team’s five losses came by crushing close totals, the others at 27-24 and 69-66 in triple overtime.
Alas, so it goes for a team setting the tone on the ground. Lead back Brian Hill ranks fourth in the nation with his 1,767 yards, which he gained alongside a 5.5 yards-per-carry average and 21 touchdowns.
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl has talked up his star player plenty, and rightfully so.
“He’s an unselfish player,” Bohl said, according to the Deseret News ‘ Jeff Call. “H e’s a tremendous running back. He’s a guy that I would describe as a slasher. I don’t know how much you would say he is, but I know this, every time he gets in the open field, very few people run him down.”
Hill has some reinforcements in the form of a passing attack thanks to quarterback Josh Allen. The sophomore has 2,996 yards and 26 touchdowns, though he’s completed just 56.3 percent of his passes, and 1,213 yards and 12 touchdowns have gone to wideout Tanner Gentry.
Still, a dynamic attack is poised to do some damage if the BYU defense doesn’t show up big. Rest assured the Cowboys want to give the independent program a taste of current Mountain West football while finishing off a resurgent campaign.
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
Were Taysom Hill healthy, this would be a simple pick. BYU looks to have the better defense and played better competition most of the year, going against teams such as Arizona, Utah, UCLA and a ranked Boise State squad.
This clearly isn’t a normal situation, though, as the transition from Hill to Mangum will be rather smooth compared to what some programs go through. Mangum won’t have many problems assuming his status once more, especially not with a solid defense and Williams behind him.
Brian Hill and Wyoming will put up a fight, but falling behind and leaning on a one-dimensional passing attack isn’t a good way to play it here.
For now, BYU keeps a leg up on Wyoming.
Prediction: BYU 30, Wyoming 23