As I wrote in my column for Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Laramie Boomerang and online at wyosports.net, Wyoming didn’t make the plays it did two weeks ago in its 34-33 win over San Diego State. The result was a 27-24 loss in the Mountain West Championship Game to the Aztecs Saturday night at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.
Here’s the link to that column:
The Cowboys were not able to run the ball, aside from a 66-yard run by junior running back Brian Hill. UW had just 95 rushing yards in the game. Take Hill’s big run away and it did little to nothing in the run game. UW’s offensive line struggled from start to finish in both the run and pass game. Credit should be given to San Diego State’s defense, which had been gashed the previous two games.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen was knocked around pretty good throughout the game, and took a pretty obvious cheap shot by a San Diego State defender in front of an official, but no call was made. The offensive line struggled throughout the game, but again, I think San Diego State played much better defensively than it did in Laramie two weeks ago.
I thought Wyoming’s defense played pretty well. Yes, San Diego State had two 100-yard rushers, but based on the struggles in losses at UNLV and New Mexico, the defense more than held its own.
It was nice to see sophomore nose tackle Sidney Malauulu get back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a foot injury. His interception early in the game was impressive for a big guy. Also thought true freshman Cassh Maluia did a great job replacing senior D.J. May (pectoral) at outside linebacker. Maluia started and played most of the game, and finished with five tackles. Could be seeing the future at that position with him.
Also thought redshirt freshman defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan was stellar. Eight tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss.
But in the end, UW’s inability to consistently sustain drives on offense, three turnovers and a couple of special teams mistakes — a missed field goal and two long kickoff returns by San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny — cost it a chance to win a conference title.
Here is UW’s postgame news conference after the game:
Now it’s time for a bowl game, and a game with long-time rival Brigham Young in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 21. A good bowl game, a good destination and a good opponent as BYU finished the season at 8-4.
There should be disappointment that UW lost the MW Championship Game. But despite the Cowboys’ shortcomings, they had their chances at the end. It was a good and entertaining game, and the crowd at 24.001 in Laramie was good. A lot to be proud of with this Cowboys squad, and now it gets rewarded with another game.
For more coverage from the MW Championship Game, and more on the bowl announcement, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.