Sept 1, 2012; Austin, TX, USA; Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Brett Smith (16) passes the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the second half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas beat Wyoming 37-17. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
For the Wyoming Cowboys, their 40-37 overtime win should not be mocked just because it came against the lowly Idaho Vandals. Wyoming has had two close calls this year with loses to Toledo and Cal Poly. The saying that "a win, is a win, is a win" is accurate for the Pokes, and was much needed.
They were thought (by me and a few others) to be a dark horse contender for the Mountain West and at least a top three team in the league. That can still happen since they have yet to play a league game, however their 1-3 start does not give me too much confidence that this Wyoming team can compete with the likes of Boise State, Nevada or Fresno State.
A pair of Wyoming's plays are featured on SportsCenter
However, this win against Idaho could push them in that direction, ever so slightly. The big surprise of the game was that Wyoming had starting quarterback Brett Smith in the lineup, after missing last week with a concussion, and he had his best game of the year by completing 23-of-35 passes for 365 yards and had five touchdown passes.
As for the game itself, this was a back-and-forth affair that saw Wyoming get out to an early 14-6 lead after the first quarter and were rolling. In the first quarter Wyoming used freshman wide receiver Jason Thompson in the wildcat position and scored on a touchdown 11-yard
The big play of the quarter was when Smith connected with Chris McNeill on a 75-yard reception. McNeil had a career game with eight catches for 219 yards.
Idaho took advantage in the second quarter, as they made their run by putting up 14 straight points by with a pair of long drives that ate up a lot of clock and gave the Vandals a six-point lead heading into the half.
The second half saw both teams go back-and-forth with Wyoming scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a seven-point lead. The Wyoming defense allowed Idaho to drive down the field with 3:30 left to tie the game on an 8-yard touchdown pass.
The Wyoming defense had a chance to stop Idaho on a 4th-and-5, but the Vandals completed a 16-yard pass which put them inside the Wyoming's 20-yard line. Then six plays later they scored the game-tying touchdown.
However, Wyoming could have won in regulation had their extra-point in the third quarter not have been blocked, or actually it would have forced Idaho to go for two.
In overtime, Wyoming's defense stepped up as Mark Willis sacked Dominique Blackman for a 9-yard loss. That set up Idaho to attempt a 42-yard field goal which they made.
Wyoming was able to score a touchdown on their first play as Smith completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Claiborne to win by three points.
This win can give Wyoming some confidence heading into league play, and while the 1-3 record was not what was expected at all, this win over Idaho was much needed to keep hope alive for a bowl game.
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