Projected Offensive Rank: 107th
[note: all stats are from 2018]
Sean Chambers – R-FR: 15-25 (60%)/266 yards/3 TDs/0 INTs/0 sacks/10.6 ypa
Tyler Vander Waal – SO: 120-246 (48.8%)/1,310 yards/5 TDs/4 INTs/24 sacks/4.04 ypa
Vander Waal has the experience but Chambers has the upside. In 4 games, the redshirt freshman went 3-1 and won all 3 games that he started. He was lost for the season at the beginning of November, right when he was starting to hit his stride. Vander Waal did an admirable job as his replacement, but as you can see, having a completion percentage under 50% is not great. Chambers is not much of a passer, but you’d prefer his dual-threat ability to the statue-like nature and erratic tendencies of Vander Waal.
Xazavian Valladay – SO: 71 rushes/396 yards/3 TDs/5.58 ypc/45.1% OPP rate/1 fumble
Trey Smith – R-SR (Louisville): 50 rushes/263 yards/4 TDs/5.26 ypc/46% OPP rate/0 fumbles
Titus Swen – FR: x
Skyler Miller – JR: x
Jaylon Watson – SR: x
This is the other reason why you want Chambers: Creating a ground threat when your three best running backs are an untested sophomore, a grad transfer, and a freshman. Titus Swen made some noise in fall camp, but not enough to unseat Valladay. There’s a chance he works his way to the top spot eventually, but Bohl and OC Brent Vigen are going with the guy who has the most seniority in their system to start the season.
Austin Conway – SR: 54 targets/32 catches (59.3%)/250 yards/1 TD/7.8 ypc/4.6 ypt/20.3% target rate
Dontae Crow – JR: 1 target/0 catches (0%)/0 yards/0 TDs/0 ypc/0 ypt/0.4% target rate
Raghib Ismail, Jr. – SR: 48 targets/24 catches (50%)/267 yards/2 TDs/11.1 ypc/5.6 ypt/18% target rate
Wyatt Wieland – R-FR: x
John Okwoli – SR: 6 targets/3 catches (50%)/31 yards/0 TDs/10.3 ypc/5.2 ypt/2.3% target rate
Ayden Eberhardt – JR: 9 targets/5 catches (55.6%)/46 yards/0 TDs/9.2 ypc/5.1 ypt/3.4% target rate
Gunner Gentry – SO: x
Josh Harshman – R-SR (2017): 20 targets/12 catches (60%)/136 yards/0 TDs/11.3 ypc/6.8 ypt/6% tr
Nate Weinman – SO: 2 targets/0 catches (0%)/0 yards/0 TDs/0 ypc/0 ypt/0.8% target rate
Jackson Marcotte – R-FR: x
Take all the returning pass catchers who played in 2018, roll them into one guy, and here’s their stat line: 120 targets, 64 catches (53.3% catch rate), 594 yards, 3 TDs, 9.28 ypc, 4.9 ypt
Just for reference: Johnathon Johnson BY HIMSELF: 89 targets, 59 catches (66.3% catch rate), 737 yards, 5 TDs, 12.5 ypc, 8.3 ypt
The Cowboy receiving corps is light on game experience and production, and the Tiger secondary needs to absolutely take advantage of this. Bottle up the ground game, force them to pass to move the ball, and this game should be over quickly. If DeMarkus Acy ever wanted an opportunity to exorcise his Liberty Bowl demons, this is a prime opportunity to do so.
Rudy Stofer – SO: 7 career starts
Frank Crum – R-FR: x
Patrick Arnold – SO: 4 career starts
Eric Abojei – SO: 5 career starts
Keegan Cryder – SO: 12 career starts
Latrell Bible – FR: x
Logan Harris – JR: 14 career starts
Blayne Baker – R-FR: x
Alonzo Velasquez – JR: 15 career starts
Gavin Dunayski – SO: x
Ten gentlemen on the offensive line two-deep: 8 underclassmen, 57 starts between the ten of them. Inexperience does not necessarily equate to “bad,” but with the implied talent advantage of an SEC vs. Group of 5 team, plus the experience on our depth chart, our d-line needs to feast in the backfield and tee off on passing downs.
On paper, the Tiger defenders have the advantage against Wyoming’s offense across the board, and a good night of execution should keep the Cowboy attack hemmed in for 60 minutes.