The first half and fourth quarter were impressive. The third quarter: not so much.
But in the end, Wyoming’s 52-28 home win over Utah State in front of a solid crowd of 17,837 for the late-night kickoff was a good win. The Cowboys won their fifth straight game, improve to 7-2 overall and remain in first place in the Mountain Division of the MW at 5-0.
Here is third-year coach Craig Bohl after the game:
A lot of chatter on Twitter and online and after the game was about the roughing the passer and targeting penalty that resulted in the ejection of UW senior outside linebacker/nickel D.J. May. That clearly had an impact on the defense, and goes to show you May’s importance. His speed and athleticism — right now — is unmatched at that position. What made things tougher was May’s backup — junior Jalen Ortiz — left the game prior to May’s ejection with an undisclosed injury. That left sophomore safety Chavez Pownell Jr. to play nickel. Pownell doesn’t practice that spot, so he was thrown into the fire — so to speak. The good news is May will be able to play this coming week at UNLV.
Whether or not it was targeting is debatable, but anytime a player leads with his head, nine times out of 10 the officials are going to call targeting. It didn’t take them long to confirm their initial call, either.
Redshirt sophomore starting quarterback Josh Allen continues to amaze. He threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and his 46-yard strike to senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry right before halftime was something else. The right-handed Allen scrambled to his left and threw a dart to Gentry, who did a pretty incredible job himself making the catch and staying in bounds.
Here is Allen after the game:
It was disappointing to see UW give up 21 unanswered points to Utah State in less than a three-minute span in the third quarter. A 35-7 lead shrunk to 35-28. But like UW did against Air Force about a month ago, it never lost the lead and made the plays to swing momentum back on its side. Allen’s scramble for 38 yards was the biggest play, I thought. Then in the next play he throws a touchdown pass to senior tight end Jacob Hollister.
Redshirt freshman outside linebacker Logan Wilson of Casper is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch on the defense. I love how hard he plays, and also the plays he makes. His interception late was key in securing the victory. For a young guy, he has a nice mix of maturity and ability. Got to think he will just get better with time. Here is Wilson after the game:
A lot was made of last year’s game with Utah State, where the Aggies won 58-27 and scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns — all via the pass. UW players definitely remembered that. The Cowboys could have scored a touchdown in the final seconds of the game, and that would have made the score 59-28. However, UW took the high road and took a knee, which I thought showed class. As for last year’s game, karma can be a cruel thing.
The latest college football polls were released Sunday. UW was No. 31 in the coaches poll and tied for No. 34 in the AP poll.
The next test for the Cowboys is this coming Saturday at UNLV (3-6, 2-3). The Rebels were off this past week. UW seeks its third straight road conference win, something it hasn’t done since 1988, which also was the last time it won an outright conference championship as members of the Western Athletic Conference.