Mizzou football is set to take on a familiar opponent, with an unfamiliar QB, in Wyoming.
It’s game week, and that means the offseason that was is finally over. It felt too long, but it kind of always does. Mizzou football is back.
So for now, let’s put away the postseason ban. Let’s just not talk about it. It doesn’t matter. Mizzou is going to play Saturday, and it’s going to be fun, right?
Let’s start the week by taking a look at the Week 1 opponent for Mizzou — the Wyoming Cowboys.
Last year, Missouri won this game 40-13 in a Week 2 matchup at home. The Tigers are traveling to Laramie this time.
Wyoming finished the 2018 season 6-6 with four-straight wins to end the year. The Cowboys flipped their year around in part because of a quarterback change.
To get going, the Cowboys return that same QB who will be new to the Mizzou football team this season.
At quarterback, Wyoming will start Sean Chambers, who his coach compared to NFL QBs Carson Wentz and Josh Allen earlier this week. Chambers was the backup until Week 9 last season, but he led his team to nothing but wins. The guy the Tigers saw at QB last year, Tyler Vander Waal, will be the backup.
Chambers ran more than he threw, and that helped spark the Cowboys’ win streak. He tallied 329 yards on 59 carries for a 5.6 yard average. His year ended with a knee injury in his fourth game, and he kept his redshirt because of the new redshirt rules that allow for a freshman to play four times. Chambers was 15 of 25 through the air for 266 yards, three touchdowns and no picks.
The Cowboys have experience out wide that should test the Tigers’ new secondary approach. Four seniors sit at the top of the depth chart to begin the year for the Cowboys. So if they open up the offense more, they should have some weapons to look for.
Wyoming has sophomore Xazavian Valladay and Louisville graduate transfer Trey Smith at running back.
On the defensive side, the Cowboys trot out an All-American hopeful in Logan Wilson at inside linebacker. Wilson has started 39-consecutive games in his career and has led the Cowboys in tackles for the past two years. His 316 career tackles ranks No. 2 among active FBS players.
The Cowboys graduated a pair of four-year starters at safety in Marcus Epps and Andrew Wingard. They have a number of players they are looking toward to replace the duo. As for cornerback, Wyoming returns the same starters as last season in Tyler Hall and Antonio Hull.
The Cowboys return six starters on defense.
Outside of Missouri, Wyoming has a favorable schedule early on. But the Cowboys have to play on the road against conference favorites in Boise State and Utah State back-to-back in Week 9 and 10. Their schedule gets considerably tougher down the stretch.
A good showing to start the year will help them move forward and perhaps go on a winning streak before a tougher November.
Wyoming will be fighting for a top-5 finish in the Mountain West and have a shot to win seven or eight games. To have a shot to win this one is a stretch, but the Cowboys will be looking to keep momentum from last year’s finish, however they can get it.