Warren Jackson: Simply put, Jackson is the best wide receiver in the Mountain West and one of the best in college football. At 6-foot-6, Jackson uses his big frame to box out smaller defenders. He has caught 63 passes for 940 yards and six touchdowns in his breakout junior season. Stopping Jackson is the key to slowing down the Rams’ passing attack, though fellow wideout Dante Wright is solid in his own right.
Ryan Stonehouse: Punters aren’t guys you usually think of as game changers, but Stonehouse, who averages 46.5 yards per punt (ninth in college football), can instantly flip field position. In a game that could be close, scoring opportunities might largely be based on where an offense starts drives. Stonehouse is as good as it gets at pinning opponents deep in their own territory.
Tyler Vander Waal: Coming off a game where he turned the ball over four times, Vander Waal needs a bounce back performance. The redshirt sophomore came alive during the fourth quarter at Utah State, leading one touchdown drive and nearly capping off another before throwing his third interception of the game to seal the Aggies’ win. Colorado State has one of the best statistical pass defenses in the nation (184.5 yards per game); the flip side is that the Rams have a porous rushing defense, ranked No. 115. As always, Wyoming will want to run the ball. If it becomes a game decided by throwing, though, Vander Waal will need to be at his best.
Austin Conway: Conway was nearly a hero in last weekend’s game in Logan, Utah, breaking off a huge punt return late in the fourth quarter that would have set Vander Waal and the offense up in prime field position. The return was called back, however, and the game effectively ended with a Vander Waal interception. Conway ranks No. 9 in the nation in average yards per return (11.7), while also leading the nation in number of returns (29). Conway returns every punt he can, and UW could use a long one Friday night.