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Wyoming Loses to New Mexico 14-3 on Homecoming

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By Tim Harkins, University of Wyoming

The  Wyoming Cowboys were unable to overcome a 14-3 halftime deficit and fell to the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday by that same score as neither team scored points in the second half.  Wyoming is now 4-3 on the season and 0-3 in the Mountain West Conference.  New Mexico improved to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the conference.

For the second consecutive week, the Cowboy defense held the opposing offense in check for the majority of the game, giving up only 14 points and 259 total yards to New Mexico.  The week prior, UW’s defense held Fresno State to only 17 points — 22 under its scoring average — and 259 yards of total offense — half of its average of 519.8

Also for the second straight week, Wyoming’s offense generated similar total yards to its opponent — 255 total yards for Wyoming to 259 for New Mexico.  The previous week, the Cowboys out-gained Fresno State 271 to 259. 

But for the fourth straight week Wyoming lost the turnover battle as UW threw one interception and lost a fumble to the Lobos.  New Mexico didn’t commit any turnovers on the day.

An interception by the New Mexico defense in the first quarter turned into a 77-yard touchdown drive by Lobos.  The Cowboys also fumbled on their first possession of the fourth quarter, but Wyoming’s defense forced a field-goal attempt that was unsuccessful by New Mexico.

After winning the toss and deferring to the second half, Wyoming’s defense held New Mexico to 16 yards on five plays on the Lobos’ first drive of the day. 

Wyoming’s first possession began at its own 14-yard line.  The Cowboys led by quarterback Sean Chambers moved the ball 45 yards in 11 plays to the New Mexico 41-yard line.  On a third and nine at the 41, Chambers tried to find wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt down the right sideline at the UNM 19-yard line, but Lobo cornerback Corey Hightower intercepted the pass and returned it to the UNM 23.

The Lobos would move the ball to the UNM 48-yard line where they would face a fourth and one.  Running back Aaron Dumas would gain two yards on the play, giving UNM a first down at the 50.  Four plays later at the Wyoming 43-yard line, New Mexico would once again face a fourth down and three yards.  Lobo quarterback Isaiah Chavez would find tight end Trace Bruckler down the left hash for a 43-yard touchdown pass to give New Mexico a 7-0 lead with 1:22 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cowboys and Lobos would exchange punts on their next two possessions.  On Wyoming’s third possession of the game, Cowboy quarterback Levi Williams would be inserted into the lineup.  Running back Xazavian Valladay would gain 20 rushing yards on the drive and Williams would complete two of three passes, including a 38-yarder to wide receiver Isaiah Neyor.  The Cowboys drive would stall at the New Mexico 10-yard line and place-kicker John Hoyland came in to make a 27-yard field goal, to cut the UNM lead to 7-3 with 4:30 remaining in the half.  Hoyland’s field goal improved his season total to 5 of 7 and his career total to 18 of 21 field goals made.

The Lobos would respond on their next possession, driving 75 yards in eight plays, taking 4:01 off the clock.  The big plays on the drive were a 34-yard pass from Chavez to tight end Kyle Jarvis and a 12-yard  pass from Chavez to Jarvis.  On the 12-yard completion, Wyoming defensive end Victor Jones was called for roughing the passer and targeting.  Jones was ejected from the remainder of the game and the ball was placed at the Wyoming four-yard line.  The Cowboys were called for offside on the next play, moving the ball to the two-yard line.  Running back Aaron Dumas would carry the ball into the end zone from the two and following the extra point, New Mexico led 14-3 with only 29 seconds remaining in the half.  After the kickoff, Wyoming took a knee to end the half.

With a little more than five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Wyoming defense came up with a big defensive stop holding the Lobos on a third and one and a fourth and one from the Wyoming 19-yard line to take the ball back on downs with 4:26 remaining in the third quarter.  That was the only scoring threat that either team mounted in the third quarter.

On Wyoming’s first possession of the fourth quarter, the Cowboys committed their second turnover of the game on a fumbled handoff between quarterback Williams and wide receiver Neyor on a jet sweep.  New Mexico linebacker Cody Moon recovered the fumble on the Wyoming 20-yard line.

Looking like New Mexico had another prime opportunity to score, the Cowboy defense rose to the occasion and held the Lobos to only five yards and forced a UNM field-goal attempt.  New Mexico place-kicker Andrew Shelley came in to attempt a 30-yard field goal, but the kick went wide right with 12:15 remaining in the game.

The Cowboys took over at their own 20-yard line, and Chambers was inserted back into the Wyoming lineup at quarterback.  The Pokes moved the ball 36 yards down to the UNM 44.  Valladay had two runs for nine yards.  Chambers completed two passes for 20 yards — one for 15 yards to wide receiver Joshua Cobbs and one of five yards to Eberhardt.  Chambers also gained seven yards on two QB runs.  But on a fourth and eight at the New Mexico 44, Chambers pass attempt to Cobbs fell incomplete and the Lobos took over on downs.

Wyoming’s defense once again forced the Lobos into a punt, and the Cowboys got the ball back at their own 20.  Chambers would lead Wyoming’s offense all the way to the UNM 30-yard line.  He completed five of seven passes on the drive, including one of four yards to Valladay, two passes of five and 13 yards to tight end Parker Christensen, another one of six to Valladay and one of six yards to running back Titus Swen.  On a third and four at the UNM 30, Chambers was sacked for a loss of eight, and on fourth and 12 from the 38 he was sacked for 16 yards with 2:36 remaining in the game.

UW’s defense held New Mexico to a three-and-out, and the Cowboys got the ball back one last time at their own 20-yard line with 58 seconds remaining.  Chambers completed three consecutive passes of six yards to tight end Treyton Welch, six yards to tight end Christensen and 26 yards to wide receiver Eberhardt to move the ball to the UNM 42.  But that was followed by two incompletions as time expired, and the Lobos secured a 14-3 victory.

Quotes From Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl
“Congratulations to New Mexico.  I know they’ve had a lot of adversity, and they came up with a good game plan,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl.  “We’ve got to improve in a lot of areas of our football team, specifically offensively.  When we are scoring the number of points we are scoring, we aren’t going to win any football games off of that.  I think there’s a couple things that we are doing well but obviously we aren’t doing nearly enough things well.

“We tried two quarterbacks during the game.  At times I think we ran the football well.  We didn’t bring down some contested balls.  We overthrew some open deep players.  It’s discouraging.

“My job as a head football coach is to rally these guys.  We are going to regroup.  We have a big game in San Jose this next week.  We are also 4-3, and I reminded our football team of that.  We need to band together.  We’ve got to learn from this.  We are frustrated.  You can sense my frustration, but we have to get better.

“I think there were some things we did OK on defense.  We need to generate some offense.  The identity (on offense) is not clear, and it has to get clear.

“It’s been really challenging to me as a head football coach, and I’ve tried to connect with our team to let them know how important it is to play clean.  We have to play more disciplined and cleaner football.  I don’t believe we have a takeaway in the last two games in a row.  We keep on chasing the turnover margin, and that’s a bad formula for us. 

“There’s nobody in that locker room who’s not trying.  I don’t question the effort.  We need to get a better plan, and we have to execute a better plan.

“Defense can always keep you in a game, and they kept us in the game for the lion’s share of the game today.  The touchdown before the half changed the complexion of the game. 

“I’ll look at the tape, and I understand we have to get better, and that’s my job as a coach to figure out what buttons to press to get us better.

Statistical  Summary
Wyoming’s defense was led by linebackers Easton Gibbs and Chad Muma.  Gibbs was credited with 11 tackles on the day, including eight solo tackles.  Muma had 10 tackles, including 1.0 tackle for a loss of three yards.  Defensive end Garrett Crall added nine tackles, and nose tackle Cole Godbout recorded seven.

Offensively, Chambers completed 11 of 23 passes for 96  yards and threw one interception.  Williams completed 3 of 7 for 51 yards and had one fumble.  Valladay led the Cowboys in rushing with 41 yards on 14 carries.  Wyoming’s leading receivers were: Christensen with three catches for 24 yards; Neyor with two receptions for 45; Eberhardt had two for 31; Cobbs caught two for 19; and Valladay had two for 10 yards.

New Mexico quarterback Isaiah Chavez completed 10 of 11 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown.  He also led the Lobos in rushing with 49 yards on 16 carries.

The Lobos’ top defenders were cornerback Tony Collier and Lobo Tavian Combs, who each registered seven tackles.  Linebacker Cody Moon had five tackles to go with his fumble recovery, and cornerback Corey Hightower added two tackles in addition to his interception.

Next Up for the Cowboys
The Cowboys travel to San Jose, Calif., next Saturday, Oct. 30 to play the San Jose State Spartans.  The game will kick off at 2:00 p.m., Mountain Time (1:00 p.m., Pacific) and will be televised on FS2.  The Spartans are 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Mountain West this season.

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Homecoming to Feature Wyoming Cowboys vs. New Mexico Lobos on Saturday

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By Tim Harkins

The Wyoming Cowboys will play their 96th Homecoming Game on Saturday.  This year’s Homecoming opponent will be the New Mexico Lobos.  The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

The Cowboys will be looking for their first conference win of the season on Saturday.  UW will enter Saturday’s game with a 4-2 overall record and an 0-2 record in the Mountain West.  The Lobos are also in search of their first Mountain West win this season.  New Mexico brings a 2-5 overall record and an 0-3 record in the Mountain West into this week’s game.

Ticket Information

Tickets to Saturday’s Wyoming-New Mexico game are available online at GoWyo.com/tickets, by emailing tickets@uwyo.edu or by calling the UW Athletics Ticket Office at (307) 766-7220.

Homecoming 2021

This week’s game versus New Mexico will mark the 96th Homecoming game in University of Wyoming history, and the 71st Homecoming game to be played in War Memorial Stadium.

Wyoming renews its Homecoming tradition this season.  In 2020, there was no Homecoming Game due to COVID-19.

The last time Wyoming hosted a Homecoming Game was in 2019 and that game also featured the New Mexico Lobos as Wyoming’s opponent.  Wyoming won that 2019 Homecoming contest over New Mexico by a score of 23-10 on Oct. 19, 2019.

      •UW’s Overall Record in Homecoming Games                     47-45-3 (.511)

      •UW’s Homecoming Record in War Memorial                       42-26-2 (.614)

One of the Best in the Nation — Cowboy Linebacker Chad Muma

A year ago in 2020, Wyoming middle linebacker Chad Muma ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in total tackles per game at 11.8, and he ranked No. 5 in the MW and No. 16 in the FBS in solo tackles (5.5/game).

In 2021, Muma is averaging 9.7 total tackles per game to rank No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 12 among all FBS players. 

Muma is averaging 7.2 solo tackles per game to rank No. 1 among all FBS players in the nation.  He is also tied for No. 1 in the nation in most interception returns for touchdowns in 2021 with two “Pick Sixes”.  He is tied with Iowa defensive back Riley Moss.

2021 Pokes Have Developed Into One of the Top Defenses in the Nation

As you look at Wyoming’s defensive rankings this season, defending opposing offenses’ has become a strength for the Cowboys.  Wyoming is tied for No. 3 in the nation in defensive touchdowns scored (3), ranks No. 7 in the NCAA in fewest passing yards allowed per game (158.7), is No. 13 in pass defense efficiency (108.56) and ranks No. 29 in total defense, allowing opponents only 319.8 yards per game.

Cowboy Offense Performing in Key Situations

Two key offensive statistics are how an offense is able to convert in third-down situations and how effective an offense is at scoring points once in the red zone.  The Wyoming Cowboys are among the best in the nation in 2021 in both of those key stats.

UW ranks No. 24 in the country in third-down conversion percentage at 46.3 percent, converting 38 of 82 third-down plays.

The Pokes are also No. 28 in the FBS in red-zone offense, scoring on 90.0 percent of their red-zone opportunities (18 of 20).

Home Success

The Wyoming Cowboys have been very successful at home over the last six seasons.  Since 2016, Wyoming has won 23 of its last 31 home games for a winning percentage of 74.2 percent.

Wyoming’s 23 home wins during this stretch began with the first game of the 2016 season when they won a triple overtime thriller over Northern Illinois by a score of 40-34. 

The Cowboys went on to post a perfect 6-0 regular season in 2016 before hosting the Mountain West Conference Championship Game, which they lost 24-27 to San Diego State to finish 6-1 at home.  UW also posted a perfect 6-0 regular season home record in 2019.

The Pokes have also won 11 of their last 13 home games, dating back to the last two home games of the 2018 season thru the 2021 season.

Bouncing Back After a Home Loss

Coming off last week’s home loss to Fresno State, the Wyoming Cowboys are looking to continue a tradition of bouncing back at home following a home loss.

Since 2016, Wyoming has suffered only eight home losses.  Following six of those home losses the Cowboys have won their next home game.

Only twice have the Cowboys lost consecutive home games since 2016.  In 2017, UW lost its last home game of the season to Fresno State and lost its 2018 home opener vs. Washington State.  In 2018, UW lost consecutive home games to Boise State and Utah State.

The Cowboys and the Lobos

The Wyoming Cowboys and New Mexico Lobos will play each other for the 74th time this Saturday.  Last year’s meeting was a first as the two teams played in Las Vegas, Nev., due to COVID-19 conditions in the state of New Mexico forcing UNM Football to play its home games in the state of Nevada.

Wyoming leads the overall series between the two schools with 39 wins against 34 wins for New Mexico.  In games played in Laramie, Wyoming leads the series 20-15.

The Cowboys and the Lobos have been members of the same conference since 1951 when they were both members of the Skyline Conference.  Wyoming and New Mexico are meeting for the 23rd consecutive season since both became founding members of the Mountain West Conference in 1999.  Prior to that, they were founding members of the Western Athletic Conference in 1962.

Where to Watch and Listen

For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game in War Memorial Stadium, there are several ways to watch and listen.

Radio Broadcast Information for the Cowboy Sports Network (CSN):

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network

Announcers are Dave Walsh, Play-by-Play (38th year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (24th year) and

Reece Monaco, Sideline Reporter (11th year)

The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Television Broadcast Information for Wyoming vs. New Mexico Game

Saturday’s game will be televised on Stadium.  Announcers will be Chris Vosters (Play-by-play) and Sed Bonner (Color Analyst).

Cowboys Fall to Fresno State, 17-0, In First Home Loss of the Season

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By Nick Seeman, University of Wyoming

The Wyoming Cowboys fell for the first time at home this season as the Fresno State Bulldogs captured a 17-0 win on Saturday in Laramie.  The Cowboys are now 4-2 on the season and 0-2 in the Mountain West Conference.  Fresno State improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

Wyoming’s defense held Fresno State to 259 yards of total offense.  That was half of what the Bulldogs were averaging on the season.  Fresno State came into the game averaging 519.8 yards per game.  UW’s defense also held FS 22 points under its season scoring average of 39.0 points per game.

But the Pokes turned the ball over five times on four interceptions and one lost fumble.  Three of those turnovers led directly to Fresno State’s 17 points.  Two of the three turnovers in the second half gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Wyoming six-yard line, leading to a touchdown, and the 27-yard line, setting up a 41-yard field goal.  The 17-0 shutout marked the first time Wyoming had been shutout since 2010 when they lost at TCU by a score 45-0. 

Wyoming began the game winning the toss and deferring to the second half.  The Cowboy defense forced a three-and-out on Fresno State’s first possession of the game and following the Bulldogs’ punt, Wyoming took over at its own 34-yard line.  On a second and eight from the 36, Cowboy quarterback Sean Chambers rushed up the middle for five yards but the ball was knocked loose and Fresno State recovered at the Wyoming 41.

The Bulldogs took that turnover and moved the ball down to the Wyoming six-yard line in nine plays.  On a third and goal from the six, FS quarterback Jake Haener completed a pass for one yard to the UW five where Cowboy strong safety Rome Weber knocked wide receiver Josh Kelly out of bounds.  It appeared that Wyoming had forced Fresno State into a field-goal attempt, but the play was reviewed and Weber was called for a targeting penalty and was ejected for the remainder of the game.  The ball was placed at the Wyoming two-yard line after the penalty and on the 10th play of the drive Haener completed a pass in the flat to tight end Juan Rodriguez for a touchdown.  The point-after-touchdown kick by Cesar Silva gave Fresno State a 7-0 lead with 6:57 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cowboys began their second possession at their own 25-yard line and would put together a 10-play, 34-yard drive that took 6:18 off the clock, but the drive stalled at the Fresno State 41-yard line.  Cowboy punter Ralph Fawaz pinned Fresno State back at its own nine-yard line with a 32-yard punt. 

Two plays into the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive, the first quarter ended with Fresno State leading 7-0.  FS gained one first down on the possession before the Pokes forced another punt.

Wyoming had one of its most promising drives of the first half, moving the ball 71 yards in nine plays, but for the second time in the half Fresno State came up with a turnover.  On a first and 10 at the FS 25-yard line, Chambers targeted running back Xazavian Valladay across the middle, but the ball was intercepted by Bulldog free safety Evan Williams, who returned the ball to the Fresno State 29.

The two teams exchanged punts on their next possessions.  Following the Cowboys’ punt, Fresno State took over at its own 39-yard line and in eight plays moved down to the Wyoming 23.  Bulldog place-kicker Silva came in for a 40-yard field goal attempt, but the kick went  wide left.

Wyoming began its final possession of the half with exactly two minutes remaining on the clock.  The Cowboys mounted their second scoring threat of the half.  On first down from the Wyoming 23, Chambers took off on a 20-yard scamper moving the ball out to the Wyoming 43-yard line.  Valladay would carry for nine yards on the next play to the Fresno State 48.  After an incomplete pass, Chambers rushed for two yards for a first down.  An incompletion was followed by an interference penalty against Fresno State on a pass attempt to Valladay.  That moved the ball to the Fresno State 39.  Wyoming gained three more yards on a pass from Chambers to Valladay, and on a fourth and seven from the FS 36, Cowboy place-kicker John Hoyland came in to attempt a 53-yard field goal.  Hoyland’s attempt would go wide left with 18 seconds remaining in the half.  Fresno State would kneel down and the half would end with the score Fresno State 7, Wyoming 0. 

Wyoming concluded the half with 151 yards of total offense on 32 plays.  Fresno State had 111 total yards on 33 plays.

The second half began with both teams being forced to punt on each of their first two possessions of the third quarter. 

On Wyoming’s third possession of the third quarter, it took over at its own 13-yard line.  Following a six-yard fly sweep by wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt, running back Titus Swen was tackled for a two-yard loss.  Facing a third and six from the Wyoming 17, Chambers completed an 18-yard pass to Valladay to move the ball to the UW 35-yard line.  Chambers tried to find Valladay on a second consecutive play but the ball was tipped by Bulldog linebacker Levelle Bailey and intercepted by linebacker Malachi Langley, who returned it 33 yards to the Wyoming six-yard line.

The Cowboy defense held Fresno State to three yards on a first down rush and on second and goal from the three, UW cornerback C.J. Coldon broke up a pass in the end zone.  On third down, Haener found wide receiver Jalen Cropper on a pass completion for the TD.  Silva’s extra point extended Fresno State’s lead to 14-0.  That is where the score would stand at the end of the third quarter.

Fresno State would come up with its third interception of the game with 11:20 remaining in the game.  Free safety Williams picked off Chambers for the second time at the Wyoming 41-yard line and returned it 14 yards down to the UW 27.  The Cowboy defense stiffened and held Fresno State to only one three-yard run, forcing a Bulldog field-goal attempt.  Silva entered the game and drove the ball through the uprights from 41 yards out to build Fresno State’s lead to 17-0.

Wyoming inserted quarterback Levi Williams into the game with 10:18 remaining.  On Williams first series he threw a ball down the sideline for wide receiver Isaiah Neyor that initially looked like a completion, but the officials called the pass incomplete.  After replay, the referee announced the call on the field would stand.  An incompletion on fourth and two gave the ball back to Fresno State on downs at the Wyoming 31-yard line.  Wyoming’s defense would not allow the Bulldogs to gain a first down, holding FS to zero yards on a fourth and one at the Wyoming 22.

Williams completed a 32-yard pass to Eberhardt on Wyoming’s following possession, moving the ball to the Fresno State 46.  Swen broke a 20-yard run down to the Fresno State 26.  Fresno State was called for pass interference on the next play, giving the Cowboys a first down at the Fresno State 11.  But much like the rest of Wyoming’s day, FS strong safety L.J. Early intercepted Williams pass at the seven-yard line, ending Wyoming’s final scoring threat with 5:34 remaining in the game.

Fresno State held the ball for the next 5:30, giving Wyoming the ball back with only four seconds remaining to end the game.  

Quotes From Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl
“I thought our guys played hard, but we’ve got to play smarter and we’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the football.

“Obviously, we have to generate some points. It’s important that I don’t make any broad-based comments right now until we watch the tape, but if you look at productivity you’ve got six (consecutive) quarters without scoring any points, and that’s going to make it hard to beat anybody.

“I want to take a hard look at the tape.  We need to cull through that.  I need to take some time with Tim (Polasek, offensive coordinator) and see what we are doing, what’s our identity, where are we misfiring.

“I don’t have rose-colored glasses on.  We’ve got to do a rework, and I don’t think it’s a little tweak here or there.  It’s always dangerous to completely reshuffle everything, but I’ll look at the two quarterbacks, and we’ll make a decision here this next week.

“Our traditional tailback runs, we need to be able to do much better.  Whether we are missing some cuts, whether we are not getting movement at the point of attack, some perimeter blocking comes into play, but nonetheless, we are not running the ball nearly as well as what we should. 

“I thought our defense did some excellent things out there today.  He’s (Jake Haener, Fresno State QB) a really good quarterback, and he’s been productive against pretty much everybody.  I thought we did some good things up there.  We established the line of scrimmage and forced them into some throwing situations.  I thought that there were some positive things, and we need to build off that.”

Statistical  Summary
Wyoming ended the game with 271 yards of total offense (128 rushing and 149 rushing) to out-gain Fresno State.  The Bulldogs accounted for 259 yards of total offense (163 rushing and only 96 passing).

Chambers completed 8 of 23 passes for 111 yards, threw three interceptions and lost one fumble.  Williams complete 1 of 7 passes fo 32 yards and threw one interception.  Fresno State’s Haener completed 15 of 28 passes for only 96 yards, but did throw two TD passes.

Chambers led Wyoming in rushing with 51 yards on 12 carries.  Swen added 36 yards on seven carries, and Valladay had 35 rushing yards on nine attempts.  Bulldog tailbacks Jordan Mims and Ronnie Rivers rushed for 78 and 73 yards, respectively, for a combined 151 yards.

Valladay moved into fourth place on Wyoming’s career rushing list in Saturday’s game.  He now has 2,682 career rushing yards and moved past former Cowboy running back Wynel Seldon, who accounted for 2.672 rushing yards during his career from 2005-08.

Defensively, the Cowboys were led by linebacker Chad Muma and free safety Esaias Gandy, who were credited with 11 tackles each.  Wyoming defensive end Solomon Byrd added six tackles and recorded UW’s lone sack on the day.  Fresno State free safety Evan Williams recorded seven tackles to go with his two interceptions.

Next Up for the Cowboys
The Cowboys will host New Mexico next Saturday, Oct. 23 for Homecoming.  The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m. and will be televised on Stadium.

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Pokes Host Fresno State in First Mountain West Home Game for Wyoming This Season

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By Tim Harkins, Cowboy State Daily

After a month without a home game, the Wyoming Cowboys return to War Memorial Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 16 to host the Fresno State Bulldogs in Wyoming’s first Mountain West Conference home game of the 2021 season.  The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

Wyoming will enter Saturday’s game with a 4-1 overall record and an 0-1 record in the Mountain West.  Fresno State is 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the MW.

 Military Day

Saturday’s game will feature UW Athletics annual Military Day.  The annual event honors individuals who have represented the United States in all branches of the military — past and present.

Two Maxwell Award Candidates Will be Featured on Saturday

Two of the featured players in this Saturday’s game between the Cowboys and Bulldogs will be Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay and Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener.  Both Valladay and Haener are on the 2021 Maxwell Award Watch List.  The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the outstanding player in college football.

Valladay Continues to Move Up Wyoming’s Career Rushing List 

In Wyoming’s most recent game at Air Force on Oct. 9, Cowboy running back Xazavian Valladay rushed for 96 yards to move into the No. 5 spot in career rushing yards at the University of Wyoming.  Valladay enters this week with 2,647 career rushing yards.  He moved past former Cowboy running back Marques Brigham, who rushed for 2,605 yards during his career as a Cowboy from 1995-98.

Valladay rushed for 396 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2018.  He totaled 1,265 rushing yards as a sophomore in ’19 and had 550 rushing yards in only five games in the shortened season of 2020.  This season, he has rushed for a total of 436 yards in five games.  He earned First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors in both 2019 and 2020.

For the past two seasons, Valladay has been the most productive and consistent offensive weapon the Wyoming Cowboys have had.  He once again displayed his consistency at UConn on Sept. 25 as he recorded the 12th 100-yard rushing game of his career.  Valladay rushed for 101 yards against the Huskies. 

When he recorded his 12th career 100-yard rushing game against UConn, it got us to wondering how those games equate to Wyoming wins and losses.  When Valladay has rushed for 100 or more yards, Wyoming has a 9-3 record.  

Included in those nine wins are victories over: New Mexico (2018 and ’19), Missouri (’19), Nevada (’19), Colorado State (’19), Georgia State (’19), Hawai’i (’20), Northern Illinois (’21) and UConn (’21).  The only three losses came in road losses: at Boise State, 17-20 in overtime (’19); at Utah State by five points, 21-26 (’19); and at Colorado State 24-34 (’20). 

Wyoming and Fresno State Have Played Some Memorable Games Against One Another

Since they first played each other in 1992 when they were both members of the Western Athletic Conference, Wyoming and Fresno State have played some memorable games through the years.

In 1993, the Cowboys hosted the Bulldogs led by quarterback Trent Dilfer.  Wyoming was led by quarterback Joe Hughes, All-America wide receiver Ryan Yarbrough and team captains Kurt Whitehead (DE), Mike Jones (TE) and Hughes.  The Cowboys came away with a 32-28 win and would go on to tie Fresno State and BYU for the 1993 WAC title.

The 2009 season saw the two teams face off in the New Mexico Bowl.  Fresno State was still a member of the WAC and Wyoming was representing the Mountain West.  

The Cowboys would come away with a hard fought 35-28 victory in double overtime that featured a memorable goal-line stand by the Cowboys, who stopped the Bulldogs on four straight plays from the one-yard line in the first overtime.  

The game ended with a 13-yard TD pass from Cowboy QB Austyn Carta-Samuels to wide receiver David Leonard.

In 2014, Cowboy freshman running back Brian Hill set a school all-purpose yardage record with 387 yards (281 rushing and 106 receiving) in a 45-17 road win in Fresno.

The last time the two teams met was in 2018, when Fresno State defeated the Cowboys 27-3 in Fresno on way to the Bulldogs’ 2018 Mountain West Conference Championship.

Fresno State leads the overall series 7-5.  Wyoming leads 3-2 in games played in Laramie.

Wyoming vs. the Mountain West at Home During the Bohl Era

Since the 2014 season when Craig Bohl became head coach at Wyoming, the Cowboys have been very successful in conference home games.

During the Bohl era, Wyoming has posted a 17-9 (.654) record in Mountain West regular-season home games.  Twice during the Bohl era, Wyoming has posted a perfect 4-0 record in MW home games during the regular season.  Those two seasons were 2016 and 2019.

Since the 2016 season, the Cowboys have been even better in Mountain West regular-season home contests, posting a record of 14-4 (.778).

Wyoming has hosted one Mountain West postseason game in the Bohl era.  That was the 2016 MW Championship Game vs. San Diego State.  The Aztecs pulled out a three-point win in that game (27-24), after Wyoming had defeated SDSU by one point (34-33) two weeks earlier in Laramie.

California Cowboys

As the Wyoming Cowboys prepare to host Fresno State this Saturday, it is worth noting that Wyoming has more players from the state of California on its roster this season than it has players from any other state.  There are 28 California Cowboys on the Wyoming roster this season. 

Five of Wyoming’s current starters are Californians, that is second only to six starters from the state of Colorado.  Current Cowboy starters from California include: Solomon Byrd, DE (Palmdale, Calif.); Sean Chambers, QB (Kerman); Easton Gibbs, LB (Temecula); Azizi Hearn, CB (Oceanside); and Ravontae Holt, DT (Sacramento).

Eight other Californians, who have been key contributors this season are: Caleb Cooley, Special Teams (Chico); Keonte Glinton, Nickel (Bakersfield); Victor Jones, DE (Sacramento); Dawaiian McNeely, RB (Ceres, Calif.); Colin O’Brien (Mission Viejo), Connor Shay, LB (Danville); Rome Weber, SS (San Bernardino); and Miles Williams, FS (Oxnard).

Where to Watch and Listen

For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game in War Memorial Stadium, there are several ways to watch and listen.

Radio Broadcast Information for the Cowboy Sports Network (CSN):

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network

Announcers are Dave Walsh, Play-by-Play (38th year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (24th year) and

Reece Monaco, Sideline Reporter (11th year)

The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Television Broadcast Information for Wyoming vs. Fresno State Game

Saturday’s game will be televised on FS2.  Announcers will be Dan Hellie (Play-by-play) and Petros Papadakis (Color Analyst).

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Wyoming Drops First Game of the Season in 24-14 Loss at Air Force

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Air Force Academy, Colo. (Oct. 9, 2021) –  It was a typical, hard-fought meeting between the Wyoming Cowboys and Air Force Falcons on Saturday night at Falcon Stadium on the Air Force Academy campus.  

In the end, Air Force prevailed 24-14 to hand Wyoming its first loss of the season.  Wyoming moved to 4-1 and 0-1 in conference play.  Air Force improved to 5-1 and 2-1 in the Mountain West.

The first half began with Air Force taking a 14-0 lead, but the Cowboys fought back to score two touchdowns in the final 4:38 of the half to tie that game at 14-14 and grab the momentum heading into halftime.

In the second half, Wyoming began with a promising drive that stalled at the Air Force 36.  The Falcons took their opening drive of the third quarter and turned it into their third TD of the game to regain the lead at 21-14.  

Air Force would engineer its fourth scoring drive of the game on its first possession of the fourth quarter, driving 67 yards in 15 plays  and capping it off with a 26-yard field goal to conclude the scoring 24-14.

“We played inconsistently tonight and we got beat by a good football team,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl.   “We were going to need to get some turnovers and stay on the field offensively tonight, which we weren’t able to do.

“To Air Force’s credit, they threw the ball well in the second half and we weren’t able to stop that.

“I’ll be guarded in my comments until we can evaluate things on tape, but our players are disappointed and our coaches are disappointed.  In the end, we will learn from tonight and get back at it tomorrow..

“We knew this was going to be a hard-fought game.  Our players fought hard, but we weren’t able to make enough plays at critical times, and Air Force did a good job of coming up with plays when they needed them.”

Wyoming won the opening toss and deferred to the second half.  Air Force took its opening drive and went 75 yards in 15 plays, taking 8:18 off the clock.  The Falcons converted two fourth-down conversions on the drive on a fourth and two at the Wyoming 49 and a fourth and three at the Wyoming 37.  

Big plays on the drive were an 18-yard run on the first play of the game and a 21-yard run on a first and 10 from the Wyoming 34.  Both runs were by fullback Brad Roberts. 

The Cowboys made its first big play of the game when defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole recovered a fumble by Air Force quarterback Haaziq Daniels at the Wyoming 31-yard line.  But three plays later, Cowboy quarterback Sean Chambers would scramble out of the backfield and after an eight-yard gain was hit and fumbled the ball back to the Falcons.  Air Force took over at the Wyoming 41.

After the Wyoming turnover, Air Force drove down to the Wyoming 19 and faced its third fourth down of the game on a fourth and one at the Wyoming 19.  Wide receiver Micah Davis gained four on a pitch play giving Air Force a first and 10 at the 15.  

Two plays later at the seven-yard line, fullback Emmanuel Michel rushed up the middle for four.  Cowboy safety Rome Weber upended Michel and knocked the ball loose, however the ball was recovered by Falcon Omar Fattah at the three.  Wide receiver Dane Kinamon would score two plays later on a sweep to the left to give the Falcons a 14-0 lead with 10:43 remaining in the  second quarter.        

At the 4:38 mark of the first half, the score remained 14-0, but that is when the Cowboys came to life.  Wyoming took possession at their own three-yard line after a 43-yard  punt by Air Force.  

On first down, Cowboy running back Xazavian Valladay exploded over the right side of the Wyoming offensive line and burst into the open running down the Wyoming sideline for 74 yards — the longest run of the season for the Pokes and the second longest of Valladay’s career.  That run moved the ball to the Air Force 23-yard line. 

Running back Titus Swen carried for 13 yards on the next play, giving UW a first and goal at the 10.  A four-yard run by Swen was followed by an incomplete pass from Chambers intended for Isaiah Neyor.  

Then on third and six from the six, Valladay powered his way down to the goal line in what was originally signaled as a touchdown.  But after replay, Valladay was ruled down at the one-yard line.  Facing a fourth and goal at the one, Chambers forced his way into the end zone to give Wyoming its first score of the day and cut Air Force’s lead to 14-7 with 2:39 remaining in the first half.

The Cowboy defense rose to the occasion for a second straight series, holding the Falcons to only one first down on its next possession.  Cowboy head coach Craig Bohl called two timeouts to preserve time and Air Force punted the ball back to Wyoming with 1:07 remaining.

Starting from its own 27-yard line, Chamber’s first pass of the drive was incomplete.  He scrambled for 13 yards and a first down on the second play out to the Wyoming 40.  The Cowboy QB then connected on a completion of 13 yards to Ayden Eberhardt to the Air Force 47-yard line.  

On the next play, Chambers found Neyor on a 37-yard completion to the Air Force 10.  Neyor got out of bounds to stop the clock.  Chambers went right back to Neyor on first and goal from the 10, finding him in the front corner of the end zone for UW’s second touchdown with only 15 seconds left in the half to tie the game at 14-14.  The half would end with Wyoming holding the momentum.

Wyoming took the opening kickoff of the second half and put together a promising drive, moving the ball down to the Air Force 36-yard line before being forced to punt.

Air Force would drive 85 yards in eight plays on its first third quarter possession, mixing in four big pass plays to regain the lead at 21-14 with 4:09 remaining in the third.

The Falcons followed that up with their fourth and final scoring drive in the fourth to build the lead to 24-14 on a 26-yard field goal with 7:18 to go in the game.

The Cowboys mounted their final scoring threat moving the ball from their own 37-yard line down to the Air Force 25, but facing a fourth and 10 at the 25, Chambers was sacked and the ball came loose. Air Force recovered the fumble  at the Falcon 48, and that was essentially the last opportunity for the Pokes.

Wyoming will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 16 when it returns to War Memorial Stadium to host the Fresno State Bulldogs.

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Wyoming Will Open Mountain West Conference Play At Air Force Saturday

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This Saturday will mark the start of conference play for the Wyoming Cowboys as they travel to the Air Force Academy to face the Air Force Falcons. 

Wyoming will bring a 4-0 record into its conference opener, while Air Force is 4-1 and 1-1 in the Mountain West Conference.  Saturday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m., Mountain Time from Falcon Stadium.  The game will be broadcast on radio over the Cowboy Sports Network and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

This year’s Cowboy team is also in a special group of teams in school history.  The 2021 Cowboys’ 4-0 start is only the 13th time in 125 seasons of Wyoming Football that a team has begun a season 4-0 or better. 

It is also the first time in 25 seasons that UW has begun a season 4-0.  The last time was in 1996 when the Joe Tiller coached Cowboys went on to start the season 9-0 on way to a 10-2 record, WAC Pacific Division title and a No. 22 national ranking in the final Associated Press and Coaches polls.

The 2021 Wyoming team has also posted the best start in the eight years that head coach Craig Bohl has led the Cowboys.  UW’s previous best start under Bohl was a 3-0 start back in 2019.  That 2019 team went on to an 8-5 season, including a championship in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.

Team Effort

Through its first four games this season, the Wyoming Cowboys’ success has definitely been due to a team effort from all facets of the team.

Wyoming’s offense has established a balanced attack that has proven difficult for opposing defenses.  The Cowboys have generated 722 rushing yards (49.0% of the offense) and 750 passing yards (51.0% of the offense) for 1,472 yards of total offense, which is 368.0 yards per game. 

UW’s offense has also performed well in key situations, ranking No. 1 in the conference in two key offensive categories — third-down conversions and scoring points in the red zone.  The Wyoming Cowboys are also among the best in the nation in 2021 in both of those key stats, ranking No. 15 in the nation in third-down conversions at 50 percent (28 of 56) and ranking No. 19 in red-zone offense at 94.1 percent (scoring on 16 of 17 red-zone opportunities).

Defensively, the Pokes have been outstanding.  Wyoming is No. 1 in the Mountain West and tied for No. 2 in the FBS in defensive touchdowns scored with three defensive TDs already this season. 

As you look at Wyoming’s defensive rankings this season, defending opposing offenses’ passing attacks has become a strength for the Cowboys.  Wyoming is No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 10 in the nation in Pass Efficiency Defense.  UW also ranks in several other categories that relate to effectively defending the pass.  The Pokes are No. 3 in the MW and No. 16 in the country in sacks (averaging 3.25 sacks per game), are No. 20 in the nation in interceptions (6 total) and are No. 30 in pass defense (allowing only 186.5 passing yards per game).

Special teams has also been a consistent contributing factor to Wyoming’s success with sophomore place-kicker John Hoyland and redshirt freshman punter Ralph Fawaz both having outstanding seasons.

Team Effort — Part Two

Wyoming has also done an outstanding job on both sides of the ball in terms of forcing opponent turnovers on defense and protecting the ball on offense.  Wyoming is No. 1 in the Mountain West in turnover margin and No. 11 in the nation.  The Cowboy defense has forced eight opponent turnovers, while the Wyoming offense has committed only four turnovers all season.

Mountain West Openers

The 2021 season marks the 23rd season of the Mountain West Conference, and this year’s Wyoming-Air Force contest is the first conference game of the year for the Cowboys.  The Falcons have already played two MW games, losing at home to Utah State and winning on the road at New Mexico.

Wyoming is 11-11 (.500) in Mountain West openers. UW is 7-6 (.538) when opening MW play at home, and is 4-5 (.444) when opening on the road.  The Cowboys have won 5 of their last 8 MW openers and 4 of 7 in the Craig Bohl era.

This year’s MW opener will mark the ninth time in the 23 seasons of the MW that the Cowboys have opened Mountain West Conference play against Air Force — more than any other MW opponent.

The Cowboys’ record vs. Air Force in their previous eight Mountain West openers stands at 4-4 (.500).  Oddly enough the advantage has gone to the road team in the eight previous MW openers between the Cowboys and Falcons.  Wyoming is 3-1 in Mountain West openers played at the Air Force Academy, and Air Force is 3-1 in MW openers played in Laramie.

Chambers Return Has Been Outstanding

Cowboy quarterback Sean Chambers has had an outstanding return in 2021.  With Wyoming’s most recent win at UConn two weeks ago, Chambers record as Wyoming’s starting quarterback now stands at 13-3.  He was a perfect 3-0 in games he started in 2018, was 6-2 as a starter in 2019, went 0-1 in his lone game of 2020 after being injured on the third play of the season opener and he is 4-0 in 2021.

He also led Wyoming on two game-winning scoring drives this season.  Both game-winning drives came in the final two minutes of victories over Montana State and Northern Illinois.

Chambers Named a Candidate for the 2021 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year

Earlier this week, Chambers was named one of three new nominees for the 2021 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.  

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), in association with The Associated Press (AP) and the Fiesta Bowl Organization have selected three college football student-athletes—Chambers; McKenzie Milton, a senior quarterback at Florida State University; and J.J. Weaver a sophomore linebacker at the University of Kentucky—as nominees for the 2021 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Ten times during the 2021 college football season, three inspiring student-athletes from all levels of college football who have overcome injury, illness, or other challenges, are recognized as Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Nominees by a panel of writers, editors, and sports information directors from CoSIDA, AP and Touchdown Illustrated.

In December, three of the 30 nominees will be chosen as winners of the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award and will be recognized at a special ceremony during the PlayStation® Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2022, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Where to Watch and Listen

For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game at the Air Force Academy there are several ways to watch and listen.

Radio Broadcast Information for the Cowboy Sports Network (CSN):

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network

•Announcers are Dave Walsh, Play-by-Play (38th year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (24th year) and

Reece Monaco, Sideline Reporter (11th year)

•The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Television Broadcast Information for Wyoming vs. Air Force Game

Saturday’s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.  Announcers will be Rich Waltz (Play-by-play), Aaron Taylor (Color Analyst) and Amanda Guerra (Sideline Analyst).

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Resilient Cowboys Move to 4-0 With Another Exciting Comeback Victory

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By Tim Harkins, University of Wyoming

The Wyoming Cowboys once again showed their resilience and comeback ability on Saturday, as they improved to 4-0 on the season and concluded their non-conference schedule undefeated, heading into a bye week.

Unlike last week, when Wyoming built a 31-0 halftime lead at home over Ball State on way to a 45-12 victory, the Cowboys started slow on Saturday at UConn.  But as they’ve done twice before this season, against Montana State and Northern Illinois, the Pokes fought back from a 13-3 deficit at halftime to out-score the Huskies 21 to nine in the second half and record a 24-22 road win.

Wyoming’s comeback was keyed by a critical defensive stand by the Pokes early in the fourth quarter.  Trailing 13-10, the Cowboys saw the Huskies put together a long drive of 74 yards, moving all the way down to the Wyoming five-yard line. 

It was critical that UW hold UConn to a field goal and keep the game a one-possession game.  The Wyoming defense would rise to the occasion.  On a third and five from the Wyoming five, Cowboy defensive end Solomon Byrd combined with safety Rome Weber to sack Huskie quarterback Tyler Phommachanh for 12 yards, pushing the ball back to the 17-yard line. 

UConn place-kicker Joe McFadden entered the game and made a 35-yard field goal — his third on the day — to extend the Huskies’ lead to 16-10.  But allowing only a field goal meant the Cowboys were still within one touchdown of taking the lead.

Now it was time for the Wyoming offense to step up.  On the Cowboys’ very next offensive possession, the balanced attack that the Pokes have become known for this season would be put on display.  Running back Xazavian Valladay would begin the drive with a 12-yard run on first down and would go on to carry the ball five times for 30 yards on the drive. 

UW running back Titus Swen added two runs for 15 yards, and Cowboy quarterback Sean Chambers would complete two passes to wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt for 32 yards, including a great catch by Eberhardt for 23 yards on a third down and seven from the UConn 24. 

That catch took the ball down to the UConn one-yard line where Valladay would carry the ball in for the go-ahead TD.  That 77-yard drive gave Wyoming its first lead of the day at 17-16, but there was still 6:31 remaining in the game.

On UConn’s very next possession, Cowboy free safety Esaias Gandy read Huskie quarterback Phommachanh’s eyes on the first play from scrimmage and intercepted the UConn QB’s pass at the Huskie 36-yard line.  Gandy returned the interception seven yards to the UConn 29-yard line, and Wyoming had a chance to extend its lead.

Wyoming’s Swen gained 15 yards up the middle on first down.  Valladay then rushed for three yards, followed by a six-yard run by Swen.  On a third and one at the UConn five-yard line, Valladay picked up three yards and a first down.  Swen finished off the drive with a two-yard TD run.  Place-kicker John Hoyland made his third point after touchdown of the game to give Wyoming a 24-16 lead with only 3:34 remaining on the clock.

But the Huskies were not done fighting.  Beginning its final possession of the game at its own 36-yard line, UConn drove 64 yards in 15 plays aided by three pass interference penalties called against the Cowboys — the third occurring in the end zone — which placed the ball first and goal at the Wyoming two. 

Huskie running back Nate Carter ran the ball into the end zone, and suddenly UConn trailed by only two points (22-24) with four seconds remaining in the game and a two-point conversion attempt coming for UConn.  Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl and his coaching staff called back-to-back timeouts to see what formation the Huskies were going to try and utilize on the critical two-point attempt. 

In the end, Wyoming safety Weber came up with his second huge fourth quarter play by knocking down the UConn pass attempt, and Wyoming preserved the comeback victory.

Quotes From Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl
“It was a great team win.  We faced a lot of adversity today,” said head coach Bohl after the game.  “I think we made some things harder than what they should have been, however, I do think UConn has good players and they’ve been getting better.  Their quarterback made a lot of plays.

“I thought we reestablished momentum in the second half when we got the downhill running game going.  That proved to be our ace in the hole.  We made some plays when we needed to.  I thought we were done with this ‘cardiac’ stuff, but we’re not.  All I know is it’s another W and we’re pleased with it.”

Bohl was asked how concerned he was with the number of penalties that were committed by his team in the game.

“It’s hard to win when you get penalized 10 times for 99 yards,” said Bohl.  “We need to clean that up.  We’ve got to become more disciplined.  It’s hard to win on the road and the last time I checked 10 penalties for 99 yards is almost worth a touchdown.”

The head coach was also asked why he thought the Cowboys got off to such a slow start on Saturday.

“I think UConn came out really sharp, and then we did some uncharacteristic things,” said Bohl.  “We pick off a pass but we get called for a personal foul.  We stop them on third down and we get called for another penalty.  We had three stops that were negated by penalty and that had a big impact.  I also think it took us awhile to get in a groove with what we wanted to do offensively.  We do count on Treyton (Welch, injured tight end) a lot.  He dressed but I don’t think he would have been functional tonight.  We’ve been starting faster the previous two games, but tonight was not the case.”

When asked about whether he thinks the upcoming bye week is coming at a good time — at the conclusion of non-conference play and prior to starting Mountain West Conference play in two weeks — Bohl said, “Having an off week after three really competitive games couldn’t come at a better time.  We’re okay, but we have some guys playing with stingers and are banged up.  It will help us get our legs back.  We’re excited about entering conference play.  We’re also extremely excited about being 4-0.”

In terms of what he told his team on the sideline before the final two-point conversion attempt by UConn, Bohl responded, “We were burning timeouts to see what set they were in.  It was a chess game, and I thought Jay (Sawvel, UW Defensive Coordinatorreally dialed up a good defense and it was great to see Rome (Weber) make that play.”

Finally, when asked about the play of Cowboy quarterback Chambers, Bohl said, “He made a lot of plays.  I think he’s been a little more on point in previous games for 60 minutes, but he’s an unbelievable competitor and he is definitely the leader of our football team.”

Statistical  Summary
Wyoming concluded the game with 352 yards of total offense (203 rushing and 149 passing) compared to 281 for UConn (110 rushing and 171 passing).  Cowboy running backs Valladay and Swen combined for 185 for the 203 rushing yards for Wyoming. 

Valladay recorded his 12th career 100-yard rushing game and second of the season, running for 101 yards on 22 carries and one TD Saturday.  Swen racked up 84 rushing yards o 15 carries and also scored one touchdown.  Swen led the Pokes in all-purpose yardage with 168, including 84 rushing yards, seven receiving and 77 on kickoff returns.  Valladay accounted for 134 all-purpose yards — 101 rushing and 33 receiving.

The Cowboy passing game saw Chambers complete 58 percent of his passes (15 of 26 passes) on the day for 149 yards, one TD and two interceptions.  Eberhardt caught three of those passes for 40 yards.  Valladay, fullback/tight end Parker Christensen and wide receiver Joshua Cobbs also each had three receptions.  Wide receiver Isaiah Neyor had two catches for 24 yards and the one receiving touchdown for the Cowboys.

Nickel back Keyon Blankenbaker led Wyoming in tackles, with seven, including six solo tackles.  Defensive end Byrd had six tackles, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.  Cornerback C.J. Coldon recorded five tackles, 1.0 tackle for a loss and one pass breakup, and defensive end Garrett Crall also had five tackles and four QB hurries.  Safety Weber was credited with four tackles, 0.5 sacks and the huge pass breakup on UConn’s two-point conversion to preserve Wyoming’s two-point victory (24-22).

Cowboy place-kicker Hoyland was 1 of 2 in field goals, making one from 24 and missing from 43.  He also was perfect in PATs (3 for 3).  His 43-yard miss was only the second of his career.  Hoyland ended Saturday’s game having made 17 of 19 (89.5 percent) career field-goal attempts.

For UConn, quarterback Phommachanh completed 19 of 40 passes (47.5 percent) for 171 yards, one TD and one interception.  Running back Nate Carter was the Huskies’ leading rusher, with 65 yards on 10 carries and one rushing touchdown.  Wide receiver Aaron Turner caught a team high six passes for 49 yards.  UConn had two defenders each credited with nine tackles.  Those two leading tacklers were cornerback Jeremy Lucien, who also had one of the Huskies’ interceptions, and linebacker Hunter Webb.

UConn place-kicker Joe McFadden made 3 of 3 field goals from 28, 29 and 35 yards, and was 1 for 1 in PATs.       

For the first time this season, Wyoming lost the turnover battle.  The Cowboys were intercepted twice, while forcing one turnover by UConn on an interception.

The game began with a 43-yard kickoff return by Brian Brewton of UConn, giving the ball to the Huskies at their 44-yard line.  UConn proceeded to move down the field to the Wyoming 11-yard line when the Pokes’ defense stopped the Huskies for no gain on a third down and one.  That defensive stand was led by nose tackle Cole Godbout and linebacker Easton Gibbs.  UConn lined up for a 28-yard field goal and the kick was good by place-kicker McFadden to give the Huskies a 3-0 lead

UConn’s field goal on its opening drive was the first time this season that a Wyoming opponent scored on its opening drive of the game.  It was also the first time since the season opener versus Montana State that the Cowboys hadn’t scored first in a game.  

Wyoming began its second possession of the game with great field position at the UConn 45-yard line, following a 19-yard punt out of bounds by the Huskies.  UW moved the ball down to the UConn 26-yard line before the drive stalled.  Cowboy place-kicker John Hoyland came in to attempt a 43-yard field goal, but Hoyland hit the right upright for his first miss of the season and only the second missed field goal of his career.

The UConn Huskies took over at their own 26.  After gaining one first down through the air, UConn faced a second and six at its own 48-yard line.  Cowboy cornerback Coldon appeared to make an outstanding play tackling a Huskie receiver for a five-yard loss, but Coldon was called for a personal foul when he took the receiver to the ground.  That 15-yard penalty moved the ball to the Wyoming 42-yard line.  Two plays later, UConn quarterback Phommachanh completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jay Rose.  After the PAT, the Huskies held a 10-0 lead.

That 10-0 deficit represented the largest the Cowboys had faced all season. 

The Pokes, who had been outstanding thus far this season in not turning the ball over, suffered only their second interception of the season when Chambers was intercepted by cornerback Myles Bell, who returned it to the Wyoming 41. 

It appeared that the Wyoming defense would make up for that Cowboy turnover with a takeaway of its own when free safety Gandy intercepted UConn at the Wyoming 13-yard line and returned it to the 25. 

But Gandy’s interception was negated by a roughing the passer penalty against the Cowboys.  After the penalty, the Huskies had the ball at the Wyoming 18-yard line as the first quarter ended.  Wyoming’s defense stiffened and forced UConn into a 29-yard field goal, which was made by McFadden, extending the Huskies’ lead to 13-0.  

The Cowboy offense would respond on its following drive.  The first key play would be made by Chambers on a third and 10 from UW’s 21-yard line as he would roll to his left and power ahead to gain 10 yards and get the first down.  Two plays later, Valladay broke loose for a 27-yard scamper down to the UConn 42. 

The Cowboys would drive down to the Huskie two-yard line, but a false start by the Cowboys moved the ball back to the five.  After a failed pass attempt on third and goal, Hoyland would come in to successfully convert a 24-yard field-goal attempt to put the Cowboys on the scoreboard for the first time.  The scoring drive covered 72 yards in 16 plays and took 8:06 off the clock.  That is how the first half would end, with UConn leading 13-3.

Wyoming received the second-half kickoff and Cowboy running back Swen would give the Pokes good field position by returning the kick 26 yards out to the Wyoming 31-yard line.  Valladay gained 11 yards on second down.  Two plays later, Chambers connected with wide receiver Eberhardt for eight yards. 

A couple plays following that, Chambers found fullback/tight end Christensen for 12 yards to the UConn 43 for a first down.  The Huskies were called for a personal foul for hitting Christensen out of bounds, which added 15 yards to the play and placed the ball at the UConn 28. 

Runs of four yards by Valladay, five yards by Swen and one yard by Valladay moved the ball to the 18.  It was then that Chambers would drop back and find wide receiver Neyor on an 18-yard touchdown pass, concluding a nine-play, 69-yard drive.  Hoyland added the extra point, and Wyoming pulled to within three points at 13-10.

Late in the third quarter on a second and five from the Wyoming 42-yard line, Chambers threw deep down the middle looking for wide receiver Alex Brown, but UConn cornerback Jeremy Lucien picked off the pass at the Huskies’ nine-yard line.  It would be the second turnover of the day by the Pokes. 

UConn began the drive at their own nine-yard line with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter, but the quarter would end with Wyoming’s TD being the only scoring of the third quarter.  UConn maintained a 13-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

It was then that the wild fourth quarter would begin for both teams.  Wyoming would score two touchdowns in the final period, while UConn added a field goal and TD before the Cowboys came away with their fourth win of the season against no defeats, with a hard-fought, 24-22 road victory. 

Next Up for the Cowboys
Wyoming will be able to enjoy its one bye week of the season this coming week before opening Mountain West Conference play on Saturday, Oct. 9 on the road at Air Force.  The Wyoming-Air Force game is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m., Mountain Time and will be televised by CBS Sports Network.

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Wyoming Cowboys Make First Trip to Connecticut to Face UConn Huskies

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It will be a rare trip to the east coast for the Wyoming Cowboy Football team when they fly to Connecticut to play the UConn Huskies on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time (3:30 p.m., Eastern). 

Wyoming will enter the game 3-0 on the season.  UConn is 0-4 this season.  The game will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl has been emphasizing to his team all season that they need to focus on going 1-0 each week. 

The 2021 Wyoming Cowboys were able to do that again last week with a victory over Ball State to improve to 3-0 on the season, matching the best start by a Bohl coached team at Wyoming.  Wyoming last began a season 3-0 back in 2019.  That 2019 team went on to post an 8-5 season, including a championship in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.

Longest Trip of the Season on Tap for Cowboys This Week

This week’s trip for the Cowboys will be the longest of the season.  The University of Connecticut is located in Storrs, Conn., but they play their home games in East Hartford, about 27 miles west of Storrs.  According to Google maps, the distance between Laramie, Wyo., and Storrs, Conn., is 1912 miles.  That is 760 miles longer than Wyoming’s second longest trip this season, which will be 1,152 miles to San Jose, Calif., to play the San Jose State Spartans.

Playing an FBS Independent, First Meeting vs. UConn

Wyoming will be playing against one of the few Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Independent teams this week when they travel to face the UConn Huskies.  It will also be the first meeting between the Cowboys and Huskies in football. 

There are currently only seven FBS independent teams.  Those seven are: Army, BYU, Liberty, Notre Dame, New Mexico State, UMass and UConn.  Wyoming has previously only played three of those teams: Army, BYU and New Mexico State.

No Cardiac Finish in Wyoming’s Dominant Performance vs. Ball State 

In each of the Wyoming Cowboys first two games this season, Wyoming scored a touchdown in the last two minutes of the game to secure wins. 

Against Northern Illinois, Cowboy quarterback Sean Chambers scored on a naked bootleg from nine yards out with 1:35 left in the game to give UW a 50-43 win over the Huskies.

In week one versus Montana State, Chambers found tight end Treyton Welch down the middle of the field for a 21-yard  TD completion with only 47 seconds remaining in the game.

In the Cowboys most recent game last Saturday vs. defending Mid-American Conference Champion Ball State, the Pokes left no doubt about the outcome.  Wyoming built a 31-0 halftime lead on way to a 45-12 victory.

Putting Up Points, Pokes Score Over 40 Points in Consecutive Games

Over the past two weeks, Wyoming has been putting up big point totals.  Wyoming scored 50 in a 50-43 win at Northern Illinois and 45 in a 45-12 win against Ball State.

The last time Wyoming scored 40 or more points in consecutive games was back in 2016 when UW scored 52 in a 52-28 win over Utah State and 66 in a 66-69 loss at UNLV in triple overtime.

Prior to 2016, the last time the Cowboys scored 40 or more points in consecutive games was in 2004.  Wyoming scored 53 in a 53-45 win at UNLV in triple overtime and 43 in a 43-26 win at home vs. Air Force.

Before this season’s two consecutive 40-plus point games, the last time a Wyoming team scored 40 or more in two regular length games (not involving overtime) was back to the 1996 season.  Joe Tiller’s 1996 squad scored 40 or more in four consecutive games at San Jose State (45-22 win), vs. Western Michigan (42-28 win), vs. Fresno State (42-21 win) and vs. SMU (59-17 win).

Sack Explosion 

After recording 2.0 sacks in each of the first two games of the season, Wyoming’s defense exploded with 6.0 sacks against Ball State on Sept. 18.

Leading the way for the Pokes was defensive tackle Ravontae Holt, who was credited with 2.5 of UW’s six sacks versus the Cardinals.  Holt also had five tackles on the day to go with his 2.5 sacks.  Four other Cowboys contributed to the sack explosion.  Defensive ends Solomon Byrd and Victor Jones recorded 1.0 sack each.  Linebacker Easton Gibbs contributed 1.0 sack, and nose tackle Cole Godbout was credited with 0.5 sacks, combining with Holt on one of the Pokes 6.0 sacks for the day.

As a team, Wyoming ranks No. 3 in the Mountain West and No. 22 in the nation in sacks this season.

Cowboy Linebacker Chad Muma’s Performance Continues to Shine in 2021 

A year ago, Wyoming middle linebacker Chad Muma ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in total tackles per game at 11.8, and he ranked No. 5 in the MW and No. 16 in the FBS in solo tackles (5.5/game).

In 2021, Muma is averaging 11.0 total tackles per game to rank No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 7 among all FBS players.  He is also averaging 8.7 solo tackles per game to rank No. 2 among all FBS players.

Here are a summary of Muma’s other accomplishments to date:

•Muma is tied for No. 1 in the nation in most interception returns for touchdowns in 2021 with two “Pick Sixes”.  He is tied with Iowa defensive back Riley Moss.

•2021 Butkus Award Watch List

•2021 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List

•2021 Preseason First Team All-Mountain West Conference

•2020 First Team All-Mountain West Conference

Where to Watch and Listen

For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game there are several ways to watch and listen.

Radio Broadcast Information for the Cowboy Sports Network (CSN):

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network

•Announcers are Dave Walsh, Play-by-Play (38th year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (24th year) and

Reece Monaco, Sideline Reporter (11th year)

•The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Television Broadcast Information for Wyoming vs. UConn Game

Saturday’s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.  Announcers will be Ed Cohen (Play-by-play), Randy Cross (Color Analyst) and Josh Martin (Sideline Analyst).

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Wyoming Cowboy Defense Scores Two Pick Sixs on Way to 45-12 Victory

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Laramie, Wyo. (Sept. 18, 2021) – The Wyoming Cowboys improved their record to 3-0 on Saturday, with a convincing 45-12 home win over Ball State.  Wyoming’s offense accumulated 378 yards of total offense, scored four touchdowns and a field goal.  The Cowboy defense was outstanding, forcing three turnovers and returning two interceptions for TDs — those two “Pick Six” were scored by nickel back Keyon Blankenbaker and linebacker Chad Muma. 

Offensively, quarterback Sean Chambers completed 61 percent of his passes on the day (14 of 23) for 201 yards and one touchdown pass to tight end Treyton Welch.  Wyoming utilized eight different receivers and four different running backs in the game, concluding the day with 177 rushing yards. 

Running backs Xazavian Valladay and Dawaiian McNeely each scored a rushing touchdown — the first of McNeely’s career.  Chambers added a TD run of his own.  Valladay had 61 rushing yards and 43 receiving for 104 all-purpose yards on the day.  Wide receiver Isaiah Neyor caught four passes for 84 yards to lead the Pokes.  The Cowboys committed no turnovers, compared to three by Ball State.

The Cowboy defense made a real statement with one of the best performances in recent history.  UW’s defenders not only scored two touchdowns of their own but they forced another huge turnover right before halftime.  With the ball at the Wyoming 47-yard line, defensive lineman Victor Jones sacked Ball State quarterback Drew Plitt and knocked the ball loose. 

The ball bounded toward the Ball State end of the field and Cowboy defensive end Jaylen Pate recovered the ball all the way down at the Cardinals 31-yard line with only 42 seconds remaining in the half.  That led to a Chambers one-yard rushing touchdown five plays later to give UW a 31-0 halftime lead.

“We talked to our team at halftime, and we asked them the score, and it was not a sarcastic question,” said  head coach Craig Bohl.  “It was a question, and they all said 0-0, so they answered the right way.  We needed to continue to play with a hard edge, and we’ll continue to do that.  Our focus is to be 1-0 (each week) and we are 1-0 (this week).

“I would say so (this being a complete performance).  There were elements last week.  I thought we looked really good, but there were times in this game we looked explosive on offense.  We tackled well on defense.  We were really solid in the kicking game.  We are well pleased with our progress.

“I think more than anything else, you’ve got guys with high character and have set a high bar for themselves (on defense).  Inside, internally, they were disappointed on how they finished the game last week.  That was a point of emphasis, and I thought our guys responded well.  Ball State is a good offense, so that was no small feat. I’m real happy with the progress we made.”

The two “Pick Sixes” by the Cowboys was the first time a Wyoming defense had accomplished that since Sept. 23, 2016, when safety Marcus Epps and linebacker Logan Wilson each had interception returns for TDs against Eastern Michigan.

For Muma, it was the second consecutive week that he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.  He had a 23-yard “Pick Six” at Northern Illinois a week ago.  Blankenbaker’s interception was the first of his Wyoming career.

Wyoming’s defense also recorded 6.0 sacks on the day for 33 yards, led by defensive tackle Ravontae Holt with 2.5 sacks for 13 yards.

“I was very pleased (on our ability to pressure the quarterback),” said Bohl.  “We had spent some time with the Penn State coaches, talking to them.  Penn State said they (Ball State) were a lot bigger and stronger than they thought and they are well-coached.  We had good pressure, and even if their quarterback didn’t take a sack, he was moving around and having to do things under duress.”

Muma led Wyoming in tackles with 12, including 10 solo tackles to go along with 1.0 tackle for loss.  His running mate at linebacker, Easton Gibbs, recorded eight tackles and 1.0 sack for nine yards.  Free safety Esaias Gandy added six tackles as did defensive end Solomon Byrd.  Byrd also had 1.0 sack for two yards.  Holt and cornerback C.J. Coldon were credited with five tackles apiece.

“Chad has really improved from last year to this year,” added Bohl.  “He’s gotten bigger, he’s making plays in space, he’s an excellent tackler.  His productivity, he’s off the charts.  He’s having one heck of a year.”

The first-half shutout by the Cowboys was their first shutout in a half since Oct. 30, 2020, when UW shutout Hawai’i in the second half.  Wyoming’s 31 first-half points marked the first time that UW scored 30 points in a half since scoring 33 in the first half vs. UNLV on Sept. 28, 2019.

The Wyoming defense held Ball State to only 260 yards of total offense, 118 rushing yards and 142 passing, while holding the Cardinals’ outstanding quarterback Plitt to only 60 yards passing and sacking him five times.

Wyoming took a 3-0 lead on a 24-yard field goal by John Hoyland on the Cowboys’ second possession of the game.  The scoring drive covered 53 yards on seven plays and took 2:45 off the clock.  The drive was highlighted by a 37-yard pass completion from Chambers to Neyor.  For Hoyland, he is now 3 of 3 in field goals on the year and 16 of 17 for his career.

On Ball State’s next possession, BSU quarterback Plitt was sacked on back-to-back plays by Cole Godbout and Ravontae Holt.  But Plitt came back to complete a 19-yard pass for a first down.  On first down at the BSU 40, Plitt through an out route that was intercepted for a “Pick Six” by nickel back Blankenbaker.  Blankenbaker’s interception return for a TD went for 50 yards and gave the Pokes a 10-0 lead.

On the first play of the second quarter, the Cowboys took a 17-0 lead, capping off an eight-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown pass from Chambers to tight end Treyton Welch.  The drive featured a 33-yard run by Valladay and a nine-yard run by running back McNeely.

Ball State drove down to the Wyoming 32-yard line midway through the second quarter.  The Cardinals decided to go for a fourth and four at the 32, but on a long throw to the sideline Cowboy cornerback Azizi Hearn broke in front of the intended receiver and broke up the pass, giving the ball back to Wyoming.

It would take the Cowboys only six plays over two minutes and 48 seconds to score its next touchdown.  That drive was highlighted by a pass from Chambers to Valladay across the middle for 35 yards followed by a screen pass to running back Trey Smith for 15 yards two plays laters.  On a first and 10 at the Ball State 16-yard line, McNeely broke through the left side of the offensive line and sprinted to the corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown.  Wyoming had built its lead to 24-0.

Wyoming’s defense forced the second turnover of the game on the Cardinals’ next possession.  BSU quarterback Plitt dropped back on third and six at the Wyoming 47-yard line.  That is when Jones sacked Plitt and knocked the ball loose.  Defensive end Pate recovered the fumble at the BSU 31. 

On the first play after the turnover, Chambers hit Neyor on a 20-yard completion on the sideline.  Chambers then kept the ball on a rush up the middle for seven yards.  Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl called a timeout with 30 seconds remaining.  After an incompletion, Valladay carried for three yards to the one-yard line for a first down, with 22 seconds remaining in the half.  Wyoming took a second timeout.  Chambers then rolled right on the final play of the drive and ran into the endzone, giving the Pokes a 31-0 lead.

With 17 seconds remaining in the half, Wyoming attempted a squib kick down the middle of the field on the kickoff.  The ball was picked up by wide receiver Justin Hall for the Cardinals, and he proceeded to return the kick 72 yards down to the Wyoming 26 with only six seconds remaining in the half.  After a delay of game on first down, Plitt completed a nine-yard pass to the UW 23.  BSU place-kicker Jake Chanove came in to attempt a 40-yard field goal, but the kick went wide right and the half ended with Wyoming leading 31-0.

The only scoring drive of the third quarter was engineered by Ball State.  The Cardinals began their final possession of the third quarter at their own 13-yard line.  They drove 87 yards in 15 plays and running back Will Jones scored on a one-yard TD run. 

The Cowboys looked like they may have stopped the drive at the Wyoming 26 when Ball State back-up  quarterback John Paddock threw an incomplete pass on third and five, but Wyoming’s Blankenbaker was called for interference.  That penalty moved the ball to the Wyoming 11-yard line.  Three plays later running back Jones scored the Cardinals’ first touchdowns.  Ball State missed the extra point and the score was 31-6 in favor of Wyoming.

Wyoming responded with a scoring drive of its own as the game entered the fourth quarter.  Chambers completed two big pass plays on the drive — one of 17 yards to tight end Colin O’Brien and a 15-yarder to Neyor.  Valladay would score his first TD of the day on a one-yard run.  The drive covered 75 yards in 11 plays and took 5:55 off the clock.  With 11:04 to go in the fourth quarter, Wyoming held a 38-6 advantage.

Ball State put together an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive concluding with a 19-yard TD run by running back Carson Steel.  BSU’s two-point conversion failed, and the score was 38-12 in favor of the Cowboys.

The final points of the game were scored by Muma with his interception and 45-yard return for a touchdown, capping off a great day for the Cowboys and making the final score 45-12 in a matchup of the last two Arizona Bowl Champions.

Next Up

Wyoming will travel to Connecticut next Saturday, Sept. 25 to face UConn at 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.  That game will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

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Cardiac Cowboys Improve to 2-0 with Road Win at Northern Illinois

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By Tim Harkins, University of Wyoming

For the second straight week, the Wyoming Cowboys scored the winning touchdown of the game within the final two minutes of play and the Pokes improved their record to 2-0 on the season with a 50-43 road win at Northern Illinois.

The Cowboys set the tone early in the game as the offense scored back-to-back touchdowns on their first two possessions and then added two more TDs in the second quarter, while the Cowboy defense came up with two first-half interceptions to give Wyoming a 28-10 lead at halftime. 

ADVERTISINGUW built its lead to 42-16 midway through the third quarter when linebacker Chad Muma intercepted a pass and turned it into a “Pick Six” of 23 yards with 6:03 remaining in the third.

But from that point forward, the momentum shifted in favor of Northern Illinois.  The Huskies scored four unanswered touchdowns to take the lead at 43-42 with only 4:56 left in the game.

Determined to not let the game slip away, the Cowboy offense, with quarterback Sean Chambers at the helm, began its next drive with three straight running plays of 18 yards by Xazavian Valladay, eight yards by Titus Swen and four yards by Trey Smith

Chambers would connect with Valladay on a 10-yard pass and Smith would add a one-yard run to take the ball down to the NIU 34-yard line.  On second and nine from the 34, Chambers lofted a pass down the sideline and wide receiver Isaiah Neyor snatched it out of the air as he was falling out of bounds at the Huskies’ four-yard line. 

The catch was originally ruled incomplete by the officials, but after a video replay the call was reversed and Wyoming had the ball at the four.  Chambers attempted to find Neyor on a quick out pattern on first and goal, but the pass was incomplete. 

Wyoming’s offense was then penalized five yards for an illegal substituion.  On second and goal from the nine, a pass from Chambers to wide receiver Ayden  Eberhardt fell incomplete.  Facing a third and goal from the nine-yard line, Chambers ran a naked bootleg to his left and slipped into the front corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. 

A successful two-point conversion by the Pokes followed when Chambers found Neyor in the end zone to give UW a 50-43 lead with 1:35 left to play.  The winning drive took 12 plays over three minutes and 21 seconds and covered 75 yards, which was the exact number of yards the Pokes’ covered in their winning TD drive the previous week against Montana State.

Northern Illinois had one more opportunity to try and regain the lead.  They started off in great field position after a 35-yard kickoff return gave them the ball at the NIU 42.  But the Wyoming defense allowed NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi to complete only 1 of 7 pass attempts for 12 yards on the Huskies’ final possession to preserve the 50-43 road win.

“We knew Northern Illinois was a good team coming into this game having beaten an ACC team (Georgia Tech) last week on the road,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl.  “I want to give credit to our offense again for putting together another outstanding two-minute drive at the end of the game.

“On defense, we accomplished what we wanted to today in terms of forcing turnovers, but we know we have some work to do on limiting big plays.  Northern Illinois was able to break some big plays in the second half and we have to clean that up.

“With that said, it’s not easy to win games in college football, and I’m proud of the resilence our players showed to come away with this win.” 

Wyoming wide receiver Neyor scored three touchdowns on the day with TD receptions of 33 and 19 yards in the first half and had a five-yard rushing touchdown on a jet sweep in the third quarter.

When asked about Neyor’s performance in Saturday’s victory, Bohl said, “Isaiah is a rare talent.  He made a lot of big plays today and definitely provides us with a down-field threat.  He made some tough catches in big situations today, and I think you’ll continue to see a lot more from him as the season goes on.”

The Cowboy defense came up with three interceptions in the game.  Safety Miles Williams recorded the first interception of his career in the first quarter to stop a drive that had penetrated down to the Wyoming 32-yard line. 

In the second quarter, safety Rome Weber was able to snatch a deflected pass out of the air for the second interception of his career and his first of the 2021 season.  Weber’s interception came at the NIU 22-yard line and led to Valladay scoring on a seven-yard TD run two plays later.  UW’s third interception was Muma’s “Pick Six” of 23 yards in the third quarter.

UW committed only one turnover of its own on the day when a lateral from Chambers to wide receiver Tyrese Grant was ruled a fumble in the fourth quarter.  The Huskies recovered the fumble at the Wyoming 14-yard line and scored on the following play to make the score Wyoming 42, Northern Illinois 36.

For the day, Wyoming achieved the offensive balance it has been striving for.  The Cowboys rushed for 191 yards and had 204 passing yards for 395 yards of total offense.  Northern Illinois rushed for 244 yards and threw for 233 for 477 yards of total offense to outgain the Pokes. 

But the ability of the Wyoming defense to force three turnovers in the end helped make the comeback win possible for the Cowboys.  Williams’ interception stopped an NIU drive deep in Wyoming territory.  Weber’s interception led to a Wyoming touchdown, and Muma’s “Pick Six” gave the UW defense a score of its own.

Chambers concluded the day completing 13 of 23 passes for 191 yards.  He connected with six different receivers led by Neyor, who had four catches for 87 yards and two receiving touchdowns.  Eberhardt also had four receptions for 49 yards, and Valladay caught two passes out of the backfield for 50 yards, including a long of 38  yards.

Valladay recorded the 11th 100-yard rushing game of his career and first of this season with 101 yards on 21 carries Saturday.  He also scored one rushing touchdown. 

Swen added 54 yards on nine carries and also had a rushing TD.  Chambers added 16 yards rushing on eight carries, including his nine-yard scamper for the winning touchdown.  Chambers led the Cowboys with 207 yards of total offense.  Valladay ended the day with 151 yards of all-purpose yardage (rushing and receiving), and Neyor capped off his big day with 100 all-purpose yards (87 receiving and 13 rushing), two receiving TDs and one rushing touchdown.

Defensively, Muma and fellow linebacker Easton Gibbs led the Cowboys with 10 tackles each.  Muma also added 1.0 tackle for loss to go with his 10 tackles and interception for a touchdown. 

Gibbs had 0.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup.  Cornerback C.J. Coldon contributed nine tackles and two pass breakups, and safety Esaias Gandy added seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.  Wyoming’s 2.0 sacks on the day were made by nose tackle Cole Godbout and defensive end Victor Jones.

Northern Illinois’ outstanding freshman running back Harrison Waylee rushed for 179 yards on 26 carries and two TDs, including a 75-yard touchdown run.  NIU quarterback Lombardi completed 19 of 36 passes for 233 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. 

The Huskies’ leading receiver was wide receiver Cole  Tucker, who caught six passes for 72 yards.  Linebacker Nick Rattin was credited with 11 tackles.  Safety C.J. Brown contributed 10 tackles.  Defensive tackle Devonte O’Malley recorded NIU’s 1.0 sack on the day.   

Cowboy Helmets Honor the 20th Anniversary of 9/11
Wyoming wore special red, white and blue Bucking Horse and Rider decals on their helmets Saturday, along with a special 9/11 decal on the back of their helmets.  Each helmet also had the words “Always Remember, Never Forget” on the back of each helmet.

Wyoming-Northern Illinois, What a Series
The Cowboys have only played Northern Illinois twice in history, but both games were wild affairs.  Today’s game saw Wyoming build a 42-16 lead, only to see NIU come back to take the lead, 43-42, before Wyoming scored the winning TD with only 1:35 remaining in the game to win 50-43.

In 2016, the two teams played in a triple overtime game in Laramie, Wyo., that resulted in Wyoming winning 40-34 on a Josh Allen scramble for a touchdown.  That game was delayed 1 hour and 43 minutes due to a lightning delay and finally ended at 2:34 a.m.

Versus the Mid-American Conference
With Wyoming’s win at Northern Illinois today, the Cowboys improved their all-time record versus Mid-American Conference schools to 9-4 and are now 2-0 against NIU. 

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