Allen again

Over the past two seasons, Wyoming is 15-9 with Josh Allen, whose return from a shoulder injury was announced Wednesday, and 0-2 without him. NFL scouts will have their eyes on Allen as he plays for the first time since leaving the Cowboys' Nov. 11 win at Air Force with a shoulder injury. But it's no guarantee that Friday's game will automatically help Allen's draft stock. The Chippewas haven't allowed a team to pass for 300 yards since September, and they're tied for 24th in the nation in sacks.

Turnover tango

Only one team has forced more turnovers than Wyoming this season: Central Michigan. The Chippewas have 31, while the Pokes (and Memphis) have 30. It's Wyoming, though, that leads the nation in turnover margin at plus-1.33 per game. Central Michigan has done most of its damage through the air. Its 19 interceptions are one off the nation's lead. Wyoming has 16 picks, tied for 13th in the nation, and 14 fumble recoveries, tied for fourth.

Making a run for it

Brights spots were few and far between for the Pokes in their loss at San Jose State to end the regular season. But the running game was one of them. Wyoming rushed for a season-high 187 yards, albeit against the worst run defense in the nation. Kellen Overstreet ran for a career-high 139 yards and averaged 8.2 yards per rush while breaking numerous big gains. After rushing for 100-plus yards three times in the first eight games of the season, Wyoming has now crossed the century mark on the ground in three of its last four games.

Thin in the trenches

Wyoming has been dealt an offensive line injury seemingly every game this year. The Cowboys might not be able to afford that Friday. The Cowboys will likely be without starting guard Kaden Jackson, head coach Craig Bohl said. Jace Webb did not make the trip to Boise, Idaho, because of a concussion, and Brinkley Jolly is out with a torn pectoral. So if Gavin Rush, Logan Harris or Ryan Cummings go down on the interior line, the Cowboys would call upon little-used junior Cole Turner.

Bowl goals

Wyoming is appearing in consecutive bowl games for the first time since 1987-88. The Cowboys, who have never before played in the Potato Bowl, have lost two straight bowl games and eight of their last 10. A New Mexico Bowl win over Fresno State in 2009 was Wyoming's last win in a bowl game. The Cowboys are 6-8 all-time in bowl appearances. Central Michigan is 3-7, having lost a bowl game in each of the last three seasons.

Starting something new

Though Wyoming and Central Michigan have played just twice in their history, the teams will get a little more familiar with one another over the coming years. The teams announced a week ago that they would begin a home-and-home series in 2026. Wyoming won its home game against the Chips, 31-10 in 2000, and Central Michigan won its home game against the Pokes, 32-20 in 2002. Wyoming is 7-5 against current Mid-American Conference teams, going 1-1 last year. Bohl has faced the Chippewas once as a head coach. In 2007, his North Dakota State Bison won 44-14 against a Central Michigan team that included Antonio Brown and J.J. Watt.

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College Sports Reporter

Brandon Foster reports on University of Wyoming athletics. He joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 after graduating from the University of Missouri and covering Mizzou athletics for two years. A St. Louis native, he lives in Laramie.

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