The Wyoming Cowboys took down the Northern Colorado Bears on Saturday 33-10. It was another outing in which the Pokes found ways to thrive in all three phases of the game for the second straight week, but the defense was the unit that had their fingerprints all over this one. They allowed only 147 total yards of offense to the Bears that included only 15 yards in the rushing category, effectively putting a stop to any chance of a comeback win for Northern Colorado. In a week where Mountain West teams didn’t fair very well against their out-of-conference FCS opponents, the Pokes held their own. The Cowboys improved to 2-1 on the season and will enter conference play next week against Air Force on a two-game win streak.
The Cowboys started the game with defense and ended it with defense. That was the one constant, as the Pokes were only able to muster up 9 points on offense in the first half of Saturday’s contest while completely shutting out Northern Colorado. The Cowboys did to the Bears what teams typically have done to the Cowboys in recent years by turning the Bears into a one-dimensional offense. The Pokes limited the Bears’ prolific passing attack to minimal success by completely shutting out the running game and holding them to 69 total offensive yards in the first half.
Kicker John Hoyland was once again the beneficiary of the Pokes’ inability to find the end-zone in the first half. Hoyland tallied the team’s first 9 points, hitting on all three of his field goal attempts from 21, 43, and 39. It was a lackluster first half for both teams, but the Cowboys decided to turn it up a notch after halftime.
Second-half scoring kicked off with the Bears’ first points of the game, a field goal by Kicker Hunter Green from 32 yards out. Wyoming’s offense finally got things going after that when they immediately responded on a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 6-yard Titus Swen touchdown run, to bring their lead up to 13. The next few drives stalled for both offenses until a fumbled snap by Wyoming Punter Clayton Stewart, despite having a great day up until then, provided the Bears with field position inside the Wyoming 10-yard line. A few plays later, the Bears scored their first and only touchdown of the game, a 6-yard fake-sweep, trick-play pass from WR Trevis Graham to QB Jacob Sirmon, cutting the Wyoming lead back to 6 at the start of the fourth quarter.
But that was as close as the Bears would get. Once again, Wyoming was able to quickly respond on offense in the fourth and final quarter, a quarter in which the Pokes dominated. The Pokes were held to a field goal after a 9-play, 32-yard drive that included a spectacular catch on the sideline from WR Joshua Cobbs, but the defense would strike a couple more times, giving their offense plenty of opportunities to extend the lead and put the game out of reach. The first opportunity came courtesy of Cowboys defensive end Oluwaseyu Omotosho. The DE would sack Sirmon on fourth down for his third sack of the game, this time forcing the ball loose on fourth down. The Bears would recover, but nonetheless, it resulted in a turnover on downs and placed the Pokes at the Northern Colorado 22-yard line. One play later, Titus Swen was breaking free and waltzing into the end zone for a touchdown to make the score 26-10 after another Hoyland extra-point. The second came from an interception on the next Northern Colorado possession by Cowboys linebacker Shae Suiaunoa. Suiaunoa intercepted QB Jacob Sirmon on the Bears’ 21-yard line, returning the football all the way down to the three to set up another quick score for Wyoming and RB Titus Swen, who scored to make the score 33-10. The Bears turned the ball over once more on their final possession with a fumble forced out by Cowboys safety Miles Williams. The Cowboys would then take a knee, concluding the scoring for the day and securing the win.
So who shined?
It’s extremely hard to pick just three players who stood out for the Cowboys this week, so I’ll pick three that have not been mentioned thus far.
1. RB Titus Swen - Swen carried the offensive load for the Cowboys in the victory, finishing the game with 80 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns on the day.
2. DE Oluwaseyi Omotosho - Omotosho was one of the headlining contributors to the defensive effort on Saturday. He finished the game with 3 tackles, but all of them were sacks and one was a forced fumble. He was a problem for Northern Colorado in the backfield and his plays altered the outcome of the game.
3. LB Easton Gibbs - Gibbs led the defense in TOT with 9 TOT (8 SOLO) and also contributed to the great effort in the pass-rush, finishing with 1 sack. He was a leader and a force on Saturday as well.
*Honorable mention to the MW Special Teams Player of the Week John Hoyland (3/3 FGs and 4/4 XPs) and the Defensive Player of the Week Shae Suiaunoa (8 TOT, 5 SOLO, 1 SACK, 1 INT). The only reason they aren’t listed is because of their mentions last week.
The Pokes will take on Air Force this Friday 9/16 at War Memorial Stadium on CBSSN