Cowboys struggle to regain offensive form

Updated: October 28, 2003, 3:01 AM ET

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- A few weeks ago, Wyoming was scoring seemingly at will, piling up six touchdowns and 434 yards in a 48-21 victory at Utah State.

Since then, the Cowboys have struggled to equal those totals in the past two games, including three quarters of unusually poor play in Saturday's 25-20 loss at San Diego State.

"We tried everything we could do and it didn't work," UW head coach Joe Glenn said following his team's second loss in three Mountain West Conference games this season. "Not very well, anyway."

Despite their sudden offensive woes, the Cowboys insist there's no reason for concern and that whatever is wrong can be righted with practice.

"There's no concern, but we know we need to get out there and score some points," said running back Derek Armah, who was limited to 58 yards on 13 carries against the Aztecs. "We're not concerned to the point where we've got to make drastic changes or anything like that, but we know we have to go out and do it.

"We have the tools to do it. We have the receivers and a great quarterback and a line and a whole stable full of running backs that can do it. We've just gotta go out there and do it."

Said quarterback Casey Bramlet: "I don't think we're too concerned right now. We know that we have a very powerful offense and we know we've got some guys that can go out and make plays. We just have to execute."

The statistics show the Cowboys should be at least somewhat concerned. Since their onslaught against the Aggies, the team's best offensive showing in more than six years, the Cowboys have scored 26 points and gained 517 yards.

Until Bramlet threw a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter on Saturday night, UW had failed to score an offensive touchdown in seven quarters. Linebacker Tyler Gottschalk returned an interception 60 yards for the lone TD in a 13-10 homecoming victory over Brigham Young on Oct. 18.

The Cowboys have been their own worst enemy. After committing only five turnovers in their first six games, they have six giveaways -- including five interceptions by Bramlet -- in the past two outings.

Against San Diego State, Bramlet was intercepted three times, including once at the goal line.

Although he was under constant pressure (the Aztecs sacked him five times and hurried him countless other times) Bramlet blamed himself for the team's lackluster performance.

"We just couldn't get things going," said Bramlet, who completed 25 of 45 passes for 247 yards. "A lot of that starts with me. At times, I have to make a better throw, make a better read. This is an offense that kind of revolves around the quarterback and I didn't play to my best tonight in the first few quarters."

UW's dormant running game has only made Bramlet's job more difficult.

Since totaling 192 yards against Utah State, highlighted by Armah's 123-yard effort, the Cowboys have 130 yards on the ground. SDSU limited UW to 45 yards on 27 attempts, an average of 1.7 yards per carry. The five sacks against Bramlet resulted in a loss of 31 yards.

Asked if UW was worried about its recent offensive shortcomings, wide receiver Malcom Floyd said, "Not really. All we can do is practice and get better. I think we'll get better. We've got Casey, we've got Derek, we've got a whole bunch of seniors on the offense and Jovon (Bouknight) stepping up."

Floyd did his part Saturday, snaring 14 catches for 120 yards and a TD.

Glenn isn't concerned either, mostly because he believes the Aztecs' superior speed was more to blame than the Cowboys' inability to execute.

"There was just way too much (speed) for us. Way too much for us," Glenn said. "They were very, very athletic in the secondary and very physical. Their linebackers are tremendous blitzers. It was too much for us. We couldn't handle it."

Later, Glenn added, "This was the No. 1 defense in the league and we found out why. We couldn't really do much in the passing game or the running game. We did hang in there tough and made some points down at the end, but they were too much for us."

This Saturday, the Cowboys host Colorado State at 1 p.m. The Rams are 2-1 in the Mountain West Conference and 5-3 overall. Wyoming is 3-5, 1-2.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index