That was one of the weirdest games I have ever covered or been a part of. Not the wierdest, but it ranks right up there.
I was in the stands — not working — when UW beat San Diego State 52-51 in Laramie in 1990. I covered the 53-45 triple overtime win at UNLV in 2004 where UW rallied and got bowl eligible that year.
UW beat Hawaii 59-56 in overtime Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. The announced crowd was 12,227, but there were not that many here. Less than 10,000 in my estimation. And this game had the combination of being entertaining, sad, embarrassing and down-right odd all in the span of four hours and six minutes.
Here are some video highlights, including UW’s last touchdown in regulation, Hawaii’s successful two-point conversion to force overtime and the overtime possessions for both teams.
Still, the few people that were there saw an exciting game. UW and junior quarterback Brett Smith broke all sorts of records. Smith threw for 498 yards and seven touchdown passes, and ran for another. UW had nearly 800 yards of total offense. Senior receiver Robert Herron caught four touchdown passes. He and junior receiver Dominic Rufran both had more than 100 yards receiving — the first UW duo since 2005 to do that.
The defense gave up 624 yards of total offense and 50-plus points for the third time this season. But to me, the most impressive stretch for the defense came in overtime. Hawaii had a second-and-2 at the UW 5-yard line. It gained zero yards combined over the next three plays. Senior linebacker Devyn Harris made two of the three stops. He played a heck of a game, and was one of three players with a team-high nine tackles. Harris and junior Mark Nzeocha both had eight solo tackles.
UW’s secondary wasn’t good in pass coverage, but true freshman strong safety Xavier Lewis, who made his first ever start, had eight tackles. I thought he played pretty well.
Still, there was some embarrassing plays. UW muffed two punts. Well, the ball hit UW players on those punts and Hawaii recovered. That was laughable, as was UW’s special teams throughout the game. However, junior kicker Stuart Williams made the game-winner on overtime from 36 yards. He said he knew he made it the second the ball left his foot.
There were eight plays that were reviewed. Eight! One that wasn’t should have been and it would have likely prevented a UW turnover. It was prior to the Cowboys’ first muffed punt in the first half On the play before that, Harris looked to have knocked the ball loose from a Hawaii receiver. Looking at the video replay from the press box it looked like the receiver caught the ball, took at least two steps with the ball and then the fumble. Coach Dave Christensen didn’t challenge the play. He said after the game he lost challenges like that in the past, but I think he would have won that one.
A three-point overtime win over a winless team. Something UW should be happy about? Look, a win is a win and it snaps a four-game losing streak. Let the players and coaches enjoy this. UW has to go to Utah State next week to face the Mountain West’s best defense. The Cowboys can get bowl eligible with a win, but can they beat a good team on the road?
Saturday, they beat a bad team at home — in overtime.
For more on the game, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net.