Before I delve into the scoring plays of the game, I want to mention that Mike Leach and his staff had a great game plan against Wyoming. Wyoming has a very good, experienced Front 7 on defense. How was Mike Leach going to handle that on the road in Week 1 while breaking in a new QB? By running the ball. Washington State throws the ball a lot, and yet they started the game by running the ball on their first three plays after the opening kickoff. Why? To slow down the Wyoming pass rush and make them respect their running assignments. That tactic worked as Wyoming did not get a single sack as Washington State mixed in the running game just enough to keep Wyoming honest. Without a pass rush, it was pretty much over for Wyoming in defending the passing game of Washington State. While the Cougars have a deep and talented receiving corps, Wyoming had one experienced corner entering this season in Antonio Hull. The #2, #3, and #4 corners are all freshmen. Washington State knew they could win these match-ups, and, overall, they did.
Now, to the scoring recap, Washington State took that opening drive and drove down the field for a field goal, After a quick three-and-out by Wyoming, Washington State got a TD to take an early lead of 10-0.
James Williams makes it 10-0— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) September 1, 2018
Cougs with the 2-yard TD catch! #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/xkIEOVR3gE
Wyoming would quickly three-and-out again on offense, but the Cowboy defense would immediately turn around and force a punt from the Cougars. That punt snap would get away from the Cougar punter and be recovered in the end zone for a safety. Wyoming would three-and-out again, but immediately force a fumble from Washington State once the Cougars had the ball back. With the short field, Wyoming would finally move the ball and get into the end zone.
.@NextUp_Nico won't be denied.— Wyoming Cowboy Football (@wyo_football) September 1, 2018
He finds the end zone for the third time this season from eight yards out, breaking tackle after tackle along the way!#RideForTheBrand #GoWyo #OneWyoming pic.twitter.com/XI1e8CdHHh
Washington State would get another field goal, but then later in the first half turn the ball over again on an interception. Wyoming would again capitalize on the turnover with a scoring drive.
Which led to this TD run by Avante' Cox on a jet sweep, the first touchdown of his Cowboy career! pic.twitter.com/3fdb0Gw4NK— Wyoming Cowboy Football (@wyo_football) September 1, 2018
Wyoming would take a 16-13 lead into the half. To start the second half, Wyoming got the ball and had a nice drive that they capped off with a field goal to extend the lead to 19-13. However, it was a costly drive for Wyoming as Nico Evans would suffer an injury that took him out for the rest of the game. Nico left in the middle of the 3rd quarter with 89 yards up to that point and was seemingly on his way to another 100 yard game prior to getting hurt.
Washington State took the ball down the field on the next drive and scored to regain the lead at 20-19. On that drive, the Cougars converted a 4th and 6 from the Wyoming 40. In the 4th quarter, Washington State would score again to extend their lead to 27-19.
Minshew II delivers a beautiful pass to Easop Winston JR for his first career TD! #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/0aFU25bXzC— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) September 1, 2018
And that I considered to be the deciding blow. With Wyoming now down in the 4th quarter by 8, the Cowboys were still not throwing the ball for much success with Tyler Vander Waal, and Nico Evans was out. It went about as poorly as you’d expect. Wyoming punted on their next two possessions, giving Washington State good field position. The Cougars would take advantage with two more TD’s. Washington State won 41-19.
This game was going fine up through the 3rd quarter, but then things got away from the Cowboys late as they were outscored 21 to 0 in the 4th quarter. As such, this was one of those ‘closer than the final score indicates’ sort of games. So while the Cowboys did play some good football for much of the game, the final scores resulted in a lopsided defeat.