AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The University of Wyoming football team not only lost a game Saturday night, but it may have lost some key defensive players for a while.
Three starters left the Cowboys’ 31-17 loss at Air Force with probable concussions.
Second-year coach Craig Bohl said junior linebacker Lucas Wacha, senior defensive end Siaosi Hala’api’api and sophomore cornerback Robert Priester all left with concussions. Bohl said he didn’t know the severity, but added he thought Wacha’s was the most serious.
Wacha left midway through the third quarter. He finished with nine tackles.
Priester had six tackles, forced a fumble and intercepted the first pass of his career. The fumble he forced was recovered by true freshman cornerback Antonio Hull. It marked the first time this season UW forced multiple turnovers in a game.
Hala’api’api had only two tackles, but one was for loss. He had a large wrap or cast around his right wrist while he was out there.
Bohl didn’t know the extent of any other injuries, but the day before the game junior backup middle linebacker Devin McKenna injured a knee and he watched Saturday’s game from the sideline with a large brace around the knee.
“On our team, it’s a ‘next man up’ mentality,’” UW senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough said. “We expect the if somebody does go down the guy behind him will step up and be just as prepared and ready to play.”
Twenty different players saw time on defense for UW against Air Force.
Hometown kids do well
The Air Force Academy is just north of Colorado Springs, and two local products for UW had solid games.
True freshman walk-on kicker Tristan Bailey made a 41-yard field goal – his first make in five attempts this season. Bailey went to Rampart High.
Junior punter Ethan Wood, a Liberty High graduate, averaged 47.1 yards on eight punts. Four were downed inside the 20-yard line, and he had a long of 62 yards. Two of his three kickoffs went for touchbacks.
Bohl said senior backup cornerback Tyran Finley did not make the trip, but didn’t elaborate why.
Finley wasn’t listed on UW’s two-deep roster at either cornerback spot in its pre-game notes.
Finley played in the first five games, and started against Washington State and New Mexico. He has 10 tackles and one tackle for loss.
UW trails 28-23-3 and had its two-game winning streak in the series snapped. The Cowboys are 11-17-1 in games at Air Force.
This was the 36th consecutive season the two teams have played, and 54th game overall dating back to 1957. Twenty-six of the previous 54 games were decided by 10 points or less.
Games adding up
Yarbrough played in his 41st game, the most on the team, and Hala’api’api played in his 40th.
The players with the third-most games are Wacha, junior defensive tackle Uso Olive and junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry at 30 apiece.
Jailyn Mays, a 6-1, 215-pound linebacker from Dunbar High in Fort Meyers, Florida, announced on his Twitter account Saturday morning he no longer is committed to UW.
When asked why by WyoSports, Mays said via Twitter: “I didn’t quite fit the Wyoming criteria.”
Mays committed to UW during the summer. He received a two-star rating out of five by Rivals.com.
UW had a season-low 307 yards of total offense against Air Force. ... UW sophomore running back Brian Hill has 797 rushing yards this season. He had 796 all of 2014 as a true freshman. ... Redshirt senior wide receiver Justin Berger saw his first playing time since 2013, and caught one pass for 13 yards. ... True freshman running back Kellen Overstreet had his first-career carry. It went for two yards. ... Junior linebacker D.J. May has a team-high five pass break-ups this season.