Laramie – On a sun drenched Saturday afternoon on the high-plains the Pokes lost to Big Sky member North Dakota to open the 2015 season. The weather was perfect for football but the performance of the Pokes was far from perfect in a loss that will go down as one of the worst for the program in recent memory. The first half did not go as coach Bohl and the Cowboys would have planned after all the work they put in throughout the summer. Penalties, dropped passes and not stopping the North Dakota running game all helped the Pokes dig themselves a 14-0 hole at half time. The Cowboy defense gave up an astonishing 182 rushing yards in the first half and a young defense that was a concern all summer looked completely lost.
In the third quarter the Wyoming defense made two, three and out stops but the offense could not capitalize as Indiana transfer QB Cameron Coffman looked rusty in his first college game since 2013. North Dakota took a 21-0 lead early in the 4th quarter and the atmosphere at War Memorial Stadium started to become toxic before Coffman hit Tanner Gentry on a 92 yard pass, the second longest in school history. The extra point was missed though and that sense of gloom once again filled the air for the Cowboys.
Any realistic attempt at a comeback for Wyoming in the 4th quarter was dismissed by North Dakota with a seven minute drive that ended in a 45 yard field goal giving the road team a 24 to 6 lead with 7:10 left in the game. The Pokes scored a 4th quarter touchdown with five minutes left but it was too little too late. Even with a stop at the 4:12 mark by the Poke defense, they were still down by 11 points and needed two scores to tie or win the game.
The game was most certainly lost in the first half and to be even more specific on third down both on offense and defense. North Dakota converted 9 of 17 third down conversion (52.9%) while Wyoming was only 3 of 13 (23%). Those numbers will make it hard to beat anyone regardless of talent and division level.
The Cowboys will have to bounce back from this setback and redemption can only be a week away as Eastern Michigan comes to town next Saturday for a 2:00pm kick off.
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