Wyoming Football Does Well in Conference Awards

photo by Darrell Johnson, KFBC radio

by staff–29 Nov ’16

The Mountain West Conference released its 2016 All-Conference Football Team on Tuesday and two of the top honors went to members of the Wyoming Football program.  Head coach Craig Bohl was voted the Coach of the Year and redshirt freshman linebacker Logan Wilson was named Freshman of the Year.  A total of 10 Wyoming Cowboys earned honors, including First Team selections Brian Hill at running back, Jacob Hollister at tight end, Chase Roullier at offensive line and Andrew Wingard at defensive back.  Second Team honorees were Josh Allen at quarterback, Tanner Gentry at wide receiver and D.J. May at return specialist.  Linebacker Lucas Wacha earned Honorable Mention honors.

        The All-Conference Team was selected in a vote of the 12 Mountain West head football coaches and media members from across the Mountain West.

Coach of the Year

        Craig Bohl led the Wyoming Cowboys to a berth in the 2016 Mountain West Conference Championship Game as the champion of the Mountain Division.  Bohl guided UW to an 8-4 regular-season record and a 6-2 conference mark in his third season in Laramie.  Under Bohl’s guidance, the Cowboys were one of four schools in the nation with the most improved record in the country.  Wyoming improved its win total by six games over last season.  Only Colorado, Eastern Michigan and Central Florida also improved their win totals by six wins from the end of the 2015 regular season to the end of the 2016 regular season.  Wyoming recorded wins over two Top 25 teams in 2016 — No. 13 Boise State and No. 24 San Diego State.  That marked the first time since 2002 that UW had two wins over Top 25 ranked teams in the same season.  Wyoming also posted a perfect 6-0 home record for the first time since 1996.

Freshman of the Year

        Logan Wilson had an outstanding freshman season.  He ranks No. 1 among MW freshmen in tackles, averaging 6.7 tackles per game.  Ranks No. 21 overall in the MW in tackles (6.6 per game).  He was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Utah State, with seven tackles, one interception for 56 yards and one fumble recovery.   Wilson has scored two touchdowns on the season — one on a 27-yard interception return at Eastern Michigan and one on a fumble recovery in the end zone against UNLV.  Had a personal high 13 tackles at UNLV.

First Team Selections

        Brian Hill ranks No. 5 in the nation in rushing yards per game (139.5).  He was one of 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation’s outstanding college running back.  Hill set a new UW career rushing record with 4,101 yards, and he broke his own Wyoming single-season rushing record with 1,674 yards thus far this season.  Hill has now scored 34 career rushing touchdowns to tie former Cowboy All-American Eddie Talboom for the Wyoming school record.

        Jacob Hollister  enjoyed an exceptional senior season.  He ranks No. 6 in the MW in yards per reception (16.83 yards per catch).   He ranks No. 7 in the MW in TD receptions (6).  Hollister led all Mountain West tight ends with 29 receptions for 488 yards and 6 TDs in 2016.  Named the MW Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 30-28 win over #13 Boise State, catching six passes for 144 yards and 2 TDs.  His best performances of the season have been: 144 yards on 6 catches and 2 TDs vs. Boise State, 4 catches for 91 yards and 1 TD at UNLV, 69 yards on 4 receptions and 1 TD vs. Utah State and 52 yards on 3 catches vs. San Diego State.  He was also selected a team captain as a senior.

        Chase Roullier was named to the 2016 Outland Trophy Watch List.  He was also selected to the 2016 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List.  The Cowboy senior was named a Semifinalist for the 2016 National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Scholar-Athlete Trophy.  He moved to center for his senior season, after earning Second Team All-MW honors as an offensive guard in 2015.  Roullier has had his best season in 2016, helping Wyoming rise to the top of the Mountain Division with wins over two Top 25 teams.  He is Wyoming’s leader on an offensive line unit that has helped the Cowboys rank No. 1 in the MW in scoring offense (38.2 points per game).  Roullier was voted a team captain his senior season.

        Andrew Wingard was one of 16 national semifinalists for the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive back.  He ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 11 in the NCAA in total tackles in 2016, averaging 9.9 tackles per game.  Wingard ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 14 in the NCAA in solo tackles in 2016, averaging 5.8 solo tackles per game.  He leads all MW defensive backs in total tackles per game in 2016 (9.9 tackles per game).  He was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in a win at Colorado  State, recording 17 total tackles including  10 solo tackles.  He haas 119 total tackles this season. 

Second Team Selections

        Josh Allen was one of the breakout stars of the Mountain West in 2016.  He led the MW in points responsible for (15.7 point per game) and touchdown passes (23).  He was named a Manning Award Star of the Week three out of four weeks in midseason and was named the National Manning  Award Star of the Week winner for his performance against Utah State.  He is the quarterback of the No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the MW and No. 21 in the nation (38.2 points per game).  Allen ranks No. 3 in the nation in average passing yards per completion (15.44 yards per completion).  He ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 40 in the nation in total offense (269.6 yards per game).  Allen is also No. 2 in the MW and No. 52 in the nation in passing yards (229.0 yards per game).  The sophomore was selected the MW Offensive Player of the Week for his performance vs. Northern Illinois where he scored the winning TD in triple overtime.  He also earned the MW Offensive Player of the Week honor for his performance vs.Utah State.

        Tanner Gentry recorded a 1,000-yard receiving season his senior season, marking the first time since 2005 that a Cowboy receiver had 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.  He ended the regular season with 62 receptions for 1,132 yards and scored 11 receiving TDs.  Ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 15 in the nation in receiving TDs (11).  Gentry ranks No. 3 in the MW and No. 21 in the nation in receiving yards (94.3).  He is No. 4 in the MW and No. 29 in the nation in average yards per reception (18.26).  He has had six 100-yard receiving games and eight games of 90 or more yards receiving in 2016.  His 184 receiving yards at UNLV was a personal high and included two spectacular one-handed catches — one of which tied the game and sent it to overtime with no time remaining in regulation.  He caught a 27-yard TD pass against Boise State to tie the game at 28-28 on way to a 30-28 Wyoming victory.  Gentry made a magnificent 35-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone versus Nebraska as time expired in the first half.

         D.J. May was one of the most dynamic kick returners in the Mountain West in 2016.  He ranks No. 2 in the league and No. 11 in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 27.9 yards per return.  He returned 16 kickoffs for 447 yards this season, with a long return of 59 yards.  His best game returning kicks this season came against UNLV, where he had a 49-yard return to setup a Wyoming field goal and a 59-yard return for a season long.  May maintained his effectiveness on kick returns while starting full-time at outside linebacker/nickel for the Wyoming Defense.  He was credited with 57 total tackles, 2.0 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 3 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble this season.  Recovered a fumble and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown against Air Force.  A leader of a Wyoming defense that ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 3 in the nation in defensive TDs (5).  Part of a Wyoming defense that ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 26 in the nation in forcing turnovers (22).

 Honorable Mention Selections

        Lucas Wacha is the leader of the Cowboy defense from his middle linebacker position and as a defensive team captain.   Wacha ranks No. 9 among all MW linebackers in tackles, averaging 8.2 per game.  Ranks No. 12 among all MW players at all position in tackles (8.2 per game).  Has 98 total tackles for the season.  Has had 3.0 sacks and 8.0 tackles for loss in 2016.  Recorded a personal best 16 tackles at UNLV.  Also had a double-figure tackle game against Eastern Michigan with 11 tackles.  Has been amazingly consistent in 2016, recording 7 or more tackles in 10 of 12 games.  He recorded a critical fumble recovery in Wyoming’s 34-33 win over San Diego State.  That recovery led to a field goal by the Cowboys on way to a one-point victory.