An evenly matched game where Tulsa came up with a big turnover late in the game to preserve the win.
For the first time this season, Wyoming did not start slowly and fall behind early in the game.
Instead, the Wyoming offense forced a Tulsa punt after the opening kickoff. The Cowboys took possession and drove down the field for a touchdown.
With a 7-0 Cowboys lead, the game settled into a defensive contest for a bit. Each team would punt on their next two possessions. After that, the teams exchanged sustained drives that would end in missed field goals.
After the teams exchanged punts once more, Tulsa finally got things going late in the 1st half. A quick score on a long pass play on 3rd down finally got Tulsa on the scoreboard.
After this play, the Tulsa offense seemed to have figured out the Cowboy defense.
Wyoming would quickly three-and-out, and Tulsa would quickly score again to take the lead before half.
To start the 2nd half, Wyoming would quickly three-and-out again. Tulsa would put together a drive that ended with a field goal, extending the Tulsa lead to 17-7.
From there, the game would settle down again until the 4th quarter. About the only interesting thing that would happen would be a Golden Hurricane fumble recovered by Wyoming at the Tulsa 44. However, Wyoming would fail to capitalize with Tyler Vander Waal in for the series at QB as the Cowboys would give the ball right back on downs after failing to convert a 4th and 6 from the Tulsa 40.
After a Tulsa punt, Sean Chambers was back at QB for Wyoming and drove the Cowboys down the field for a TD, ending the Pokes scoring drought.
After Tulsa turned the ball over on downs, Wyoming took back the ball at midfield. Sean Chambers got the Cowboys back in the end zone on a 15 yard TD run, giving Wyoming a 21-17 lead.
With 5:25 to go in the game, Tulsa got the ball and quickly responded with a score of their own. Shamari Brooks finished the drive on a 19 yard TD run, giving Tulsa back the lead.
Wyoming took the ball with 3:21 remaining in the game. The Cowboys converted a big 4th and 9 and drove all the way down to the Tulsa 10. On 3rd and Goal, Sean Chambers ran all the way to the Tulsa 3 before fumbling the ball. Tulsa recovered the ball and ran out the clock.
Wyoming 21, Tulsa 24.
A heart-breaking loss for the Cowboys. Hold onto the football and kick the field goal, and the Cowboys get a chance in overtime. Possibly, Wyoming might have been able to go for the win on 4th down. Instead, Wyoming came up short and lost their first game.
Otherwise, I hope that the last three drives by Chambers were the start of the Wyoming offense starting to figure some things out. Chambers makes the Wyoming running game much more dynamic, but the passing game must improve. On the season, Chambers is completing only 38% of his passes. That is awful. Now, I’m not picking on Chambers as Vander Waal (1/6) did not look any better today. That said, the Wyoming offense needs to fix their passing game as it is clearly broken.
On the defensive side, the Cowboy defense was also beaten in the passing game. Wyoming did a good job stopping the Tulsa running game. However, the Tulsa passing game had their best game all season. Zach Smith threw for 354 yards and 2 TDs. This is starting to look like a trend as Texas State and Missouri also threw the ball for huge yardage against the Cowboy defense.
Things are not all bad for Wyoming as the Cowboys are 3-1 after non-conference play. Still, Wyoming will need to improve in the passing game (on both sides of the field) as they move into conference play if the Cowboys are going to keep winning the majority of their games.