The BYU Cougars beat the Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday night 38-24 in Provo. It was a score that, believe it or not, I predicted correctly in my game preview earlier in the week (sorry, just needed to add in a quick subtle brag). Nevertheless, it was a game that should both hurt and benefit the Pokes moving forward into their conference matchups. The reason being, it showed some of their weaknesses and where some of their vulnerabilities may lie as a team. But there were positives to take away as well. The game should also act as a moral victory in that these Cowboys showed themselves and others that they have taken some steps forward and have the ability to hang around with some of the best the nation has to offer as a still young and developing unit. But in the end, the #19 Cougs had too much firepower and took advantage of missed Cowboy opportunities to come out with the two-possession victory.
The first half was a competitive one that saw the Cowboys nearly lead at its conclusion. The game began with the Cowboys forcing a three-and-out on BYU’s first drive and responding with a heavily run-induced 10-play, 57-yard drive to set up Hoyland for a chip-shot field goal, as he would put the Pokes up 3-0. It was their third straight game scoring on their opening drive.
The Cougars’ response would come with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter thanks to a huge 32-yard completion to Isaac Rex from Jaren Hall, who had a phenomenal game for BYU, setting up a 6-yard touchdown run by Christopher Brooks to make it 7-3 Cougars.
But that didn’t deflate the Cowboys one bit in the first half. The Pokes were able to answer right back and did so with an impressive 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 4-yard touchdown run from WR Wyatt Wieland at the beginning of the second quarter to regain the lead 10-7. The Pokes looked like an impressive, balanced attack in the early going but struggled to pick up momentum late in the game against a high-powered BYU team.
BYU would regain the lead in the very last seconds of the first half, driving 75 yards downfield in under four minutes, seemingly ripping the life out of the Cowboys’ chances. The Cougars carried that momentum with them into the second half and didn’t look back.
After the Cowboys punted to begin their second half, BYU caught the scoring bug. The Cougars scored on their next two possessions, effectively dominating the third quarter making it a 28-10 game. The Pokes found a little bit of life at the start of the fourth and final quarter on a four-play drive that was capped off by a 19-yard completion from Peasley to Welch in the endzone for six. Hoyland’s extra-point made it 28-17.
But that score wouldn’t remain for long. Hall’s huge day continued for the Cougars, adding his last touchdown on a huge 68-yard touchdown throw to Keanu Hill to put the nail in the coffin and wrap up a BYU victory.
Both teams added scores at the end with the Cowboys adding a touchdown and BYU adding a field goal, but they would only add some notches to the scoreboard and bring the game to a 38-24 result.
The Cowboys were held to a total of 278 yards on offense. Titus Swen had 78 rushing yards on 20 carries for the Pokes, while D.Q. McNeely added 33 yards on 5 carries. Peasley finished his line with 14 of 27 passing for 154 yards and 2 TDs with Joshua Cobbs grabbing four of those balls for 64 yards and 1 TD.
The Wyoming defense also had some new standouts with Safety Isaac White recording a season-high of 7 tackles in the game. NT Cole Godbout added seven tackles as well, including 2.5 TFLs.
Coach Bohl had mixed reactions to the game, but explained that he thought his team played well given the circumstances:
”We had had a competitive first half and to beat BYU on the road we need to be able to stay on the field,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said. “Defensively we need to play and go after contested balls. We need to tackle better, and some of that has to do with BYU’s ability. This is a hostile environment and is a tough place to play.
The Pokes will resume action back at War Memorial this Saturday evening as they take on the San Jose State Spartans in their second conference matchup of the year.