Sometimes the sequel ends up being better than the original, but that currently does not look like the case so far in the Josh Allen Project. During the previous installment, which was the first, the outlook on the 2017 college football season for University of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was quite bright. However, just under half way through the season, it’s looking like he might be struggling. Yes, Allen’s Cowboys are 4-2 with a 2-0 record in the Mountain West Conference – but he is beating the teams he is supposed to beat, and not any of the teams where it should be a challenge.
Allen started off the season with a rough loss to a 4-2 Iowa team that is currently sitting in third place in the Big Ten West, although Iowa did suffer just a two point loss to #4 Penn State who is currently unbeaten and so far uncontested (other than the Iowa game). Although Allen did throw two interceptions while completing 58% of his passes, he was not helped out much by the rest of his offense. The Wyoming defense, on the other hand, looked for much of the game like they could hold down the Hawkeyes’ offense led by sophomore quarterback Nathan Stanley who had backed up C.J. Beathard (who is now the starter for the San Francisco 49ers) last year. The Wyoming defense took the ball away from Iowa thrice on fumbles and the senior cornerback Rico Gathers, an Iowa native, added an interception for a total of four takeaways by the Cowboys. But it was quite evident that the offense had to get used to not having runningbacks Brian Hill (now with Atlanta Falcons) and Shaun Wick, receiver Tanner Gentry (now with the Chicago Bears, and tight end Jacob Hollister (now with the New England Patriots).
Second week of the season, Josh Allen was given a much easier opponent in the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs. He amassed 328 passing yards with a pair of touchdowns, while completing 69% of his passes. However, things went back to being rough the following week when the Oregon Ducks came into Laramie with an undefeated record and left with a 49-13 victory over the Cowboys. Against the Ducks, Allen only managed to throw for 64 yards on 24 attempts with an interception, his completion percentage was a mere 38%. On the bright side, Allen was able to gain 25 yards on the ground (on 8 carries) with a touchdown.
The following week, the Cowboys had a much more winnable match-up going against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. However, Allen remained mostly dormant until the game went to overtime tied at 21. In overtime, Allen found receiver James Price for a 25 yard touchdown on the first play. The following drive, Wyoming linebacker Cassh Maluia ended the game with an interception to give Wyoming the 28-21 victory. Allen ended the game with just 92 yards and the lone touchdown, while completing just 47% of his passes. The next week, Texas State came into Laramie for the Cowboys’ fourth straight home game. This time Allen and the Cowboys easily handled the Bobcats en route to a 45-10 victory. Allen finished with 219 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions (for the second week in a row) – while completing 58% of his passes.
Last week, Josh Allen and the University of Wyoming went on the road to play against Utah State. The Cowboys and Aggies played a close 60 minutes, but ultimately Wyoming was victorious by a score of 28-23. Josh Allen threw for 208 yards while adding 36 more yards on the ground. He completed 69% of his passes while throwing an interception and a touchdown, he also added a touchdown on the ground to total for two scores on the night.
Despite some of the struggles this year, Allen has still shown that he is getting better. Allen has shown that he can maintain his poise and make things happen in close games – which will be a valuable asset at the next level. Currently, Mel Kiper of ESPN has Allen ranked as a top-15 pick in the upcoming draft class and points out that Allen has a severe lack of talent surrounding him, and he believes that Allen will only get better once he starts playing on Sundays. Kiper’s fellow ESPN analyst Todd McShay went a step further and stated that he believes Josh Allen is a top ten selection, and says he is even better than UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Looking forward, Allen will have to show that he can keep improving. He is going to have to start beating the teams he is expected to beat and stop having close games with teams he should be able to light up. Josh Allen and the Wyoming Cowboys have the perfect chance to show they can win the Mountain West this year when they travel to Boise State this weekend to face a Broncos team that is also 4-2 (2-0 in the Mountain West). Wyoming did beat Boise State last year when the Broncos were ranked #13 in the nation, so we will see what happens when the two face off this Saturday.