EUGENE — Craig Bohl's third game as coach at Wyoming was a trip to Autzen Stadium in 2014 when Oregon jump-started its run to the College Football Playoff with a 48-14 win over the Cowboys.
Willie Taggart will repay that visit with a trip to War Memorial Stadium during his third game as coach of the Ducks on Saturday at 4 p.m.
"We are excited to play Oregon at home because any time you have an opportunity to get a nationally recognized program here, it speaks well for our university," Bohl said Monday. "They have an excellent football team and Willie Taggart has a great reputation around the country as a builder and changer of cultures. I have admired his work at Western Kentucky, South Florida and now Oregon."
Bohl reminded the Ducks that they will play at elevation in Laramie, Wyoming.
"We will play at 7,220 feet with our fans, and there is an X-factor there," Bohl said. "We will leverage that. The best thing is to get our guys prepared with a great week of practice and play with poise and composure and have the attitude to win the game. Our coaching staff has been in big games before so it will be great playing at home. I am excited about that."
Bohl arrived at Wyoming after three straight FCS championships at North Dakota State while going 43-2 during that span. The Nebraska graduate was on the Cornhuskers' staff when they won national titles in 1995 and 1997.
He got an up-close look at the national runner-up three years ago this week when Marcus Mariota went 19 for 23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns while running for 71 yards and two scores for the Ducks en route to winning the Heisman Trophy.
"It was a different level of speed," Bohl recalled. "While schematically they runs some different things, you still see speed and explosion and they score a lot of points. ... The last guy we went against there is playing for the Titans. They found another good one who has great promise."
Sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert has completed 77.8 percent of his passes for 646 yards and four scores in Oregon's two victories as the Ducks rank second in the nation with 634.5 yards per game. Oregon rolled up 556 yards against Wyoming the first time it faced Bohl, whose background comes on defense.
"It is different than the last time because they have a new staff and we have a more seasoned defense," Bohl said. "We have to play well, but the guys are excited about this opportunity."
Wyoming lost its opener, 24-3, at Iowa before beating Gardner-Webb 27-0.
"I was pleased with the shutout because that is hard to do," Bohl said. "Our defense continues to make strides as far as having the ability to make plays and assignments."
Wyoming ranks 12th in the NCAA by allowing 229 yards per game including 73.5 passing, which ranks third in the country.
"We are bigger and a lot of our younger players are now experienced," Bohl said. "This will be a great test for us. What concerns you about Oregon as a team is that they are balanced with a quarterback who can throw the ball and capable receivers, either tight ends or wide receivers. They make you cover the whole field and, combined with an excellent running attack, that poses problems as to how you deploy defensive guys. We have to defend the run and be back on the pass and that is easier said than done. ... When you play somebody like this, you can stop the run if you sell out but they have the ability to throw the ball not only short or intermediate, but long range. It will be a challenge but the good news is we feel good about our defensive players and we need them to show up."