After being down 14-3 early, I won’t lie, I thought Wyoming may suffer another blow out loss to Colorado State. UW lost the previous three games by a combined score of 123-60 and this game had the makings of that.
But then it all changed.
Some great running by junior running back Brian Hill and senior Shaun Wick, some timely passes (and good play calls) by redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen and some good defensive play led UW to what turned to be an easy victory.
And the result afterwards:
It’s always amazing to me that after a loss — whether it is close or not — that everyone has the answers. After the Eastern Michigan loss people were questioning play calling, coaching, etc. Not a lot of that after this game. Was it perfect from UW? No, but it was arguably the most impressive showing by this team in the Craig Bohl era as coach.
How cool was it to see senior nose tackle Chase Appleby get a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown — on his 23rd birthday? What was just as or even more impressive was the play made by redshirt freshman defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan. He looped around on a stunt — and covered a lot of ground — to get to Colorado State true freshman quarterback Collin Hill.
Wyoming’s defense gave up 10 plays of 22 yards or more, but more importantly, pitched a shut out in terms of points in the second half.
Here’s Bohl after the game:
Sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard finished with a career-high 17 tackles, including 10 solo stops. He had 11 tackles at halftime, and garnered high praise by Colorado State coach Mike Bobo after the game.
“He made every tackle,” Bobo said. “Like I said going into the game, he not only made tackles that safeties make, he made tackles at seven or eight yards. He made tackles for no gain. He’s a heck of a player.”
Down 14-3, Wingard said the team “didn’t panic and we stayed level-headed.”
Hill became UW’s career rushing leader. He finished with 166 yards on 19 carries. He didn’t lose any yardage and had runs of 49 and 39 yards. At 3,056 rushing yards, he is the first Cowboys’ player to ever run for more than 3,000 yards. Hill looked a bit off to me in practice this week, but he wasn’t off in this game.
Bohl mentioned this in his postgame interview, but an underrated performance in the game was by senior punter Ethan Wood. He averaged 44.5 yards per punt. Four of his six punts were downed inside the Colorado State 20, including two at the 1.
A lot of people questioned why UW didn’t kick a field goal field goal midway through the third quarter. Instead, it lost the ball on downs. I admit, I didn’t ask that question in the postgame, nor did anyone. However, UW went for it on fourth down earlier in the drive and I think it felt the momentum of going for it there. Obviously, it didn’t have an impact on the outcome of the game, but I liked the call. However, easy to say that now.
The Bronze Boot traveling trophy is back in Laramie for the first time since 2012. It no doubt was an emotional victory, but UW doesn’t have a lot of time to celebrate it because it faces another rival — Air Force (4-0, 1-0) Saturday for homecoming.
Just like coming off the loss at Eastern Michigan, UW must put the Border War behind it and focus all of its attention on Air Force this week. Hopefully, that will be easier coming off a win. We shall see.
For more coverage from the game, log on to wyosports.net.