Running Backs Lead the Way in Pokes' 2 Wins

Running Backs Lead the Way in Pokes' 2 Wins

Laramie, Wyoming isn't noted for an excess of rainstorms, but so far, visitors to the Cowboy State have seen their fair share of Thunder and Lightning—at least within the confines of War Memorial Stadium.

Wyoming football's dynamic running back duo of big, bruising Wynel Seldon and lightning quick Devin Moore have lived up to their Glenn-given monikers in the Pokes' first two games of 2007.

Virginia's highly touted defense couldn't stop them. The pair rolled up 199 yards and a touchdown on the ground against the Cavaliers, who returned 10 starters from a 2006 defense ranked No. 17 in the nation. Seldon and Moore were successful in the passing game against UVA as well, combining for 59 yards receiving on five catches.

"It eventually comes down to a game of playmaking," Virginia coach Al Groh said after the game. "It was quite apparent that Wyoming did a real good job.

"They got a lot of plays out of their running back position."

They did indeed, like Moore's 28 yards rushing and receiving during a third-quarter drive that set up a field goal and gave the Pokes a 13-3 lead—as well as a bit of cushion down the stretch. Then there was Seldon's 48-yard fourth-quarter performance that complemented a late 49-yard touchdown scamper from Moore.

"The kids ran hard and blocked well," Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said. "We rushed for 218 yards (as a team) against a good defense."

While the Cowboys got solid production from both backs, the season opener truly belonged to Moore. The blazing fast junior seemed unstoppable from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, racking up 125 yards rushing on just 18 carries (6.9 ypc) and finishing with 184 all-purpose yards to go along with his big touchdown run.


Moore carries the ball against Utah State.

Perhaps more impressive was his attitude after the game.

"I think if it would have been Wynel, he would have done the same," Moore said of his touchdown run. "The offensive line, I just have to give all the credit to them."

Moore made similarly selfless comments after the Cowboys' next game, when Seldon stole the spotlight and punched in two fourth-quarter touchdowns that helped Wyoming regain the lead over a scrappy Utah State squad.

Twice during the final period, with the ball on the one-yard line and the Cowboys needing points to initially take the lead and finally seal the win, Seldon drove low through defenders, pushing his way into the end zone and remaining on his feet even after crossing the goal line.


Seldon crossing the goal line against USU.

"I was more than happy about it," Moore said of watching his backfield comrade power his way in for the scores. "Someone on the street actually told me that the one touchdown should have been mine. But it's not a big deal. He's a bigger back, so when we get down to the goal line, it's expected for him to be in at that time.

"We've just got that bond between each other," Moore added. "If the defense is adapting to my style of running, then Wynel can come in and do his thing. But if they're adapting to his style of running at the time, I'll come in and hopefully do my thing."

Both backs got a chance to do their thing against USU, and while Seldon was the late-game hero, it became clear that what makes the duo truly dangerous is that they are about as different as, well, lightning and thunder. Both backs put up 85 yards on the ground against the Aggies, but Seldon seemed to carry the team's offense during a thorny third-quarter that saw Moore struggle and the Pokes fall behind for the first time in '07. The big back put up 48 yards on just four carries in the period, bowling over defenders and wearing down a defense that then couldn't keep up with Moore's speed down the stretch. The little man sliced past USU defenders for 26 yards of his own during the Cowboys' final offensive possession—one that culminated in Seldon's second score.

"They seemed to feed off each other," Glenn said, "so if Devin did well, Wynel came in and did just as well. The two of them did a great job complementing each other."

Whether Wyoming's double act in the running game will continue to stifle defenses throughout the Pokes' schedule remains to be seen. With Boise State, Ohio and TCU looming in the Cowboys' near future, Seldon and Moore may be hard-pressed to put up the kind of numbers fans have seen in their first two outings. On the other hand, after running all over Virginia and Utah State, Wyoming's next three opponents may want to take a long look at the Pokes' first two games of film before planning their defensive schemes. Then again, they aren't likely to find a blueprint for shutting down the dynamic duo.

"I think that's probably the biggest difference in our team this year from years past," Glenn said. "Since I've been here, we've never been able to run the ball with this kind of a flare. These guys are a year older, a year stronger, a year faster—their speed has come down and down—and a year bigger. D-Mo (Moore) is up to 191 and Wynel is 218, and they're strong. D-Mo benched 370 pounds, and Wynel's really strong, so it's been a huge difference. It's the biggest change in our football team."

Seldon and Moore are on pace to put up more than 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground by season's end. Wyoming has never had two players rush for more than 1,000 yards in the same season, and while it may be a bit early to make predictions, after two games, the twosome is nearly on track to accomplish the feat. Moore is averaging 105 yards per contest on the ground—a pace that would rank him No. 3 all-time in single-season rushing yards at Wyoming with 1260. Seldon's average is slightly lower at 79.5 ypg, but the junior is nonetheless on track to finish just shy of the 1,000-yard mark himself.

Still, Wyoming's backfield is in no hurry to get ahead of itself.

"We take it game by game," Seldon said after the USU win. "Today we started a new season…Last week, we put that behind us, and next week, we'll put this game behind us and…start another season again."

"It's all about execution," said Moore. "That's one of the main things we've been focusing on. That's from the offensive line down to the running backs and all the way to the receivers. Our coaches have been harping on executing perfectly, and that's what we've been doing in practice, and obviously it's been transferring over into the games."

Execution, selflessness, big numbers, two straight wins, multiple touchdowns and an ability to build off each other's accomplishments—what more could coaches ask from their two star running backs?

"Focus," Seldon said. "We all got to stay focused on offense. We got to stay focused in our assignments. We got to stay focused in the running game and the passing game and just play fundamentally sound."

"Our coaches have been quizzing us, so to speak, just like it was in the classroom," Moore explained, "so we've been getting the classroom part down and then coming out here on the field and trying to execute on the field.

"We're going to keep doing that."

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