A good game. Wyoming turnovers cost the Cowboys dearly as Utah State gets the W.
Utah State got the ball to start. On their 4th play of the drive, Jordan Love would be picked off by Javaree Jackson.
Wyoming was setup with great field position at the Utah State 25. Wyoming would make it all the way down to the Utah State 11. Unfortunately, the Cowboys would turn the ball right back over on a strip-sack fumble on Tyler Vander Waal. An early opportunity lost.
From there, the teams would exchange three punts. Wyoming would put together a nice drive. making it all the way to the Utah State 2. However, Wyoming would fail to convert on 4th and 1 from the Utah State 2 and turn the ball over on downs. Another early opportunity lost.
On the next possession for Utah State, Jordan Love would throw a pick-six on just the second play of the drive. Logan Wilson got the interception and TD to put Wyoming on the board.
After a couple more punts were exchanged, Utah State got on the board with a quick score on an 80 yd TD pass to Siaosi Mariner to tie the game.
After a Wyoming punt, Utah State put together their best drive of the game. Gerold Bright would score on a 35 yard TD pass to give Utah State the lead.
Wyoming responded with a drive of their own. Tyler Vander Waal would run in for an 11 yard TD to finish a 61 yard drive.
With the game again tied, Utah State put together a nice drive that would stall at the Wyoming 30. Domink Eberle (who had a nice day) would connect on the 47 yard field goal to put Utah State back on top.
Utah State would never trail again.
On the next Cowboy possession, Tyler Vander Waal would turn the ball over again. Shaq Bond would pick him off, giving the Aggies back the ball at the Utah State 43.
The Wyoming defense would force another field goal, and Eberle would connect on a 44 yard field goal to extend the Utah State lead before the half.
The 2nd half had a lot less action than the 1st half. Wyoming got the ball, but they would be forced to punt.
From there, Utah State put together a really nice drive. However, after 15 plays and 83 yards, Utah State would turn the ball over at the Wyoming 3, failing to convert on 4th and 1.
Pinned deep, Wyoming quickly three-and-outed. On the punt, Utah State put together a good return, and Wyoming would get a stupid personal foul penalty to tack on another 15 yards. The result was the Aggies starting at the Wyoming 11.
The defense would again hold, and Eberle would connect on a 23 yard field to extend the Aggie lead to 9.
After yet another Wyoming punt, Utah State would put together another solid drive. This time Eberle would not connect, missing a 50 yard field goal.
However, Wyoming would give the Aggies a 2nd chance to extend the lead. Tyler Vander Waal would throw his 2nd interception on just the the 3rd play of the next drive. Eric Munoz would make the pick and return it all the way back to the Wyoming 2.
The Cowboys defense kept refusing to let this game get completely away from them. The Cowboys would stop the Aggies again and force another field goal. Eberle would connect on a 23 yard field goal to give the Aggies a 12 point lead.
After that, the offense finally woke up again. The Cowboys would march 75 yards on 9 plays as Tyler Vander Waal would run for a 5 yd TD with 6:52 remaining to close the deficit to 5.
The Wyoming defense would respond, forcing the Aggies to punt. However, with 3:47 left in the game, the Cowboys offense would do nothing, and Wyoming would punt, asking the defense to come up with another stop.
And they did. Utah State would three-and-out, giving Wyoming the ball back with 2:02 left in the game.
Wyoming was starting to drive a little. going from their own 30 to the Utah State 39. However, Tyler Vander Waal would throw his 3rd interception of the day (and the 2nd by Eric Munoz).
Utah State would take a couple of kneel downs, and the game was over.
Wyoming 21, Utah State 26.
Congrats to Utah State. They made the plays when they needed them. The home favorite won, so this was not an upset. In fact, the odds-makers hit this one right on the head as the Aggies were favored by 5.
That said, Wyoming should feel like they missed some major opportunities. This game could have gone very differently if Wyoming protected the ball like they normally do. I don’t like to pick on any particular player (especially since these are just college kids), but Tyler Vander Waal has to play better. He accounted for all of the turnovers, 4 in total. For Wyoming to go on the road and beat a good Utah State team, you can’t turn the ball over like that. Wyoming played well enough to get the win in this game in all areas, except for one. That would be QB. I really hope Vander Waal improves and plays better in the remaining 2 games of the regular season.
Also, the loss hurts for a potential bowl game. The MWC Championship game is not happening. Wyoming trails Utah State, Boise State and Air Force in the Mountain Division. That also means Wyoming trails them for bowl selections. Wyoming is 6-4, and they now should be starting to sweat making a bowl game. Wyoming needs to win at least one of their remaining games to finish with a winning record. 7 wins should be enough to get the Cowboys into a bowl game. Like last year, 6 wins might not be enough to get selected to a bowl game (though the Pokes are eligible). Any bowl game would be good and a sign of progress for the program. Hopefully, the Cowboys take care of business at home next week and get that 7th win against CSU in the Border War.
Lastly, here are the game highlights for those interested:
.@USUFootball keeps the Bridger's Rifle and becomes bowl eligible!#AggiesAllTheWay | #AtThePeak pic.twitter.com/rZp127rM8N— Mountain West (@MountainWest) November 17, 2019