Wyoming 28, Hawaii 21 OT – postgame thoughts

It wasn’t always pretty, in fact, it was ugly more often than not, but Wyoming’s 28-21 overtime win over Hawaii Saturday night was big because I got the sense if UW had lost that game it would have been very tough to recover from, despite eight more regular-season games to play.

It doesn’t mean that UW will go on a long winning streak now, although anything is possible. But to me, the way the Cowboys persevered though the game to get a win showed a lot of grit and toughness.

Here are the late-game highlights, including the game-winning plays in overtime:

The offense still has a lot of issues in terms of consistency. True freshman running back Trey Woods looked very good at times, and finished with 135 yards on just 15 carries. But dropped passes in the first half, and an overall lack of sustaining drives and scoring points still plague the offense. It looks like UW will be without junior offensive guard Kaden Jackson for a while — and maybe the rest of the season — with a leg injury. Fourth-year coach Craig Bohl said after the game he’s hopeful senior guard Ryan Cummings will be back this coming week from a concussion. Redshirt freshman Jace Webb made his UW debut in place of Jackson. UW has now played 11 true freshmen and seven redshirt freshmen this season.

Here’s more from Bohl after the game:

Wyoming’s defense took a bit of a beating in the game as well. Being out there for two-thirds of the game will do that do you. Junior defensive end Kevin Prosser left with a shoulder injury in the first half and didn’t return. Junior safety Marcus Epps injured a leg in overtime and Bohl said after the game he doesn’t expect him to return any time soon.

I thought it was cool to see UW clinch the game in overtime with an interception, but especially by the guys who caused it. Redshirt freshman walk-on defensive end Garrett Crall tipped the pass at the line of scrimmage. Crall saw more playing time due to Prosser’s injury. Sophomore outside linebacker Cassh Maluia picked off the pass, despite wearing a cast/club over his right hand due to a broken thumb suffered Sept. 9 in the Gardner-Webb game.

Here is Maluia after the game:

Sophomore Tyler Hall’s 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown late in the third quarter was UW’s first touchdown in the second half this season. It came at a good time.

Perhaps the return of junior wide receiver James Price, who caught what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in overtime from 25 yards out, will help UW’s sluggish passing game. The dropped passes early are a concern, especially for sophomore wide receiver C.J. Johnson. Johnson is good, and has proven that in the past. But he needs to be better than good this season, and one has to wonder if he’s really battling things in his head with the drops. He had two against Hawaii.

But a win is a win, and UW will take a win any way it can. If it can find enough to beat a struggling Texas State team (1-3) at home this coming Saturday, it gets a bye week heading into the rest of its conference season. That bye week will come at a good time.

I also have to give a shout-out to UW sophomore linebacker Ben Wisdorf of Cheyenne for this post on his Twitter account Sunday morning about the announced crowd of 17,796 at the game: “I was very impressed in our fans last night. Doesn’t matter how cold or late it is, y’all have loyalty inside your DNA.” Well said, Ben, and kudos to those who stuck it out Saturday night at the game.

For more coverage of the game, including more video and some great photos, log on to wyosports.net.