LARAMIE — Titus Swen slept seated in a chair for two nights after the Cowboys returned from their painful road trip to Champaign.
Wyoming’s star running back suffered bruised ribs in the 38-6 loss to Illinois and did not rest on his back until he was treated on the table at the coach on Monday.
Swen is optimistic he’ll be in the backfield when the Pokes host Tulsa on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium (1:30 p.m., FS1).
“I feel like by Saturday I’ll be ready to roll,” he said.
In fact, Swen would like to be even more involved on offense after racking up 98 yards on 17 carries (5.8 yards per attempt) against the Illini.
Andrew Peasley struggled in his debut as the UW’s starting quarterback, going 5 for 20 passing for 30 yards with one interception.
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The shaky performance behind center came despite the offensive line providing Peasley with great protection and opening up holes in the running game.
“We had the game plan. I wish we had stayed there a little longer,” Swen said. “But we went over there and that’s what we put over there.”
UW finished with 182 rushing yards with Peasley scampering for 76 yards on eight carries. The offense will likely rely on the ground game until Peasley can gain some confidence throwing the ball.
At least that’s what Swen hopes against the Golden Hurricane.
“I feel good, I feel ready. This loss kind of fired me up,” Swen said. “I know we can run the ball. So this week, it’s like we’re gonna run this fucking ball.
Peasley’s leadership has been praised by his new teammates since the transfer from Utah State arrived on campus in January to begin winter training.
That’s why UW’s new QB1 was named team captain, along with tight end Treyton Welch, linebacker Easton Gibbs and nose guard Cole Godbout.
The chemistry between Peasley and the wide receivers is much better than it looked against Illinois, according to associate head coach/passing game coordinator Mike Grant.
“Throughout camp, it was really good,” Grant said. “The speed of the game was kind of a novelty there. It was our first chance to see everything that was going on and on.
The Illini defense has a secondary fort. Same story for the Golden Hurricane.
Grant’s receivers will have to beat man-to-man media coverage on Saturday or it will be a tough opener for Peasley and the Pokes.
“(Illinois is) very talented at the back, but going forward we can do some things to try to get a better separation with the formations and other things,” Grant said. “It was just such a choking effect and we weren’t quite on the pace in the passing game.”
Both Tulsa and UW were members of the WAC from 1996 to 1998 before the Cowboys were part of the group that split from the 16-team league to form the Mountain West.
In the only conference meeting between the two programs, the Golden Hurricane shut out the Pokes 35-0 in Tulsa in 1998, costing Dana Dimel’s team a bowl invite.
The series is tied 3-3 with UW winning the first three meetings and the Golden Hurricane on a three-game winning streak, including a 24-21 win in 2019.
Phil Dickens’ Cowboys beat Tulsa 23-19 in the first meeting in 1955.
The Golden Hurricane is a 6 ½ point favorite, but the last time Tulsa opened a season with a road win was Sept. 4, 2009. The program is 0-7 in the road opener since that win. 37-13 at Tulane 13. from. …
UW is 6-2 in home openers under Craig Bohl, including last year’s thrilling 19-16 win over Montana State. …
The Cowboys are 7-11 against teams currently in the American Athletic Conference. In addition to splitting the previous six meetings with Tulsa, UW is 1-6 against Houston, 2-1 against SMU and 1-1 against Temple.
“We had a one-game donnybrook there in Tulsa a few years ago,” Bohl said of UW’s loss to Tulsa in 2019 in which several Pokes were injured, including the offensive lineman Logan Harris, who was taken to hospital with a concussion. “It will be a physical match (Saturday).
Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn