- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - On Sept. 5, Cameron Coffman took his first hit in years. Literally.

The Wyoming senior quarterback sat out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules after coming from Indiana, where he had a breakout year in 2012 but played mostly in garbage time in 2013.

So when a North Dakota defensive lineman put a lick on him in the first half of the Cowboys’ season opener, Coffman encountered a bit of a reality check.

“In the last two years, I’ve had my practice jersey on, haven’t been getting hit, so it was definitely a change,” he said. “You have to play a little different. You can’t just stand in there and make all the throws you want like you can in practice, so it’s just getting used to knowing you have to get the ball out of your hands a lot quicker.”

Having finished second in the Big Ten in passing yards per game as a sophomore, he didn’t face a steep learning curve. As evidenced by his performance against Washington State on Saturday, he hasn’t needed much time to shake off the rust, either.

“I think every single week it’ll be a little better,” Coffman told the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1Ouzn0Z). “I mean, versus North Dakota was my first time playing in a while. I felt comfortable this game and I’m sure I’ll feel more comfortable next week.”

In the 24-13 loss to UND, Coffman completed 19 of 37 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He missed the Cowboys’ second game of the season - a 48-29 loss to Eastern Michigan - with a sprained right MCL. Last week in a 31-14 defeat at Washington State, Coffman was 25-of-36 passing for 296 yards and two touchdowns with a late interception.

“We thought he played better than he did against the University of North Dakota,” UW coach Craig Bohl said. “I think his numbers (showed that). He also had better mobility than what we had thought. I wouldn’t say he was 100 percent with his knee, but he was awfully close, but you still don’t know how he’s going to elude the rush and get it to some other receivers.

“He played well. He’ll need to come out and play a little bit better this week. Obviously the one interception did hurt us, so he’s going to learn from that. But we were pleased with Cam’s performance.”

In total, he’s completed 44 of 73 passes (60.3 percent completion rate) for 578 yards and four touchdowns with one interception in two games.

As a sophomore at Indiana, he had a similar completion rate - 60.7 percent - on 247-of-407 passing for 2,734 yards. His touchdown-to-interception ratio has improved as well, having thrown 15 TDs and 11 picks in 2012.

“He’s done a good job and I thought he threw the ball accurately (against Washington State),” UW offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said. “… I thought he avoided the rush well. His comfort level grows every week. He’s not a five-year vet that’s getting bored out there for sure. Every week is a new learning experience.”

Coffman said some of his comfort can be attributed to the varying styles of 3-4 defenses he’s faced. North Dakota posed challenges with its stunts and blitzes, while Washington State played more of a standard 3-4 with less pressure from linebackers and defensive backs.

“They played more of a base defense,” he said of WSU, “so that’s always fun to play against when you’re a quarterback, when they’re not bringing a lot of pressure.”

Defenses aside, the Peculiar, Missouri, native has shown signs of progress in his final season of college football, albeit in a pair of losses.

Coffman hasn’t started in a victory since Nov. 3, 2012, a 24-21 Hoosiers win over Iowa. And Wyoming is riding a six-game losing streak dating back to last season.

He’s focused on ending both of those droughts.

“It’s fun to get back out there and play again,” he said. “I think I’m just getting more comfortable every week.

“We’ve got a lot of things we can build on and a lot of places we need to get better.”

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