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Wyoming Pro Sports Report (9/13/22): Allen starts NFL MVP charge with a bang in season opener

Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Pro Sports Report is a weekly piece from Cap City News recapping all of what the current Wyoming-connected professional sports athletes accomplished this week on the fields, courts and diamonds.

Below is a look at everyone who represented the Cowboy State at the highest levels of their respective sports this past week.

NOTE: The following players listed went to the University of Wyoming at some point in their college careers, played high school sports in the state, or both. For the NFL, only players currently on or recently a part of active rosters are listed.

FOOTBALL

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (UW)

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The preseason NFL MVP betting favorite lived up to lofty expectations as Allen was the star of the show in the game that officially kicked off the 2022 NFL regular season, a 31–10 Buffalo blowout of the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Thursday at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Allen went 26-for-31 passing for 297 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, adding in 56 yards and a touchdown rushing for good measure as the former Cowboy frequently ripped the Rams’ secondary to shreds. Wideouts Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie were the recipients of his touchdown throws as Allen was an influential piece behind the Bills’ 21 unanswered second-half points.

The 26-year-old gunslinger’s quarterback rating of 112 was the sixth highest of Week 1 among quarterbacks that attempted at least 20 passes. His rushing yard total was also the third-most among quarterbacks this past week, only behind the Atlanta Falcons’ Marcus Mariota (72) and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts (90).

The Bills have a long break before their next game against the Tennessee Titans at 5:15 p.m. Monday in Buffalo. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

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Logan Wilson, LB, Cincinnati Bengals (UW/Natrona County High School)

The Bengals were the recipient of a wild 23–20 overtime loss Sunday to an AFC North rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Wilson shook off the rust from offseason shoulder surgery to tie for the team lead with eight total tackles for the defending AFC champions.

Cincinnati’s leading tackler this past season despite missing four games due to his shoulder injury, Wilson, now 26, played every single defensive snap in Week 1 as the Casper native and former Cowboy is widely expected to be one of the leaders on a solid Bengals defense. Wilson additionally had a Pro Football Focus rating of 86.7 out of 100 against Pittsburgh, ranking second on the team only behind defensive tackle D.J. Reader.

Wilson and the Bengals will attempt to bounce back against the Dallas Cowboys — who will be missing quarterback Dak Prescott due to a thumb injury — at 2:25 p.m. Sunday.

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Chad Muma, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars (UW)

Despite playing with the first-team defense at points this preseason, Muma, a third-round pick by Jacksonville in this summer’s NFL Draft, only played eight snaps on defense in the Jaguars’ 28–22 loss to the Washington Commanders on Sunday. Muma assisted on one tackle in his NFL regular-season debut.

Muma is currently second on Jacksonville’s depth chart at right inside linebacker behind Foyesade Oluokun, who played 100% of the Jaguars’ defensive snaps against the Commanders.

Muma will hope to see more first-team action in Jacksonville’s next game against the Indianapolis Colts at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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Marcus Epps, S, Philadelphia Eagles (UW)

Named a starter at strong safety prior to the regular season, Epps proved his coaches right in their decision by notching a team-high 10 combined tackles in Philly’s 38–35 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. It was the second time that the undrafted 26-year-old had tallied double-digit tackles in a single game in his career.

Epps played every defensive snap and notched a tackle for loss in the process as the Eagles’ secondary limited Lions quarterback Jared Goff to 215 yards passing. He also picked up a downfield block for teammate James Bradberry’s interception return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter.

Philly will attempt to turn the win into a streak in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings and superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson (who had 184 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches) at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Chase Roullier, C, Washington Commanders (UW)

Roullier made his first regular-season appearance since fracturing his fibula in Week 8 of last season by playing all of Washington’s offensive snaps in the Commanders’ 28–22 win over the Jaguars.

The former sixth-round pick did well to protect new quarterback Carson Wentz, who played a great game under center as he threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns while only being sacked once. Washington picked up 85 rushing yards on the day helped by Roullier up front as well, with tailback Antonio Gibson getting the bulk of the production with 58 yards on the ground.

Washington will visit Detroit to play the Lions next at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Tashaun Gipson, S, San Francisco 49ers (UW)

It’s been a wild few weeks for the former Pro Bowler as Gipson all in the past month has been signed by the 49ers, released as part of final roster cuts, signed again to the team’s practice squad, then elevated back to the active roster for San Francisco’s season opener against the Chicago Bears — his team last season — on Sunday.

The 32-year-old played on all but one of Niners’ defensive snaps on a mud-clogged Soldier Field in Chicago, picking up three total tackles and helping hold Bears quarterback Justin Fields to 8-for-17 passing for 121 yards, but San Francisco couldn’t escape the Windy City with a win as Chicago emerged victorious with a 19–10 scoreline.

With the play time for the Niners, the Texan officially suited up for his fifth NFL team in his career along with the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jaguars and Bears. San Francisco faces an NFC West foe, the Seattle Seahawks, next at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.

Andrew Wingard, S, Jacksonville Jaguars (UW)

Wingard, one of the leading producers on the Jaguars’ defense last season as he notched 88 total tackles, perhaps surprisingly didn’t see the field at all on defense in Jacksonville’s loss to Washington this past weekend. He did pick up a tackle on special teams, however.

The undrafted strong safety is currently listed as the backup at his position on the Jaguars’ depth chart behind veteran Rayshawn Jenkins, who was conversely on the field for all of Jacksonville’s defensive snaps.

Wingard will hope to see more first-team action in Jacksonville’s next game against the Colts at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Carl Granderson, DT, New Orleans Saints (UW)

Granderson, who signed a two-year contract extension with New Orleans in the offseason, picked up two combined tackles in his 2022 debut with the team in the Saints’ narrow 27–26 win over the Falcons on Sunday.

The undrafted D-lineman played 30 defensive snaps (40% of New Orleans’ total snaps) as he improved a streak dating back to last season of 13 straight games played with a tackle.

The Saints take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Taven Bryan, DT, Cleveland Browns (Natrona County High School)

The former first-round pick and Mustangs legend made well on his regular-season debut with his new team, playing 83% of defensive snaps and recording a tackle in Cleveland’s 26–24 win over Carolina on Sunday.

Bryan, who spent four years with the Jaguars following a decorated college career at Florida, played over 80% of defensive snaps for the first time in his NFL career as the Casper native looks to be an integral part of a strong Browns defensive line.

Cleveland will take on the New York Jets for its next game at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Mike Purcell, DT, Denver Broncos (UW)

Purcell played 25 defensive snaps and eight special teams snaps, recording an assisted tackle in the process, in Denver’s 17–16 loss to Seattle on Monday night.

Undrafted out of UW in 2013, the Colorado native is now in his fourth season with the Broncos after he was released as part of final roster cuts last month but quickly resigned to the active roster.

The Broncos will try to regroup in time for their Week 2 game against the Houston Texans at 2:25 p.m. Sunday.

Jacob Bobenmoyer, LS, Denver Broncos (Cheyenne East High School)

Once again Denver’s long snapper, Bobenmoyer delivered footballs to new punter Corliss Waitman and veteran kicker Brandon McManus in the Broncos’ Monday night defeat to the Seahawks. The Cheyenne native did his job as Waitman booted away one punt and McManus connected on three of four field goals.

The former Thunderbird had perhaps the most important job on the field (besides the kicker) when Denver attempted what would’ve likely been a game-winning 64-yard field goal with 20 seconds left. Bobenmoyer’s snap was clean, but McManus’s kick — which would’ve tied for the second-longest in NFL history had it been converted — went wide left.

The Broncos will try to regroup in time for their Week 2 game against the Texans at 2:25 p.m. Sunday.

BASEBALL

Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets (Cheyenne East High School)

The former Thunderbird and Wyoming’s only current professional baseball player is now just eight games away from setting a new single-season high mark in games played in what’s been an injury-plagued career.

This season, Nimmo has been healthy and a very productive starter for the Mets, one of the best teams in baseball at 89–53, a mark that currently leads the National League East division and is the third best in the entirety of the MLB.

Nimmo additionally picked up his first three-RBI game since July 31 on Sunday, batting 2 of 4 with a double and a home run — his 14th of the season — as the 29-year-old also set a new personal single-season mark for RBI with 53, breaking his previous best of 47 set in 2018. He’s currently batting .265 on the year, a near-identical mark to his career average of .266.

As of Tuesday morning, New York holds a 1.5-game lead on the Atlanta Braves in the NL East with a magic number — or fewest games possible — of eight games to clinch a spot in the National League playoffs. The Mets continue a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday and Wednesday, play a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates from Thursday to Sunday, then travel to Milwaukee to play the Brewers as part of a three-game series starting Monday.


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