LARAMIE, WY – The 2016 Wyoming Cowboy football season is underway. The Cowboys season got underway just slightly later than they had anticipated. What was supposed to be an 8:30pm kickoff in Laramie turned into a 10:28pm kickoff due to lightning strikes in the Laramie surrounding area. After the sheets of rain came down the teams came on the field and the 2016 season was underway.
This game was recorded as the longest game in school history, lasting 4:14, the previous was 2004 versus UNLV that was 4:04.
With #MACtion coming to Laramie this game figured to potentially be a wild one. The Cowboys were coming off of a 2-10, beating both Nevada schools. Northern Illinois came into the game coming off of an 8-6 season, and a loss to Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The scoring started early with Northern Illinois striking first on a 39 yard pass from Drew Hare to Kenny Golladay. The Cowboys responded later in the first quarter with a 35 yard kick by true freshman Cooper Rothe. The field goal was also half of last season’s total made field goals.
The second quarter started much like the first quarter, with Kenny Golladay scoring another touchdown. This time was Golladay taking a 34 yard run to the house and putting the Huskies up 13-3 early in the second. Brian Hill followed that up with a two yard touchdown to put the Cowboys at a 13-10 disadvantage. The Cowboys will follow up with a 39 yard Cooper Rothe field goal to go into halftime tied at 13-13.
The third quarter saw the Cowboys take their first lead of the game. Tanner Gentry hauled in a 17 yard pass from Josh Allen to go up 20-13. Northern Illinois responded with again, this time with a familiar target. Kenny Golladay caught a 27 yard pass from Drew Hare to tie the game once again at 20. The Cowboys responded once more, this time Jacob Hollister catching a two yard pass from Allen.
The fourth quarter didn’t slow down as these teams kept going at each other. With a 1:13 left in the game Northern Illinois converted a fourth down to march down the field and tie the game once again. Shan Wimann caught a Drew Hare pass to send the game to overtime. Cooper Rothe missed a 48 yard field goal that would have won the game in regulation.
At this point is was past 2:00am and the fans in War Memorial Stadium were still as loud as they were to start the game.
Overtime didn’t slow these two teams down. In the first overtime Brian Hill punched in a five yard score. Northern Illinois wasn’t ready to go home. The Huskies responded with Drew Hare punching in a one yard score to send the game into triple overtime. In the last overtime Northern Illinois drove the ball to the one yard. Drew Hare had a center exchange fumble and Logan Wilson recovered the ball for Wyoming. The Cowboys took over and won on the legs of Josh Allen. Allen ran on a bootleg and changed course on the field and dove into the endzone to end the game.
Allen said in post-game that, “I almost died under that pile, but it was great. So worth it.” Allen finished the day by completing 19/29 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 73 yards rushing and one touchdown. Allen was not sacked on the day.
Brian Hill had 132 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Shaun Wick finished with 23 yards on seven carries.
Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt finished the day over 100 yards in receiving, Gentry with 104 and a score. Maulhardt had 106 yards on the day.
Andrew Wingard finished the game with 12 tackles and one tackle for loss. Following him in leading tacklers was Logan Wilson and DJ May with nine tackles a piece. Wilson had the fumble recovery in overtime to send the Cowboys to victory.
For Northern Illinois wide receiver Kenny Golladay finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 82 yards rushing and a score. Quarterback Drew Hare had 329 yards passing and three scores.
Next week Wyoming will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers. Nebraska finished the first week of the season with a 43-10 win over Fresno State. The game next week will kick off at 10:00am Mountain time and will air on ESPN2.
Attendance for this game was list at 18,483.