Tag archive

Wyoming football

Wyoming Cowboys Rally Late to Top Montana State in Opener

in News/wyoming cowboys football

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Tim Harkins, University of Wyoming 

The Wyoming Cowboys and Montana State Bobcats waged a war of wills against each other on Saturday in Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium. 

In the end, it was an eight-play, 75-yard drive by the Cowboys that gave Wyoming a 19-16 lead with only 47 seconds remaining in the game to give UW the victory. 

Montana State fought to the very end, running out of time on its final possession of the game at the Wyoming 40-yard line. 

The two teams entered the fourth quarter with Montana State holding a 7-3 lead, but in the first five possessions of the fourth quarter the two teams scored on each of those five drives — the Cowboys scoring two touchdowns and a field goal, while the Bobcats converted a 53-yard field goal and a 75-yard TD drive. Wyoming scored 16 of its 19 points in the fourth quarter, with scoring drives of 52, 67 and 75 yards. 

The Cowboys took their first lead of the game at the 13:36 mark of the fourth quarter when running back Xazavian Valladay carried the ball in from two yards out to put the Pokes ahead 9-7. 

A bad snap on the extra point left the score at 9-7. Montana State responded with a 40-yard drive of its own, concluding with a 53-yard field goal by place-kicker Blake Glessner to put the Bobcats back in the lead at 10-9, with 10:23 remaining. 

The Cowboys took their next possession and moved 67 yards in 13 plays that finished with a 25-yard field goal from place-kicker John Hoyland to give Wyoming a 12-10 lead with 6:20 remaining. But once again, the Bobcats replied with a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to regain the lead at 16-12 with only 2:17 left in the game. 

Wyoming had to score a touchdown to retake the lead, and quarterback Sean Chambers saved his best for last. 

He began the Pokes’ final drive running for eight yards himself. 

Then he completed a 24-yard strike to wide receiver Joshua Cobbs.  After an incompletion, Chambers hit wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt for a seven-yard gain.  He followed that up with a nine-yard pass completion to fullback Parker Christensen and a second scamper by Chambers for six yards. 

He failed to connect with wide receiver Isaiah Neyor on the next play, but on third and four from the MSU 21, Chambers found tight end Treyton Welch down the middle of the field in the end zone as Welch made a one-handed catch against his body. 

Chambers was 4 of 6 passing on the drive for 61 yards and carried the ball twice for 14 yards to put the Cowboys back on top 19-16. With only 47 seconds on the clock, Montana State did gain 35 yards on five plays, making its way down to the Wyoming 40-yard line as time expired, giving the Cowboys a hard-fought 19-16 victory to open the 2021 season. 

“Heck of a ball game,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said in his postgame press conference. “Credit to Brent Vigen and their (Montana State’s) coaching staff.  I thought they were well-prepared and had a good game plan.” 

“Certainly, we were out of sync, particularly in the first half and had a hard time getting some things generated. “From my experience, you make the most improvement in between the first and second game, and that’s gonna be very important. We will be laboring on Labor Day. We have to stay hungry, and we have to play better.  But I will not discredit the execution of the two-minute drive. I thought that was outstanding and our resolve and belief to play. 

“Treyton (Welch) is an excellent player.  I think he’s going to rise to become one of the top tight ends in the league.  He’s got great hands.  It was a super route.

“Sean (Chambers) put the ball where it needed to be, and the offense gave him great protection.  We got in a little bit of a rhythm with Sean.  We were able to pop some runs that we were not able to pop in the first half.  We need to build off that. We are going to be positive about how we did respond.  I’m happy we won, there are great things we did, but there’s a lot of work to do.”   

Montana State led 7-3 at halftime in the low-scoring affair. Wyoming ended the first half having run 29 plays for 109 yards, while MSU ran 32 plays for 130 yards.  Each team turned the ball over once in the first half — Wyoming on an interception and Montana State on a fumble after a pass completion.  At the end of the game, it was the Cowboys who had the slight edge in plays and total yards, running 69 plays for 347 yards. 

The Bobcats ended the day with 59 total plays and 321 yards of total offense.  Neither team committed any turnovers in the second half. Individually, Chambers ended the day completing 15 of 26 passes (.577) for 196 yards, 1 TD pass and 1 interception. 

Valladay led Wyoming in rushing, carrying the ball 19 times for 77 yards and 1 TD run.  Chambers added 51 yards rushing.  Chambers spread the ball around, connecting with eight different receivers for his 15 completions.  The Pokes top pass catcher was wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt, who caught a team high four passes for 71 yards. 

Montana State’s individual totals saw quarterback Matt McKay complete 19 of 28 passes (.679) for 200 yards and two TD passes.  MSU running back Isaiah Ifanse led both teams in rushing, with 16 carries for 103 yards. 

The Bobcats top receiver was wideout Lance McCutcheon, who caught five passes for 71 yards and 1 touchdown. Outstanding middle linebackers Chad Muma for Wyoming and Troy Andersen for Montana State didn’t disappoint.  Each ended the game with 11 tackles for the teams.  Muma added one fumble recovery, one blocked field goal, a huge sack and 2.0 tackles for loss. 

Anderson had a pass breakup to go with his 11 tackles.  On special teams, Wyoming’s Hoyland continued his outstanding play from a year ago, converting both of his field-goal attempts on the day from 37 and 25 yards out to improve his career field-goal statistics to 15 of 16 field goals made (93.8%). 

Cowboy redshirt freshman punter Ralph Fawaz had an amazing career debut, punting six times for a 45.7 yard average while placing five of his six punts inside the MSU 20-yard line and hitting a long punt of 54 yards on two different occasions. 

Cowboy quarterback Chambers was asked after the game what it was like to see his former Wyoming offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach Brent Vigen on the other sideline as head coach of the Bobcats. 

“We met at midfield before the game, but I think we did a good job of keeping it professional,” said Chambers.  “He was over there leading his team, and I was out on the field trying to lead our team. “It was emotional today.  It was good to show what we can do.  The bar has been set, and we just have to keep getting better.” 

Muma was very pleased with the performance of his defense and he attributed it to preparation and communication.

“I think it was the preparation our coaches gave us,” said Muma.  “I think that helped us play fast today.  The defense as a whole, we were communicating very well. “How we played together as a defense I think was the most impressive thing.  I was happy seeing everyone making tackles and playing together. “It’s awesome. We go through these situations every week, so it’s awesome to see the practice we’re going through is paying off.” 

And regarding the gold jerseys that the Cowboys unveiled on Saturday, Muma commented, “Never!  Never in my life did I think we would wear anything other than brown or white jerseys with Coach Bohl here.” 

Since taking over as head coach of the Cowboys in 2014, Bohl returned the Cowboys to their traditional brown jerseys and gold pants for home games and white jerseys and gold pants for road games.  On Saturday against Montana State, the Cowboys wore new gold jerseys and white pants. 

Senior wide receiver Eberhardt said he felt the Cowboys were confident going into the game and were confident when they began the game-winning scoring drive.  He also gave a lot of credit to the 27,007 fans who showed up for the season opener on Saturday. 

“We were confident, and we had replicated that (two-minute) scenario so many times in practice,” said Eberhardt.  It was awesome to see everybody on the same page and to see it end the way it did.   “I thought that everyone started to see that Sean (Chambers) can do everything well.  He can throw it.  He can run it, and he is a great leader. “At the end of the day, whether it’s pretty or not we needed to get to 1-0 and we were able to do that. “It was unbelievable today.  I’ve been here for a long time and man did the fans fill up the seats today.  The fans are everything for this team.  A shout out to our fans.  We could definitely hear them today.  They provided us the extra energy we needed to come back and win this game.”  

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

University of Wyoming President Hopeful Fall Sports Can Be Resurrected

in News/Coronavirus
Edward Seidel

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Could Wyoming have a football season this year?

Never say never. University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel issued a statement on Thursday stating he is “hopeful” that fall sports can be resurrected.

Although he didn’t specifically mention football and he didn’t specifically mention timing, he did say the university and its “colleagues” are working to find a way to bring sports back.

“Due to recent advances in COVID-19 testing technology, and in light of the decision by the Big Ten Conference to return to competition in October, I am hopeful that we will find a safe path forward to get our athletics program back in business,” Seidel said.

“Our coaches and players have done a phenomenal job of preparing in this difficult period. They have done every single thing asked of them, and I couldn’t be more proud of their work ethic — they have truly exhibited what it means to be a Cowboy or Cowgirl at the University of Wyoming,” he said.

“Our athletics director, Tom Burman, and our Department of Athletics are working hard with their colleagues to bring the postponement to an end for the Cowboys and Cowgirls,” he said. “We’re not able to announce anything right now, but be assured that we’re doing everything we can to make it happen.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

SOURCES: Mountain West Cancels All Fall Sports; Will Look Toward Spring

in News/University of Wyoming

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Cody Tucker, 7220 Sports

LARAMIE — The 124th season of Wyoming football will have to wait.
The Mountain West Conference Monday canceled all fall sports due to concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, sources told 7220sports.com.

“(We) will likely postpone until spring,” a source told 7220 Sports today at 10:34 a.m.

Stadium.com is also reporting that the league will not play this fall.

The MWC joins the Mid-American Conference as the only two Group of Five conferences to cancel the season thus far.

The Cowboy football team was scheduled to begin fall training camp Tuesday. The other fall sports — volleyball, cross country and women’s soccer — were also getting underway in Laramie.

It was also reported Monday that the Big Ten Conference would be shutting things down this fall, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The conference has not made an official announcement as of this writing, but is expected to be the first Power-5 league to pull the plug due to COVID-19 concerns.

UConn was the first FBS team to call it quits. Old Dominion didn’t wait for Conference USA to say the word, they announced Monday morning that they would also forgo a fall season.

With the MWC announcement, 26 FBS programs have already called it quits.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Q&A With Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman

in Column/Cody Tucker

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

LARAMIE — Tom Burman is busy addressing a disaster.

What else is new?

The latest one was a wet, unexpected snow storm that hit Laramie two days ago, taking out numerous tress, shutting down highways in and out of the city and power for several hours late Monday night through Tuesday afternoon.

“It looks like a tornado hit Laramie,” Wyoming’s athletics director said Wednesday to begin a 21-minute phone conversation. “Trees on Ivinson will probably have to come down. They are split right down the middle.

We will get through this. It’s just another 2020 issue.”

Those 2020 issues were front and center for Burman during our talk Wednesday.

We spoke about the latest on the COVID-19 front, financial issues and civil unrest around the nation. Mostly, how all of those things will impact the athletic programs at UW. It wasn’t all bad news. We also touched on optimism, actual football and men’s hoops news and what this season might look like from a fans’ perspective.

7220 sports: So, first and foremost, I think the fans want to know — what’s the latest on football starting on time? 

Tom Burman: I would say, as of June 10, we are planning on playing football Sept. 5 versus Weber State and again the next week against Utah. All indications and the direction things are going in college football, we are planning on playing. Will that mean a full stadium? Very unlikely. There will be games and we will have fans.

7220 sports: Some athletes returned to campus June 1. They have all been tested for COVID-19 and are quarantined for 14 days. Has anyone tested positive? Any idea how many players have been tested?

Tom Burman: We’ve tested 166 people. We will release something probably today. Until legal people go over the results, I can’t say how it went. All

I can say is it went well.

7220 sports: Did you get the giant Q-tip test? How did that feel?

Tom Burman: It was miserable, but were going to have to have to get used to it. It’s a part of our life now. Is it painful? No. It’s uncomfortable. I’m hoping we are making progress on saliva tests. The issues are the cost and accuracy of a saliva test … The end game and goal is to switch from a nasal swab to a saliva test … They’re less invasive.

7220 sports: With recent protests sweeping the nation, including in Laramie, will players who are engaged in the protests have to start over when it comes to quarantine?

Tom Burman: No. We gave them some flexibility … They were all wearing masks, and for the most part, stayed six feet apart from those they didn’t know. They went there with a group and tried not to intermingle. We are not naive enough to say they didn’t do it, but we feel good about it. We think it’s important they participate in something they are passionate about.

7220 sports: On Monday, the Division-I Football Oversight Committee drafted a six-week practice plan, allowing coaches to work with players as early as July 6. It is still awaiting approval from the NCAA. Wyoming players would begin workouts July 13, “enhanced training” that is set to begin July 24, and a normal preseason start date of Aug. 7. Are you in favor of that?

Tom Burman: Yeah, I think that model has a lot of merrit … We’ll be getting freshmen here in the next few weeks. We need to get them through quarantine and in a position for a structured, mandatory workout program in early July.

7220 sports: The California State University system announced in May that its campuses would be closed to in-person classes this fall. Three Mountain West teams — San Diego State, San Jose State and Fresno State — are in that system. The Cowboys host the Aztecs Oct. 17. In April, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said there wouldn’t be football unless students return to campus. What is the latest on that?

Tom Burman: It looks like all three are planning to play and have fall sports. Most classes will be online, but some students will be on campus … All states and institutions have autonomy and how they want to do it. It’s possible those schools play in front of no fans. I don’t know how they make that work — that’s their issue. They are hoping to loosen up regulations and have some level of fans.

7220 sports: Has the pandemic effected season ticket sales?

Tom Burman: Were about 750 to 800 below this same time last year. Most people are taking a wait-and-see approach. In the fall, I can see where we are at last year’s numbers and maybe even a bit ahead of it. The first game could be very limited with possibly no single-game tickets available. We will have season-ticket holders and possibly 1,500 students (in the stadium), along with players’ families. We hope to move (the number of fans) up each week as the season progresses. Depends on the results and analysis and whether (COVID-19) spikes or doesn’t spike in Wyoming.

7220 sports: You’ve said the stadium needs to be at least 30 percent filled when the season rolls around. Have you even begun to think of how you would iron that out? Season ticket holders get first dibs? Will students get in?

Tom Burman: We’ve got multiple plans and have had conversations with the state department of health, the governor’s office, our board of trustees, our doctors and the NCAA doctors … As long as there is not a vaccine, we have to be comfortable with some level of risk. The only way to be absolutely safe is to not play.

At present, we are planning to play and have access for all season-ticket holders. We are going to try to move some of them. A couple of sections are very crowded. We are going to ask them to move to spread them out a little bit.

They can go back to that seat the following year. They will be displaced for a season, and we will start that process immediately. We will have about 5,000 seats set as socially distanced and safe as possibly. If you want to go sit in this section, there is approx six feet between fans and everyone will wear masks.

There will be security. If anyone is nervous, they can feel comfortable there. We average roughly 3,000 students per game. We will reduce that and the rest of the stadium 50 percent.

We are hoping to grow it every week. Keep in mind, this is all as of June 10. Things could change dramatically. But that’s kind of what we are thinking. It will be very restricted. We aren’t giving many tickets to visiting fans and they aren’t going to give us many, I would suspect.

7220 sports: OK, enough of the doom and gloom. Let’s pretend the season is a go and Weber State is inside War Memorial Stadium Sept. 5. In your 14 years as the AD in Laramie, have you seen this much excitement surrounding the football program?

Tom Burman: No. I’d say there’s more optimism and belief that we have a quality football program and are one of the top teams in our conference. I’m not going to say we are Boise State or San Diego State. I’m not going to say that we are worse, either. It’s great knowing that every time teams come to The War, they are going to get a first-class effort from a team that plays cowboy tough football. That’s why, selfishly — and there are a lot bigger issues in the world than University of Wyoming athletics — Covid-19 and the crash of energy prices could not have hit at a worse time. We were looking at historic attendance with the schedule we have. It is what it is. If things go well, in the country and in Wyoming, if we can have crowds for Boise State and San Diego State, we would be thrilled. (The Cowboys host SDSU Oct. 17 and Boise State Nov. 21)

7220 sports: Craig Bohl returns a pair of young, exciting quarterbacks, one of the top running backs in the nation in Xazavian Valladay, a wealth of experience and talent on both lines of scrimmage and one of the best home schedules in recent memory. What are you looking forward to most?

Tom Burman: Winning. I just like to win. What I’m looking forward to most is we all have to come together to help each other. We will not be able to operate like normal, but at the end of the day, we are coming together to celebrate the university and the state of Wyoming. We see friends from Cody, Powell, Green River and Denver. Maybe you don’t hug, but elbow bump. There’s still the opportunity to do what we love in the state of Wyoming. If we can pull that off, we will have a great time celebrating the Cowboys. We are getting through this.

7220 sports: Want to jump on a grenade? Who starts under center against Weber State? Sean Chambers or Levi Williams?

Tom Burman: I don’t want to touch that grenade. Whoever starts, it will be excellent. They are both great players and I love both as people. It will be exciting to watch them compete and lead Wyoming football.

7220 sports: Let’s move on to men’s hoops. Last year was rough. The last two years have been rough. Despite all of that, firing coaches, especially one with the character and values of Allen Edwards, has to be the worst part of this job, right?

Tom Burman: Correct. No-brainer. He’s a good man with a great family. He tried everything in his power to get Wyoming basketball to where it needed to be. He’ll be better for it and someday will get another chance. It is hard, but you’ve got to remember to separate personal feelings from business. You have to do what you have to do

7220 sports: You bring in Jeff Linder on St. Patrick’s Day. Right around the time the world came to a halt. How impressive has it been for you to watch this guy land the top recruiting class in the conference without even stepping foot in a living room or meeting mom and dad — or the players — face to face?

Tom Burman: I give a great deal of credit to him and his staff. His plan and what they’ve accomplished, is amazing. More than just recruiting, the decision making process. You can’t hold coaches hands. You can guide them at times, but to micromanage a coach creates an atmosphere where eventually you can’t work together.

With him, it was what do you do first? Go see Hunter Maldonado in Colorado Springs. Go see Kenny Foster and Kwane Marble in Denver. Go meet up with Hunter Thompson. It’s not like, I’ll get to it tomorrow. It’s, I’m leaving in 15 minutes to go to Colorado Springs. Immediate stuff like that. His decision on staff, keeping Sean Vandiver here. He brings continuity to the old players and gives comfort to all of us in athletics. We love Coach V. He’s easy to work with.

Then he goes out and finds a Wyoming guy who dreamed of playing for the Cowboys. That didn’t work out, he left and become a head coach. He goes out and hires Sundance Wicks. You can’t just rely on recruiting Wyoming and Colorado to be successful, so he brings in coach (Ken) DeWeese, who has contacts in Texas …

There’s a value of being a head coach. Every time I miss on a coach, 9 out of 10, I should’ve hired someone who is a head coach. He was at Northern Colorado for four years and that prepared him to do a great job at UW. I’m fired up for hoops.

l hoop we can get through football without a flare of COVID and start hoops on time. The players are fired up to be here and get going.

7220 sports: You told me last season, around this time, that you are loving your job more than you ever have. In just a few months you have had to let a coach go, hire a new one, try and secure state funding, see COVID-19 take hold of the world, come up with plan after plan and sit in on virtual meeting after meeting, speak up in the face of nationwide protests, reschedule games last minute, get a giant swab jabbed into your brain and it snowed six inches in Laramie on June 8. Still love it that much?

Tom Burman: This has been the hardest three months of my career, no doubt about it. Do I still love it? Yes. But it’s been rough. One thing you failed to mention is one of the biggest single threats to us — the crash in energy prices. We can’t continue to build, watch and develop without state support. I’m concerned about that. I wouldn’t say it’s gone, but it took a huge hit. I hope and pray we get it back.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Go to Top