Albuquerque has long been a place where the Pokes have struggled to find a lot of success, but on Saturday evening, they were able to do just that. Thanks to a remarkable second half performance by the defense and some timely plays from the offense, the Cowboys overcame a 14-0 first half deficit to defeat the New Mexico Lobos on the road, 27-14, for their first road victory of the season.
The game kicked off with New Mexico controlling the ball and the clock, marching 75 yards downfield capped off by a 2-yard Miles Kendrick rushing touchdown. The drive took the Lobos sixteen plays and a little over seven minutes as they looked like a different version of the team they’d been in their past two outings against LSU and UNLV.
The New Mexico offense was humming and the defense wanted to keep the momentum, which they were able to do early on.
The Lobos would force a Wyoming punt on their very next drive and capitalize on that momentum, this time in much quicker fashion. The second Lobos drive of the game resulted in another endzone trip, this time in six plays and just over three minutes. Highlighted by a 31-yard Miles Kendrick pass to Andrew Erickson, the Lobos took a two possession advantage after an 8-yard touchdown by Justin Holaday and it looked like they were primed to run the Cowboys right out of University Stadium.
But not so fast. Already with a conference loss under their belt, the Pokes did not feel that it was time to secede from the conference race just yet.
The Pokes got on the board for the first time early in the second quarter thanks to a huge 47-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Peasley to Treyton Welch to make it 14-7. It was the longest reception in the veteran Wyoming Tight End’s career and the third in his last four games. It capped off an 82-yard drive to cut the deficit in half for the Pokes and bring them back into the game with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The remaining first half possessions resulted in defensive stands as Wyoming punted twice and New Mexico once, ending the half with a missed field goal by K George Steinkampf.
The second half is where the tide turned and things took off for the Cowboys. Wyoming struck first, receiving the opening kick and scoring in eight plays after the touchback on the second Peasley to Welch scoring connection of the day, a 29-yard pass to draw the teams even at 14.
The Cowboys special teams stayed terrific as they’ve been all season long, recovering a muffed punt by New Mexico and adding a 27-yard field goal from John Hoyland to regain the lead midway through the third quarter.
As Wyoming started to gain some steam in the second half, it was clear that they had completely taken control of the game after the special teams once again shined, blocking a New Mexico field goal attempt and turning into another Hoyland field goal to make it 20-14.
The game was then sealed in the fourth quarter after a Clayton Stewart punt pinned New Mexico deep in their own territory. The Lobos tried their best to mount a late comeback, but it wasn’t enough as Cam Stone picked off Miles Kendrick in the game’s closing minutes and returned it for a touchdown, icing the game and bringing the score and the game to its eventual conclusion, 27-14.
The Pokes shut out the Lobos in the second half thanks to a stout effort on defense from familiar and new names alike.
Easton Gibbs led the team in tackles, recording 13 tackles, tying a career-high. Nickel Wrook Brown had a monster performance in his first start, recording a career-high 10 tackles and 1 pass deflection. Defensive tackle Gavin Meyer also added 6 tackles, 2 sacks and a blocked field goal, while Corners Cam Stone and Jakorey Hawkins each had 1 interception.
As for the offense, Treyton Welch and Titus Swen were the biggest contributors. Welch had himself a career day with 4 catches for 87 yards and 2 TDs. Titus Swen finished the game with 50 yards rushing on 16 carries, but added two big catches in the passing game for 43 yards total. Andrew Peasley finished efficiently enough in the win, going 10/21 passing for 174 yards and 2 TDs and 0 interceptions.
So what’s next for Wyoming?
The Pokes will head into their bye week this week holding a 4-3 overall record (2-1 in the MWC) and get an extra week to prepare for their much anticipated matchup with the Utah State Aggies, in Laramie. The game will take place on Oct. 22nd and the time of the game is currently TBD.