LARAMIE — Carl Granderson’s list of accomplishments this season is impressive enough if you look simply at his sack total. The Wyoming defensive end leads the conference with 7.5, and his average of 0.94 per game is tied for seventh in the country. Throw in his tackle-for-loss numbers, and it’s even more impressive: Granderson leads the conference with 13, which is tied for 12th in the country.
But the junior out of Sacramento, California, has upped the ante in Wyoming’s last three games, adding a pair of interceptions as well.
He snagged the first of his college career at Utah State and added a second against New Mexico. He returned the second one 37 yards, 3 short of a touchdown.
According to the NCAA’s list of interception leaders, Granderson is one of just three defensive linemen with multiple interceptions this season, along with Appalachian State’s Tae Hayes and UCF’s Seyvon Lowry.
“Yeah, I’ve still got the receiver skills,” Granderson said of his days as a two-way player in high school. “I’m just waiting for (head coach Craig) Bohl to put me out there on offense at receiver. I can make something happen on both sides of the ball. I was just out there playing hard, doing my job.”
Granderson’s interception against New Mexico was the first of seven forced turnovers on the day by Wyoming and set up the game’s first points.
“It was a little different, because at Utah State, I was dropping back (into coverage),” said Granderson, who also leads Mountain West defensive linemen in tackles. “This game, I saw the running back come at me, and I was waiting for him to cut, but he stayed up, so I knew a screen was coming. It just felt weird. And then I caught the ball. ... I felt like I needed to score to start the game off right, put the offense in best position to score.”
While Granderson was frustrated at not being able to return his interception for six points — fellow end Kevin Prosser had a pick-6 against Utah State — teammate Youhanna Ghaifan said Granderson had no one to blame but himself.
“Honestly, if you really saw the film, he should’ve came my direction,” said Ghaifan, whose 1.29 tackles for loss per game are second only to Granderson in the conference. “He went the other way. He had a wide-open field on my side. I was really like, ‘Yeah, let’s go. Let’s get this touchdown.’ But he went that way.
“I’m like, ‘Carl, what are you doing?’ So yeah, that’s his fault. I’m just going to blame it on him. That’s his fault. He should’ve had a touchdown if he came my way. It’s good, though. Our offense came in there and did what they had to do, and that’s score.”
Cain has surgery
Wyoming junior defensive tackle Conner Cain had surgery on his broken right ankle Thursday. Cain’s father said in a message the surgery went well, according to the surgeon.
Cain will miss the rest of the season with the injury. The Littleton, Colorado, native finished the year with seven tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble that helped secure Wyoming’s win at Utah State.