Poinsetta Bowl Preview

December 20, 2016

The bowl fest continues on Wednesday with the Poinsetta Bowl which could just as easily be called the ‘Reunion Bowl’ as it brings together former Mountain West rivals BYU (8-4) and Wyoming (8-5). BYU left the conference in 2010 to go independent, although the Mountain West has never been shy about saying that the door was always open should the Cougars ever want to return. In fact, BYU has been kind of stuck in neutral since leaving the conference posting its 4th 8-win campaign in the past 5 years. Wyoming, on the other hand, enjoyed a major resurgence this fall after posting just 2 Ws in 2015. Indeed, this year’s 8-5 mark was just the third winning season for the Cowboys since the turn of the century.

Wyoming’s turnaround this fall was led in part by star junior RB Brian Hill (#5, 5-11, 220), the nation’s 4th leading rusher this season in which he ground out almost 1,800 yards and 13 scores. If, as expected, he comes out this winter, Hill is projected to be a mid-round prospect for the 2017 draft. Meanwhile, the Cowboys also have a couple of seniors with at least some late-round possibilities in veteran C Chase Rouilier (#73, 6-3, 320) and TE Jake Hollister (#88, 6-4, 240), while RB Shaun Wick (#21, 5-10, 210) amd WR Tanner Gentry (#4, 6-2, 210), who had 65 receptions for almost 1,200 yards this season, could attract some free-agent offers. The Cowboys also have some good young players to check out for future reference including redshirt sophomore QB Josh Allen (#17, 6-5, 225), sophomore SS Andrew Wingard (#28, 6-1, 210), who led the team with 128 tackles this fall, and redshirt freshman LB Logan Wilson (#30, 6-2, 225).

In fact, this game could come down to a battle of the backs as BYU also has a quality RB Jamaal Williams (#21, 6-2, 215) who could ultimately be one of those ‘better pros than collegian’ types. Not that Williams hasn’t been solid enough for the Cougars – he ran for almost 1,200 yards in just 9 games this fall – but he has had some durability issues over the course of his career, plus he was forced to sit out the 2015 campaign after violating the school’s very strict honor code. Hard to know where Williams will ultimately grade out, but he appears to be the only BYU player who figures to be selected this coming April. The Cougars, however, do have several veteran players who should rate some free-agent interest including DTs Travis Tulloma (#91, 6-2, 305) and Logan Taele (#62, 6-2, 295), OLB Sae Tautu (#31, 6-4, 245) and FS kai Nacus (#12, 6-2, 215).