The Cowboys were finally able to saddle into a groove on Saturday night, erupting for 44 points on 604 yards of total offense and beating their longtime rivals out of Logan, the Utah State Aggies, by a final score of 44-17.
The Aggies came into the game sitting atop the Mountain Division standings with a conference record of 5-1 that included five straight victories and a chance at inching their way closer to a Mountain Division title. The script was flipped for Wyoming, having lost four of their last five but still with a chance to become bowl-eligible following a victory.
Bunches of scoring early
The matchup kicked off with quite the showing from both offenses, early. Wyoming was the first to score, finding the end zone on their second drive of the game. The Cowboys marched 64 yards in six plays for a scoring drive that was capped off by a huge 40-yard touchdown pass from Levi Williams over the deep middle to none other than his favorite target in Isaiah Neyor. Utah State, however, was able to respond. Their ensuing drive saw the Aggies march 75 yards in eleven plays all the way to the end zone on a drive that only saw one 3rd down. Logan Bonner’s completed 10-yard pass over the middle to Brandon Bowling in tight coverage leveled the score, 7-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Pokes found some special teams magic. A short kick fielded at around the 2-yard line by Cameron Stone allowed him to follow his blockers up the sideline and return the kick, winning the leg race for a 98-yard touchdown to put the Pokes back up a score.
Utah State once again responded. Three plays into the drive following the kick-return touchdown from Wyoming, Logan Bonner responded with a huge 41-yard pass to his favorite receiver, Devin Thompkins, leveling the score for a second time.
When the first quarter ended it looked like we could be in for a back and forth close-finish, but the Cowboys had different plans.
Following turnovers from both teams, it was the Poke backfield that decided to take this game and, well, run away with it. The star running backs for the Pokes set up the next touchdown for the Pokes, although it was a Levi Williams jump ball pass to Joshua Cobbs that ended up putting the Pokes in the end zone. Swen, Valladay, and Williams all rushed the offense up the Utah State 17, when the Pokes cashed in on the pass. The teams would swap field goals at the end of the half, resulting in the Pokes being up 1 touchdown, 24-17.
The second half was all Titus Swen and the Cowboys
After having one of, if not the best first half all year from the Cowboy offense, the group refused to slow down.
When the defense capitalized on a special teams mishap by Utah State to kick off the 3rd quarter, the Pokes cashed in on their short-field opportunity.
Then the game turned into the Titus Swen show.
Swen found a hole on the right side and broke a 43-yard run for another touchdown, putting the Pokes finally up by two scores. A 24-yard John Hoyland field goal following a Utah State punt then made the score 34-17 Wyoming.
When the Cowboy defense forced a punt that pinned the Pokes inside of their own three-yard line, you thought it might take a while until we saw another score. It didn’t.
Titus Swen continued his monstrous day by breaking a 98-yard run through a hole in the left side, winning the race to the end zone to make it 41-17. With the air completely taken out of the Utah State sideline, it was only a matter of time until the Pokes would become bowl-eligible for the fifth time in the last six years. Another John Hoyland field goal only helped pad the lead. The 604 yards of total offense was the most for Wyoming in a game since November of 2014 against Fresno State.
Coach Bohl shared his thoughts after the game on how well he thought his players played.
“I thought it was our most complete game of the year. We played well in all three phases with explosive plays on offense and on defense, we stopped the run and challenged their receivers. We did some effective things on special teams, and this was a big win for us.”
Final Score: Wyoming 44
Utah State 17
So who stood out?
With a number of Wyoming players having big days, there weren’t a lot of guys that didn’t stand out, so narrowing it down to three proved difficult. Here are six players that made a marginal impact.
Titus Swen - If there was an MVP award for Saturday’s contest, Swen would have run away with it. With his big runs of 43 and 98 yards, he totaled 169 yards on just 15 carries. It was an all-around fantastic display from the Pokes in the backfield
Xazavian Valladay - Valladay had a day. The Cowboy running back was right behind Swen, totaling 145 yards on 22 carries on the ground. A truly remarkable performance from the duo
Joshua Cobbs - It was nice to see another Cowboy wide receiver produce big numbers in the absence of Eberhardt. Cobbs caught six passes for 75 yards and 1 touchdown.
Chad Muma - Muma was once again all over the field. He had 17 total tackles that included 8 solo and a QB hurry. A huge reason Utah State couldn’t score in the 2nd half.
Isaiah Neyor - Neyor continued to provide production and security in the passing game. He caught 4 balls for 125 yards and 1 touchdown.
Levi Williams - Williams once again managed the game with great poise for a Freshman QB. He completed 12 of his 15 pass attempts for 242 yards with 2 touchdowns and the lone interception. He also added 22 yards on the ground.
The Wyoming Cowboys will face the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors next week for their final home game of the year, hoping to pick up their 7th win of the season.