As bowl season marches on the Wyoming Cowboys, of the Mountain West Conference, lock horns with the Central Michigan Chippewas (Mid-American conference), in the 21st edition of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho.
In what would be quite the forgettable game for the Central Michigan Chippewas, CMU’s QB Shane Morris would throw four interceptions, on top of four other fumbles by the Chippewas, to fall to the Wyoming Cowboys. The eight turnovers for the Chippewas would be a school record.
The game would never seriously be in danger for Wyoming, outside of a brief 14-7 Wyoming lead. The Cowboys had an impressive defensive performance to snuff out any CMU momentum. Wyoming would capitalize on these forced errors by the Chippewas and walk away with a win, in Boise, 37-14.
Josh Allen, who would become the story of this game and widely accepted as a top-rated QB in the upcoming NFL Draft, set out to show the sports-world he is worthy of an NFL team’s commitment and investment. Allen, who had missed the final two games of the Cowboys’ regular season, had not seriously considered sitting out the bowl game noting he “[n]ever [had] a thought to sit out voluntarily. I’m not that type of guy. I want to play.”
Wyoming had dropped its last two matchups (Fresno State and San Jose State) without Allen at QB. The Cowboys will be looking to end their season on a positive note with a win against the Chippewas.
The first series for the Cowboys ended in a three-and-out. Two runs and a pass that almost resulted in a Josh Allen sack. What saved the Cowboys was Allen’s ability to stay upright and get the ball out. He was able to give the Cowboys a chance.
Chippewas first possession was only slightly better in that they did get a first down. However an offensive pass interference call on Tyler Conklin stalled the drive for CMU which ultimately ended their drive and forced a shoddy punt.
The Cowboys were successful on their second drive scoring points, however, with a solid mixture of Kellen Overstreet rushing and Allen throwing the ball. Allen connected with Jared Scott on a 23-yard dime to take the Cowboys up 7-0 over CMU.
A costly fumble for the Chippewas on the next drive resulted in an easy follow up score for the Wyoming Cowboys. Kellen Overstreet managed decent chunk yards on three straight plays that highlighted Wyoming’s establishing the run. The highlight of this drive was Allen throwing an 11-yard rocket, from across the field, to Austin Conway for another Wyoming score. They would go up 14-0 against CMU.
The Chippewas took their next drive to finally ‘show up’ in the game. On the third play of the drive, Shane Morris connected with Jonathan Ward for a 74-yard score. While the initial call was Ward had stepped out of bounds on the two yard line, a review found that he did not, extended the play, and scored the TD.
After a quick response from Wyoming that resulted in an Allen to C.J. Johnson TD, and a 21-7 lead, the Chippewas’ Tyler Conklin fumbled the ball in their own red zone. Wyoming would be knocking with hardly an effort.
The Chippewas’ defense was able to “stop” Wyoming from another TD, forcing the Cowboys to kick the field goal, going up 24-7 at the start of the second quarter.
After the field goal the teams took turns punting the ball to take up a good chunk of the second quarter.
CMU, forced to make up some ground, started primarily throwing the ball. Shane Morris threw a lame duck that was picked off by Andrew Wingard, he would return it for 20 yards. The CMU defense did manage to clamp down and only yielded the Cowboys a field goal and Wyoming extended their lead 27-7.
Shane Morris would not be having any sort of good day at all. With the Chippewas behind, Morris would take risks. And would result in yet ANOTHER interception (his second). The Wyoming defense playing inspired and in the right places at the right time.
The Cowboys wouldn’t do anything with that series as Allen takes an ill-advised sack that would put Wyoming behind the sticks too far to do anything productive. The drive would end in a Wyoming punt.
CMU would take this opportunity to end the half without anything bad happening and willing to go into the half only down by 20 points.
The second half did not start too much better for the Chippewas as Shane Morris threw his third interception (fifth total turnover at the time). With Wyoming rolling, the Chippewas defense had an opportunity to make a much-needed stop. A sack of Allen did breathe a little life into the defensive drive, but a taunting penalty against Chippewas’ Mitch Stanitzek gave Wyoming a first down.
The gift from CMU was for naught, though, as Wyoming still only managed a field goal after the turnover.
Shane Morris’ passing day would not be done, however, as he was able to direct a six-play drive that ended with a Jonathan Ward rushing touchdown. Morris had hit Corey Willis for a 30-yard pass to help set up the score.
As much momentum that CMU would muster—they successfully did hold Wyoming to a punt—the ensuing drive would end in disaster as Carl Granderson would strip-sack Morris and return it for a 58-yard score. During that drive Morris had hit CMU receiver Mark Chapman for a 43-yard pass. Cowboys would extend their lead 37-14.
Chippewas would continue to throw the ball into the fourth quarter and, unfortunately for Shane Morris, would lead to another Chippewas interception, his fourth. After the fourth interception, which resulted in his benching, Tony Poljan would come in for clean up.
Poljan would then proceed to fumble the ball, and lose it, after having some mild success in driving the Chippewas to the Wyoming 24. This would be CMU’s eighth turnover—a school record.
Wyoming finally achieved a goal that has eluded them for some years. A win on the Boise State field. While the opposing team was wearing the wrong colors, the Cowboys should be proud of this win and walking away with a trophy to end their season.