Wyoming meets potent Kent State in Idaho Bowl

Field Level Media

December 19, 2021 at 3:37 pm.

For fans of the associative property of mathematics, the outcome of Tuesday’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl should seem elementary.

Wyoming in September edged Northern Illinois, which then defeated Kent State in the Mid-American Conference championship on Dec. 4 to avenge a regular-season defeat.

That means Wyoming (6-6) should prevail against Kent State (7-6) when the teams meet in Boise, Idaho, correct?

Cowboys coach Craig Bohl wishes things could be so simple.

“I’d be less than honest with all you guys saying I know 100 percent what team is going to show up,” Bohl said to reporters on Thursday. “This has been a frustrating deal for me, and I need to take ownership for that.”

Wyoming lost two of three to close the regular season, ending with a 38-14 home loss to Hawaii on Nov. 27 in which quarterback Levi Williams was limited to 204 yards of offense. Williams played with a bruised knee, but Bohl confirmed his health entering the bowl game.

The Cowboys also received a boost when they learned All-American linebacker Chad Muma planned to play in the game rather than opt out in deference to his 2022 NFL Draft prospects.

Now, Bohl hopes the roster can play to form and bring the kind of consistency that fueled the team’s 4-0 start.

“Sometimes in the midst of my angst and grinding through, I’ve got to remember we won six games and we beat two conference champions,” Bohl said. “So for us to be in a bowl game is a reward. It’s also an opportunity to take another step forward.”

Kent State also ended the regular season with a loss, falling 41-23 to NIU. The Golden Flashes fell behind 17-0 midway through the second quarter.

Fourth-year coach Sean Lewis views the game as an opportunity for the program to continue its progression.

“Every single year we’ve been able to take positive strides forward,” Lewis said. “We established our culture in year one. We won our first bowl game in year two. … We got to the big stage and the ultimate goal this year and we came up short, but we got to learn again.

“In the big picture of where we started, where we’re at and where we’re going, I’m incredibly proud.”

The Golden Flashes averaged 32.6 points a game compared to 23.2 for Wyoming. Kent State’s Dustin Crum has passed for 2,922 yards and 16 touchdowns, while Marquez Cooper has 1,080 rushing yards to go with 11 scores.