Wyoming coach Craig Bohl had reiterated it enough to make a young man go deaf.
This year’s team was different.
It was faster, stronger, deeper and a perhaps most importantly, a year older.
And on Sunday at 2:34 a.m. local time, the Cowboys outlasted Northern Illinois 40-34 in triple overtime to move to 1-0 on the young season.
Wyoming redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen scrambled on a fourth and goal from the 5-yard line, eventually finding pay dirt for the game-clinching touchdown.
The Huskies started the second overtime with the ball first, but junior kicker Christian Hagan missed a 36-yarder, leaving the Pokes only needing a field goal to win.
Allen took matters into his own hands, finding the end zone for the time since the third quarter.
Allen completed 19 of 29 attempts for 245 yards and two scores. He was just 5 of 11 via the air attack in the first half, but quickly found a groove in the second 30 minutes. He added 70 yards on the ground.
Junior running back Brian Hill also did some work on the turf, rushing 33 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Hill got the Cowboys into the end zone for the first time, barreling in from two yards out with 11:42 to play in the opening half.
Wyoming junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry — who finished with 104 yards on eight receptions— caught a 17-yard dart from Allen that book ended 17 unanswered points for the Cowboys and positioned them in front 20-13 with 9:13 to play in the third quarter.
The two teams traded third-quarter touchdowns before the Huskies scored on a 19-yard touchdown reception from junior tight end Shane Wimann that knotted the contest at 27.
Wyoming freshman kicker Cooper Rothe had an attempt from 49 yards out that would have won the game as time expired, but the kick missed wide right.
Rothe missed another potential game-winning kick in the first overtime, but did connect on both of his first half attempts.
The two clubs exchanged touchdowns in the second overtime, setting the stage for a dramatic third extra session.
NIU senior quarterback Drew Hare finished 24 for 39 for 329 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target senior wide receiver Kenny Golladay logged a 10-catch, 144-yard performance that included two receiving scores and one via the ground.
Wyoming senior wide out Jake Maulhardt finished with 106 yards on five receptions.
Both teams found effective balance on the offensive side of the ball, gaining 462 yards (NIU) and 488 yards (Wyoming), respectively. The Huskies inflicted more damage from the air — 329 passing — while the Pokes stuck to the ground game, running for 243 yards, collectively.
No turnovers were present, but both clubs littered the field with flags as the teams combined for 206 penalty yards.
Wyoming travels to Nebraska on Saturday while NIU travels to South Florida.