cowboys corner

The University of Wyoming isn’t lacking in the impactful-and-applaud-worthy-storyline department lately.

Whether it’s watching former UW quarterback Josh Allen sling it around the yard while advancing the Buffalo Bills deep into the playoffs or it’s Larry Nance Jr. helping out local businesses by way of wearing their swag before games, former Pokes are amplifying the true essence of what it is to be a Wyoming Cowboy.

UW isn’t lacking in positive storylines for current Cowboys, either. Placekicker John Hoyland was named a Freshman All-American Monday after his impressive, improbable and unlikely 2020 season.

Cooper Rothe was a mainstay with the UW football program for nearly half a decade. The placekicker made himself the school’s all-time leading scorer, booting field goals and extra points through the uprights for four seasons.

Rothe and head coach Craig Bohl had a close relationship due to the fact that Bohl works with his kickers and punters during practice. Bohl puts an immense amount of importance on special teams.

Bohl understands more yards are gained and lost during punts when compared to most other plays. He understands that kickers account for either one or three points once the offense marches to at least the opponent’s 35-yard line.

As a result, Bohl is adamant about having his kickers and punters on scholarship. This should results in the Pokes should be very sharp in both departments, so long as Bohl is in charge.

The 2020 season was littered with unknowns, the most glaring standing as whether or not a season would be played. On the field, one of the most noticeable holes on UW’s roster resided at the placekicker position.

Buffalo native Luke Glassock was given the reins prior to the start of the season, representing yet another Equality State member who made the two-deep roster. However, at Nevada in the season-opener, Glassock suffered an injury before kickoff and little-known Hoyland was forced into the fray, kicking field goals and extra points.

That’s a tough spot for anyone to be thrust into. It’s even more difficult given that the players stepping into a large scoring role didn't even appear on the two-deep ahead of the season-opener.

How did Hoyland fare in this unexpected and pressure-filled opportunity? His stat line read: 4-for-4 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points. His longest field goal of 42 yards occurred in the final minute, which forced overtime.

Through wind and snow, Hoyland finished the season with but one blemish, going 13-for-14 on field goals and 16-for-16 on extra points. He was a talking point on telecasts, sporting on red shoe.

Hoyland exemplifies the often-heard cliche of “next man up.” Literally, Hoyland was simply the next man up, as very few knew who he was upon taking the field on an October day in Reno.

Now, Hoyland has ascended to the top of the depth chart. He’ll represent Wyoming’s kicker for the next four years. Four more similar to his audition year may give this newly-named All-American a shot at being the Pokes’ all-time leading scorer.

Pokes Notes

The University of Wyoming wrestling team was ranked No. 25 in FloWrestling’s latest rankings.

The UW men’s and women’s swimming and diving team were named to the Scholar All-America Team by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America.

Pokes in the Pros

Quarterback Josh Allen was 23-for-37 for 206 yards and one touchdown in Buffalo’s 17-3 victory over Baltimore in the second round of the playoffs.

Defensive end Carl Granderson didn’t record a statistic in New Orleans’ 30-20 loss to Tampa Bay in the second round of the playoffs.

Bud Denega, former sports reporter at The Sheridan Press, is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and currently works as assistant sports information director at Northwestern State University. He is pursuing a masters degree in sports administration.

Cowboys Corner columnist

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