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Josh Allen rides off into sunset in Wyoming’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win

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In what was the last the college football world sees of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, he is going out a winner. Allen returned from a shoulder injury to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise on Friday afternoon and he threw three touchdowns to help Wyoming (8-5) to a 37-14 victory over Central Michigan (8-5). After the game, he declared his intention to enter the NFL Draft.

Considered by many to be among the top quarterback prospects on the big board for the 2018 NFL Draft, Allen’s final line will not be one that impresses many at first glance with 11-of-19 for 154 yards. But three touchdowns were thrown in the first quarter helped Wyoming jump out to a great start and allowed the Cowboys to keep control of the game for the remaining 45 minutes, and the game film may be a tad more kind to Allen when those who make the NFL decisions down the line get their chance to weigh in.

Central Michigan did themselves no favors with a school record eight turnovers in the game leading to 23 points, including a fumble returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Carl Granderson early in the fourth quarter. CMU quarterback Shane Morris was picked off four times by four different Wyoming players, and the Chippewas accounted for just four net rushing yards in the game.

Wyoming upheld an early theme to the bowl season by winning by a comfortable margin. The Potato Bowl, played on the home field of Mountain West Conference champion Boise State, moved the MWC to 2-1 this bowl season. Boise State topped Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, 38-28, but Colorado State lost to Marshall in the New Mexico Bowl last weekend. The MWC will see San Diego State in action on Saturday against Army in the Armed Forces Bowl, and Fresno State will take on Houston in the Hawaii Bowl on Sunday night.

It was an up-and-down day for the MAC, with Central Michigan losing just hours after Ohio dominated UAB in the Bahamas Bowl. The MAC is now 1-2, with Akron getting blown out by FAU in the Boca Raton Bowl. The MAC has two more cracks at a bowl win with Toledo facing Appalachian State in the Dollar General Bowl on Saturday and Northern Illinois facing Duke in the Quick Lane Bowl on Tuesday.

The win marked Wyoming’s first bowl win since 2009, and the first bowl victory for Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl since moving up from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State in 2014. After losing his first bowl game with Wyoming last season, Bohl is now .500 in postseason games as a FBS head coach.

Wyoming will open the 2018 season on the road on Aug. 25 at New Mexico State before hosting Washington State the following week. Central Michigan’s 2018 season kicks off on Sept. 1, 2018 at Kentucky.

Josh Allen tosses 3 TDs in first half of Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

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Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen said he would not play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl unless he was feeling 100 percent. After 30 minutes of football in Boise, it appears Allen’s shoulder is doing just fine. Allen has thrown three touchdowns to help push Wyoming to a 27-7 lead at halftime over Central Michigan. Wyoming has also scored 10 points off two Central Michigan turnovers in the first half.

Allen may be heading off to the NFL Draft after this game, and his performance in the first half should ease a few concerns about his shoulder injury that cost him a couple of games at the end of the regular season. Though he has not been taking to the air for big plays, Allen has been pretty accurate with his passing. Allen was examined in the medical tent at one point in the second quarter, but any concern about a foot or ankle injury was calmed when Allen returned to the field without missing any playing time.

Central Michigan got on the scoreboard in the first quarter when Shane Morris completed a 40-yard pass to Jonathan Ward for a touchdown. The call was initially ruled dead at the two-yard line, but an official instant replay review determined Ward did not step out of bounds and awarded the touchdown following the review.

Wyoming is looking for the first bowl win for the program since the New Mexico Bowl in 2009. If the Cowboys hold on, this will be Bohl’s first postseason win with Wyoming and his first since leading North Dakota State to a third-straight FCS national championship game victory in 2013. Central Michigan’s last bowl win was in the 2012 Little Caesars Bowl.

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 22 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 22 bowl menu, which today features the best feel-good team of the 2017 college football season as well as a quarterback who could be a Top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

WHO: UAB (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4)
WHAT: The 4th Bahamas Bowl
WHEN: 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
THE SKINNY: Normally, I couldn’t give a spit who wins any of these bowl games as long as they put on a good, entertaining show.  This is one of the lone exceptions, however, because how can you not root for the UAB football program in general and the players and coaches in particular?  After the administration unnecessarily disbanded the football program and then, under intense public pressure and alongside a massive fundraising effort, resurrected it less than a year later, the Blazers resumed football on the field in 2017 following a two-season sabbatical.  And what a remarkable return it was as Bill Clark‘s squad won eight games in the regular season, already the most in the program’s history — topping the old standard of seven set in 2004 — and finished second in the Conference USA’s West division.  After a so-so 4-3 start, they finished the regular season by winning four out of five games, with the lone loss being to Florida in Gainesville.   Oh, and have I mentioned that this will mark just the second-ever bowl game for the Blazers?  Fitting the glass slipper on this football Cinderella story won’t be easy, though.  Ohio has made its hay this season on the ground, finishing the regular season 17th in the country in rushing yards per game at just over 244; UAB, conversely, was slightly below average in giving up 169.8 ypg (71st out of 130 FBS teams).  The Blazers can also run the ball quite effectively as they’re 37th nationally (190.3 ypg); that plays right into the MAC school’s strength, however, as the Bobcats are 11th in stopping the run (111.4 ypg).  That said, Ohio stumbled into the postseason having lost two games in a row… and they’ve also lost three bowls game in a row… and, dammit, UAB is just too good of s story for it to end any other way than with a win.  Here’s to saying the program will celebrate its second-ever postseason tilt by winning in its first-ever bowl game.  That could just be the heart, not the head, talking, though.
THE LINE: UAB, +7
THE PREDICTION: UAB 27, Ohio 26

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WHO: Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Wyoming (7-5)
WHAT: The 21st Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
WHEN: 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
THE SKINNY: Arguably the marquee player with the most national name recognition today makes his appearance in this game, quarterback Josh Allen, after a little bit of injury uncertainty, suits up for and starts in what’s expected to be his last game at the collegiate level.  That said, Allen struggled this season compared to last as an inferior supporting cast and the injury to his throwing arm did him no favors; Central Michigan’s pass defense (23rd in the country, 188.2 ypg) could do him no favors in his college football swan song, either. … Neither team has had much success of late in the postseason, with the Chips dropping three bowl games in a row (last win: 2012) and the Cowboys two straight (last win: 2009). … If you’re looking for the hotter of the two teams in the here and now, it’s easily the MAC school as CMU closed out the regular season winning five in a row while their opponent today dropped two straight to end the year.  Allen didn’t play in those two losses, it should be noted, and UW was 7-3 in games the junior signal-caller started this season. … This bowl game will serve as a quasi-home game for the Cowboys as Boise is a mere 680 miles from Laramie.  For comparison’s sake, Kalamazoo is just over 1,800 miles away, so the Cowboys have that going for them.  Which is nice. … One stat of which you may not be aware before we leave: Wyoming is 12th in the country in scoring defense, giving up an average of just 17.8 points per game.
THE LINE: Central Michigan, +3½
THE PREDICTION: Central Michigan 24, Wyoming 20

Report: Former Wyoming coach Dave Christensen elevated to Arizona State OL coach

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Arizona State wasn’t kidding around about keeping Todd Graham’s coaching staff as intact as possible despite hiring Herm Edwards as the Sun Devils head coach. That reportedly includes elevating an analyst on the staff to a full-time position.

247Sports’ SunDevilSource, Edwards is expected to name former Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen as the team’s new offensive line coach to replace Rob Sale, who is following former offensive coordinator Billy Napier to Louisiana-Lafayette.

Christensen spent this past season in Tempe with the official title of  ‘Non-Coaching Consultant.’

While that familiarity will no doubt help the transition with Edwards taking over, it probably doesn’t hurt the fact that Christensen has head coaching experience in college from his five seasons with the Cowboys. He took the program to two bowl games and won league coach of the year honors once during his time in Laramie but his last on-field coaching assignment came in 2015 as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Texas A&M.

Edwards still has to hire a new defensive coordinator at Arizona State but the elevation of Christensen should pretty much lock up his offensive staff for 2018 after he promoted Rob Likens to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach last week.

Status of Wyoming QB Josh Allen for bowl game up in the air

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Josh Allen won’t be Fournetting or McCaffreying his team’s bowl game this season, but it’s still undetermined whether or not he’ll be able to play in it.

Allen has been dealing with an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder that kept him out of Wyoming’s last two games of the regular season. While he’s been practicing with his teammates in preparation for the Dec. 22 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl matchup with Central Michigan, his status for the postseason game is up in the air.

It appears though, that, one way or another, a decision on the quarterback’s availability will be made over the next several days.

“I’m still getting better day by day,” Allen said according to the Laramie Boomerang. “It is still not where I think it needs to be or want it to be, but things are progressively getting better. Throwing is becoming a lot easier, more effortless. I am on the right track, but we will be needing to know an answer (if I’m playing) in the coming days.

“I will be in the training room 24/7, trying to get back on the field, trust me.”

It’s believed that the junior is playing his final season with the Cowboys as he’s projected to be one of the first three or four quarterbacks taken in the 2018 NFL draft if he leaves early. In fact, he was introduced with Wyoming’s seniors on Senior Day late in the regular season, a clear sign that he’s all but out the door.

Players such as Allen have until mid-January to officially declare for the April draft.

Last season, Allen completed exactly 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Through 10 games this season, and with less of a supporting cast around him, the 6-5, 240-pound redshirt junior has hit on 56.2 percent of his attempts for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. His yards per attempt have gone down from 8.59 in 2016 to 6.61 in 2017, although he’s thrown a pick in every 42 attempts this season compared to one every 25 last season.