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Wyoming freshman QB stays grounded

AP Photo Wyoming freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels throws a pass during the second half of Wyoming's 30-27 win over UNLV on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- His coach gave him an 'A' grade for his performance.

The conference honored him with an award.

But true freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels hasn't figured it all out when it comes to playing quarterback at the college level.

Carta-Samuels was 24 of 37 for 234 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in his first-career start in UW's 30-27 win over UNLV last Saturday.

"I think I let us down a lot," he said Monday during the team's weekly news conference in the Rochelle Athletics Center. "I made a lot of mistakes that need to be fixed. Sure, I had a good game as a true freshman, and a lot of people are giving me a lot of praise, but there's a lot I need to fix."

Especially at the start of games.

UW's first offensive possession was on the UNLV 7-yard line after a turnover, but it lost five yards on four plays and settled for a field goal.

Carta-Samuels said the first few plays of the game were scripted, but not for being that close to the end zone, so that was tough to adjust to on the fly.

But UW's next two drives gained 17 yards on nine plays.

"If I have those things fixed before that first quarter, that game would have been a lot different," Carta-Samuels said.

The Cowboys (2-2) also started slowly in the third quarter as they went three-and-out on their first two drives.

"I think as a unit we've got to start faster on both sides of the ball," UW coach Dave Christensen said. "Particularly in the first and third quarter. Statistically, we haven't been good in those quarters. We've got to take steps to improve that."

UW has been outscored 24-10 in the first quarter and 35-14 in the third.

Saturday's game at Florida Atlantic (0-3) may be what UW needs to get off to better starts. The Owls have been outscored 27-9 in the first quarter and 42-0 in the third.

Despite those struggles, much of the talk around UW is about Carta-Samuels.

He shared the Mountain West Conference's Offensive Player of the Week with TCU junior quarterback Andy Dalton.

"A girl told me (Monday morning) in psychology class congratulations," he said. "I asked about what and she said I was named Mountain West player of the week. I went on the Web site, and I saw a picture of me and Andy Dalton, and he is someone I look up to.

"To see us together, that's when it hit me that I'm a freshman starting quarterback in college. My mom called me, and she was crying and told me, 'You did it.'

"But you have to take a step back on that and focus on Saturday. It's fun to get caught up in that stuff, but if you do it will deviate from our game plan and what we want to do in the future."