LARAMIE — It will be a while before we know if Josh Allen’s draft stock took a hit in Wyoming’s loss Saturday to Oregon. But Allen himself took plenty of them.
The Cowboys’ quarterback appeared to sustain an upper-body injury in the first half, and sprained his ankle on his last snap of the game when he was sacked.
“It just felt that sometimes, a lot of the times, when we came out of our routes Josh was already scrambling,” receiver C.J. Johnson. “So, at that point, it’s just you’ve got to go make a play, and sometimes we’re just not in the position to be open for him.”
Allen completed nine of 24 passes in the 49-13 loss for a career-low completion percentage of 37.5 His 64 total yards passing were also his fewest in a full Division-I game, and he had a lost fumble and an interception in the second half.
Allen was not made available to media after the game, because his ankle needed to be iced immediately, head coach Craig Bohl said.
“And that isn’t because he’s not going to want to answer questions,” Bohl said. “He’s got a sprained ankle, and he needs to get ice on it right now. I think everybody in this room knows when I say something like that, that’s where he needs to be.”
Allen did not miss a snap with his first-half injury, but he was slow to get up numerous times throughout the game.
“It’s motivation, definitely, when you see him get back up, but at the same time, you expect more from our guys,” running back Trey Woods said. “Because we’ve got to keep our quarterback safe. We’ve got to keep everyone safe. We’ve got to execute, and if we’re not doing that, then we could end up getting him or one of our other better players hurt, and then we’re in a detrimental situation.”
Oregon’s defense was credited with just two sacks and no quarterback hurries, but Allen didn’t have much of a chance to get comfortable. When he did have time, he was often inaccurate.
“I think, when I was out, I saw some guys going on blitz free, and I remember on (John Okwoli’s) catch I saw Josh get absolutely destroyed,” Johnson said.
Allen was replaced by Nick Smith for Wyoming’s last drive, but Bohl said it had already been determined that, with the game out of hand, Smith would come in.
“What you find is there’s a lot of starters that are out there,” Bohl said of deciding when to pull Allen from the blowout. “If you’re going to be competitive, you’re going to go out there and compete as much as you can. ... Andrew Wingard was out there, Carl Granderson, a lot of guys were out there.”
Bohl said he did not believe Allen’s injury was “super serious.”
“He didn’t take a big hit, but he kind of tweaked his ankle,” Bohl said. “He would’ve been able to return to play, but at that time we just had made the decision we were going to change quarterbacks.”
Smith did not attempt a pass. The junior was taking his first snaps since 2015.
Twenty-one scouts from 16 NFL teams were at the game, UW athletics said, no doubt making the trip to Laramie to watch Allen, who was projected as a future first-rounder in the offseason.
“We had some good conversations, Josh and I have, as far as being able to be really focused, taking care of the task at hand,” Bohl said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of speculation as far as, ‘OK, where is he going to get drafted? What’s going to happen?’ I don’t think that that’s had the effect (on him). I think Oregon’s had a good game plan, and we didn’t play particularly well on offense.”
Allen also ran the ball eight times for 25 yards and a touchdown and caught a pass from receiver Austin Conway on a trick play.
“I mean, it’s rough, and he’s a big guy,” Johnson said of the hits Allen took. “I think a lot of other quarterbacks in the country would take some of those hits and be down and out for the count.
“And to see him get up and keep fighting every play, it just kind of puts something in you, especially that he’s a captain, that he’s willing to take every single hit and still keep fighting. It’s tough to see it, and I hope he’s OK, I mean I haven’t seen him since he left the game, but I think he’ll make it through this.”
Wyoming wasn’t particularly close to upsetting Oregon, as it was, but the Cowboys didn’t do themselves any favors with six penalties for 62 yards. The Cowboys were called for four personal fouls.
Defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan was called for a one that extended a drive, leaving Bohl visibly furious, and another was called during what appeared to be a brief skirmish between the teams.
“I thought we had some uncharacteristic mistakes and uncharacteristic discipline, which we have to address awfully quick,” Bohl said. “... That’s one of the things that we’ve always prided ourselves (on), I’ve prided myself (on) as a head football coach. So to have the personal fouls and the unsportsmanlike conduct — I didn’t see some of them, but I got the report from the officials.
“We’ve got to address that, and that’s got to be addressed really quickly, and I take responsibility. I take responsibility for everything that happened tonight, but I really, pointedly take responsibility for that undiscipline. That’s not been part of it, and that’s got to get addressed and it will get addressed really fast.”
The Cowboys were not flagged on the game’s final drive, when Oregon attacked the end zone despite the game being well in hand.
“There were a couple plays where guys just did some dumb stuff,” Wingard said. “You’ve just got to be able to keep your composure, especially against a team that’s going to throw four verticals with a minute left in the game, stuff like that. You’ve just got to keep your composure and don’t let that stuff get to your head.
“So we’ll definitely go back and look at that and try to keep our composure more toward the end of the game.”
A week after true freshman walk-on Caleb Cantrell made the start with one week of practice under his belt, fullback Drew Van Maanen played long snapper for Wyoming on Saturday. Cantrell had been playing in place of Kolton Donovan, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the season opener.
“We’d taken a look during the course of this week in practice and just determined that we were going to be probably better served to have him be our snapper,” Bohl said.
Van Maanen snapped the ball once at Iowa, when Donovan went down. Bohl had expressed interest in finding a snapper who was not also a starter at a physical position like fullback. Van Maanen appeared to have at least one low snap.
“We’re at a pretty thin position at a lot of places,” Bohl said. “And that certainly is one of them.”
Wide receiver Jared Scott made his debut Saturday. He is now the 11th true freshman to play for Wyoming in 2017, joining Cantrell, Logan Harris, Alonzo Velazquez, Avante’ Cox, Tim Zaleski, Esaias Gandy, Ravontae Holt, Javaree Jackson, Trey Woods and Ryan Gatoloai-Faupula. Scott was not targeted.
Conway, who played quarterback at Overland (Colorado) High School, threw a pass for the second time in his collegiate career. The sophomore’s previous throw was also to Allen for a touchdown. It came Oct. 22, 2016, in Wyoming’s win at Nevada.
Conway’s pass to Allen against Oregon went for 2 yards. His passer rating dropped from 463.6 to 290.2.