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Cowboys Top Vandals in Close Home Game

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Idaho 16, Wyoming 21

NCAA Football: Missouri at Wyoming
Wyoming survived against Idaho on Saturday in a game much closer than most expected.
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

My Initial Thoughts

It was a perfect day for football in Laramie. A beautiful day and an exciting football game. For a Wyoming fan, it was much more exciting than I’d like for a Cowboys team that came in as 25 point favorites. Still, Wyoming won and is 3-0 on the season. I’ll happily take that.

Quick Take

Idaho really played hard and stayed in this game from start to finish. Wyoming did not look all that impressive, but they hung on for a win, relying on their defense and running game.

The Recap

So far this season, Wyoming has not started well. That continued against Idaho. After receiving the opening kickoff, Wyoming drove down the field to the Idaho 29. However, Copper Rothe missed a 46 yard field goal, and Wyoming failed to score first.

Immediately afterward, Idaho drove down the field to the Wyoming 9 and kicked a field goal to take the early lead.

Again, Wyoming drove down the field. This time to the Idaho 32. Again, Cooper Rothe would miss a field goal.

Idaho immediately responded with a long drive that the Vandals finished with a 15 yard TD run. Idaho lead 10 to 0 early in the 2nd quarter.

For whatever reason, this has been a familiar pattern for the Cowboys. Quickly falling behind and the offense not scoring early in the game. Luckily, for the 3rd straight game, things started to turn around in 2nd quarter.

Wyoming would get the ball and drive down the field for a touchdown. The drive was capped by a 12 yard run from Raghib Ismail Jr. for the score.

The Cowboy defense now seemed to have figured some things out. Wyoming quickly forced a three-and-out against the Vandals offense. Austin Conway would return the Idaho punt 45 yards to set Wyoming up at the Idaho 14. On 2nd and 6, Trey Smith had a 10 yard TD run to give Wyoming the lead, 14 to 10.

From this point on, Wyoming never trailed again in the game. That said, Wyoming also never really found much breathing room as this game was competitive to the end.

The teams exchanged punts (Idaho, Wyoming, Idaho) to end the half.

The 2nd half started much the same with the teams exchanging punts. Then Idaho put together a strong drive that stalled at the Wyoming 17. Idaho kicked a field goal and was now down just a point.

Defense was winning the day today. Idaho and Wyoming would each punt on their next three drives.

After six punts, Wyoming got the ball, and it took one big play to get Wyoming on the board again. Trey Smith went 80 yards down the sideline for a TD run, giving the Cowboys a 21 to 13 lead.

Idaho responded with a drive of their own, all the way to the Wyoming 7. With 7:20 still to play, Idaho settled for a field goal, trimming the Wyoming lead to 21 to 16.

After a quick Wyoming punt, Idaho got the ball back. The Vandals drove all the way down to the Wyoming 18, helped by two 15-yard penalties against the Cowboy defense for late hits out-of-bounds (I’d argue at least one of those calls was pretty questionable).

On 3rd down from the Wyoming 18, the Vandals threw to the end zone. The Idaho receiver clearly pushed off, and a flag was thrown for offensive pass interference. After the penalty yards were marked off, the Idaho QB would be sacked for a loss of 12 yards on their next 3rd down attempt.

With Idaho having been pushed back from the Wyoming 18 to the Wyoming 45, Idaho punted on 4th down to pin Wyoming deep.

With 3:13 to go from their own 10 yard line, Wyoming ran for a first down while forcing Idaho to use their remaining timeouts. Wyoming was able to run for one more first down, and Idaho could do nothing to stop Wyoming from running out the clock with a couple of kneel downs to end the game.

Idaho 16, Wyoming 21.

My Final Thoughts

Idaho really fought hard. I saw a ridiculous catch made by a Vandal player on the side lines close to where I was in the stands. It was really something and deserves a look.

I feel like for much of the game Idaho outplayed Wyoming. Still, a win is a win.

For those interested in seeing more of the game highlights, here you go.