Laramie – The number one thing on Wyoming’s to do list heading into the Eastern Michigan game was to ignite a running game that was held to 29 net yards versus North Dakota. Wyoming did just that racking up 211 rushing yards in the first half against EMU and a total of 430 yards for the game, a mark the Cowboys had not reached since 1988 against San Diego State.
Unfortunately for Wyoming, about everything else went wrong in the first half as the Eagles scored on six consecutive possessions. The turning point was a game ending shoulder injury to second string sophomore QB Josh Allen who was starting in place of Cameron Coffman who did not play due to a knee injury. Allen was off to a bright start going 3 of 4 for 32 yards passing and ran the ball three times for 40 yards. With the score tied 7-7 in the first quarter Allen ran 24 yards for a first down and instead of sliding Allen took on Eastern Michigan defenders to gain a few extra yards and was knocked out of the game.
The Eagles then marched down the field for a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead and followed that up with a very surprising onside kick that was reviewed and confirmed that was also converted into a touchdown for a 21-7 EMU lead. The Cowboys never recovered from that as third string QB red-shirt freshman Nick Smith came into the game and struggled to find his feet in his first college action. The Wyoming defense also struggled with the numerous misdirection plays Eastern Michigan ran against them building a 38 to 14 lead at halftime.
In the second half Wyoming showed some life offensively leaning on their running game, outscoring the Eagles 15-10 but the defect in the first half was too much to overcome. Brian Hill ran for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half and that helped make things interesting until the 7:35 mark in the fourth quarter where Eastern Michigan took over on downs at the Wyoming 24 yard-line with Wyoming within two scores of a tie or lead.
The Pokes floundered defensively in the first half but adjusted their schemes in the second and slowed down the Eagles only giving up a 64 yard touchdown pass on an “elongated” route early in the third quarter. Individually the bright spot on defense was true freshman safety Andrew Wingard who made his first college start and recorded a team high 12 tackles. Football is a game of sixty minutes though and this young Wyoming team will have to learn to play consistently from the opening kick-off to the final whistle.
Even after this 0-2 start the Wyoming coaches and players sounded positive in their post-game interviews and Coach Bohl stated that those in attendance today saw, “A glimpse of our brand of football.”
The Cowboys will travel to Washington State next Saturday for their first road game of the 2015 season to take on the Cougars out of the PAC-12.