Laramie, WY – The University of Wyoming Cowboys bucked a few monkeys off their back on Saturday night with a 30-28 win over the previously undefeated (7-0) and 13th ranked Boise State Broncos. Let’s take a look at the list:
- Beat Boise State for the first time in program history after going 0-10 previously.
- Became Bowl Eligible for the first time since 2011.
- Beat a ranked team for the first time since 2002 when they beat then number 22 ranked Air Force.
If any of those three things were to happen on a single day it would be considered a good day. For all of them to happen on a fall night in Laramie before a crowd of 24,023 is an almost too good to believe day.
It did not look like it would be Wyoming’s day early though. Boise State took a 7-0 lead with 3:12 left in the first quarter after a Josh Allen interception off a tipped pass. Wyoming on their ensuing drive drove the ball down to the Boise State one-yard line before turning the ball over on downs rather than kicking a field goal. Boise State responded with what at the time felt like a back breaking five play 99-yard touchdown drive to take a 14-0 lead.
The Pokes could have given up and collapsed like they have in the previous 10 meetings with Boise State. Instead, they showed resilience and responded with their own touchdown drive that settled the game down at 14 to 7. Due in part to the play-making abilities of QB Josh Allen, RB Brian Hill and TE Jacob Hollister Wyoming would keep battling to the last whistle. Boise State came back with another touchdown and Wyoming then countered with a Cooper Rothe career long 40-yard field goal that made the score 21 to 10 in favor of the Broncos.
The Broncos then made a critical turnover with 1:33 left in the second quarter that changed the momentum of the game. Boise State signal-caller Brett Rypien was intercepted by Wyoming cornerback Rico Gafford who returned the interception 32 yards to the BSU 35 yard line. The Cowboys converted that mistake into a touchdown on a 28 yard Josh Allen to Jacob Hollister pass that made the score Boise State 21 and Wyoming 17 at half time.
Wyoming received the second half kick-off but had to punt after picking up just a single first down. That drive set the tone for both teams as the Cowboys and Broncos did not score in the third quarter while punting a total of six times.
The fourth quarter was a different story though and that’s where we started to see some fireworks. Cooper Rothe opened up the scoring in the fourth with a 39-yard field goal with 13:05 left in the game to cut the Boise State lead to one at 21 to 20. The Broncos answered with a five play 78-yard drive capped off with a wide receiver to quarterback reverse pass to a wide open QB Brett Rypien, bringing the score to 28-20 for Boise State.
The Pokes responded with a clutch drive of their own when Josh Allen escaped pressure on a third and twelve tossing the ball into the back of the end zone to a well-covered Tanner Gentry, who ripped the ball out of the air at its highest point to bring the Cowboys within two at 28 to 26. Coach Bohl decided to go for two of course and the Cowboys tied the game at 28 with an Allen to Maulhardt pass.
With the score now tied the Broncos and Cowboys would trade punts. Yet, Wyoming was able to flip field position forcing the Broncos to start a drive with 1:38 left in the game at their own 10-yard line. Rypien dropped back deep once and the Cowboy pass rush just missed him. He wasn’t lucky a second time as Chase Appleby forced a fumble at the one-yard line that rolled backward and out of the end zone for a Wyoming safety. Wyoming then recovered a Boise State onside kick and was able to run the ball for a first down that allowed the Cowboys to take a knee and kill the clock and thus the game.
It was a big win for the football program and the state of Wyoming and Head Coach Craig Bohl said, “If a win could help define a program this one did. We have a lot of respect for Boose State and Coach Harsin. I want to say thanks to our fans and students.”
The Cowboys now control their own destiny in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference and if they win their final four games of the season they would play for the conference title on December 3rd. The Pokes host Utah State next week in a game scheduled for a 8:15 pm MT kick-off and a national TV audience on ESPN2 or ESPNU.