Shemarr Robinson wouldn’t share any details about the University of Tulsa’s plan to stop Wyoming’s run game.
Wyoming is averaging 245.3 rushing yards a game heading into its matchup with TU on Saturday. But in a conference known for slinging the ball around, the Hurricane’s defense, with a three-man front, is designed to stop just that — the pass. So with fewer bodies up front, Robinson, a defensive tackle, was asked Tuesday how TU planned around an offense that excels at the run.
“I don’t wanna just talk too much on our defense,” Robinson said. “We have a little bit more freedom to fit. That’s all I can probably really say.”
Of Wyoming’s 184 plays in its first three games, 138 were rushing attempts, or 75%. Although the Cowboys excel at running the ball, they average only 81.7 passing yards a game.
“Any team that you can view as one-dimensional makes it easier to play whatever they’re doing,” Robinson said. “But we definitely want to stop the run and make them pass. But that’s the case for every week, because with a three-man front, we would rather know that it’s about to be a pass than playing a play-action and having to rip off and adjust our whole play style in the middle of a play.
“We know on first and second down they run the ball. No matter if it’s first-and-25, they’re gonna run the ball. They’re not gonna pass unless we make them pass, so that’s the goal.”
Although the Hurricane has a much more balanced attack, most of its success has come through the run game, too, this season, minus a disastrous performance in Week 1 against Michigan State.
The two teams are different in how they find that success, though. TU spreads out its offense, while Wyoming will run out of heavier formations.
Wyoming’s ability to run the ball will also mean fewer opportunities for the TU offense to be productive. The Cowboys have used that strategy and a strong defense to be 3-0, including a victory against Missouri in Week 1. Opponents are averaging 20.3 points a game.
“That’s the goal each time you touch the ball is to go score, but more emphasis this week because of how they play,” TU receiver Sam Crawford Jr. said. “We know on offense we gotta step it up this week to score to put our defense in better situations.”
But so far, even though they all knew what was coming, no one has been able to stop Wyoming’s run game or score many points against the Cowboys.
“They’re just finding ways to win,” Golden Hurricane coach Philip Montgomery said.