Laramie, WY – On a perfect September afternoon for college football, the Wyoming Cowboys (2-1) matched their win total of the 2015 season just three games into the 2016 season. The Pokes used a banner first half offensively to set up a 45 to 22 win over the UC-Davis Aggies (1-2).
In that first half the Pokes scored 35 points for the first time since 11/23/13 where they accomplished the feat against Hawaii. Wyoming relied on a run heavy game plan that saw five different Cowboys rush the ball 48 times compared to just 15 Josh Allen passes.
Brian Hill was the star of the ground game averaging 8.3 yards per carry while racking up 207 yards and two touchdowns. This was Hill’s sixth career 200 yard effort and he passed former Wyoming running backs Marques Brigham and Wynel Seldon to move up to third on the all time UW rushing list with 2,808 yards. His best run of the day was a 59 yard effort that went for a touchdown in the second quarter that put the Cowboys up 21-9. Head Coach Craig Bohl said “Brian is effective on the perimeter as a runner. The offensive line did a great job with the three down front and got matched, good movement and lanes in there to run.”
Sophomore quarterback Josh Allen may have only thrown the ball 15 times but he made most of those passes count. He had a total of three first half touchdown passes of 16, 39 and 37 yards to Tanner Gentry, Jake Maulhardt and C.J. Johnson who caught the first touchdown pass of his career.
Entering the second half with a 35-9 lead the Pokes put on the cruise control to see out the game scoring only 10 second half points. Those scoring plays included a 3 yard TD run by Josh Allen with 4:52 left in the third quarter and a 21 yard field goal by freshman kicker Cooper Rothe with 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The Wyoming defense stepped up against the Aggies as well recording two sacks, six tackles for loss, two forced fumbles (one recovered) and an interception that set up the second touchdown of the day. That interception was courtesy of Rico Gafford the junior college transfer cornerback from West Des Moines, IA. Gafford made his first career interception and returned the ball 32 yards to the UC-Davis three yard line. He was disappointed he did not score saying, “I thought I would make it to the end zone, but then blockers showed up and I came up short.”
The Cowboy defense also saw strong defensive line play from Sophomore defensive end Carl Granderson who was recruited by UC-Davis out of high school. The 6-5, 243 pound Sacramento, CA product tallied four tackles (two and a half for a loss), one sack and a forced fumble. Granderson now has a sack in each of the first three games of the season matching a feat last completed by Jeff Knapton in 1986.
Next up for the Cowboys is a road trip to Eastern Michigan on Friday night in a national televised match-up on the CBS Sports Network.