The Wyoming Cowboys are winding down their 2017 season, with their last regular season game on the road at San Jose State this weekend. The Cowboys are getting a taste of what life is going to be like without Josh Allen running the show.
Josh Allen would miss his second consecutive start while rehabbing an injured shoulder sustained against Air Force. Nick Smith got his second consecutive start for the Cowboys. To say he had a rough day would be an understatement.
Wyoming’s offense struggled all day to get any positive yardage against the Spartans, who came into this game with a 1-10 record. Their only win against FCS Cal Poly (who went 1-10 on the season) back at the beginning of the season. The Cowboys struggled with getting passes to receivers, catching passes, and until the second half, finding running lanes. SJSU ranked last in FBS in rushing defense.
On a positive note running back Kellen Overstreet turned in a career day, and the top performance for a Cowboy running back this season. Overstreet had 17 rushes for 142 yards. In the second half Overstreet ripped off several long runs to put the Cowboys in good field position. However, that did not necessarily translate into points.
San Jose State got on the board first when SJSU quarterback Montel Aaron rushed from five yards out to collect his first rushing touchdown of his young career. The Spartans would get on the board again in the second quarter as kicker Bryce Crawford hit a 44 yard field goal to increase their lead to 10-0.
Wyoming would respond three drives later when Austin Conway returned a punt 55 yards to start the Cowboy drive at the Spartan 23 yard line. Kellen Overstreet powered the Cowboys down near the goal line. Nick Smith would finish off the drive with a one yard touchdown run to get the Cowboys within three points.
San Jose State would respond with an eight play drive that ended with a 55 yard Bryce Crawford field goal to put the Spartans up 13-7. Wyoming would then turn the ball over on a Dakari Monroe interception of Nick Smith as the Cowboys were in scoring position, setup by a Nick Smith pass to CJ Johnson.
Wyoming’s opening drive of the second half resulted in a 28 yard Cooper Rothe field goal to get the Cowboys within 13-10. After the teams traded a series of punts, San Jose State would score again, DeJon Packer racing down the sidelines on a 44 yard touchdown run. The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs near midfield on the previous drive. Wyoming would respond on the following drive with a 53 yard touchdown pass from Smith to CJ Johnson.
Wyoming’s try at an onside kick failed and San Jose State got their first conference win of the season.
The struggles of the Wyoming offense were amplified on Saturday afternoon with the absence of Josh Allen. Tim Zaleski punted ten times, averaging 36 yards per punt. Kicker Cooper Rothe had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter, however his field goal came up just short, as it bounced off of the front of the cross bar. The Cowboys outgained the Spartans with 357 yards, to San Jose State’s 320 yards.
Smith finished the game 17-37 for 171 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions. He was also sacked twice.
The Wyoming defense kept this game closer than it maybe should have been. The defense forced San Jose State into nine punts and two turnovers. Marcus Epps collected his third interception of the season, halting a Spartan drive that was across midfield. He intercepted a pass near the goal line and took it back to the Spartan 44 yard line. Nela Lolohea stripped the football from Aaron and recovered the ball to halt another Spartan drive.
Andrew Wingard continued his excellent tackling by recording ten tackles and adding a pass break up. Wingard finished the regular season with 111 tackles. The Cowboys recorded two sacks, one from Garrett Crall and one from Carl Granderson. Granderson has 8.5 sacks on the season, the most since John Fletcher in 2007. The Pokes also had seven tackles for loss.
The Cowboys regular season has come to a conclusion. They will have to wait until December 3rd to find out where they will be playing in the post season. The Mountain West has bowl tie-ins with five bowls. There are currently six Mountain West teams eligible for a bowl game. The Cowboys season finished 7-5, 5-3 in conference play.
Quick Box Score
Score by Quarters
San Jose State
Passing: Nick Smith – 17/37 for 171 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Kellen Overstreet – 17 rushes, 142 yards
Receiving: Austin Conway – 8 catches, 27 yards
Tackles: Andrew Wingard – 10 tackles, 4 solo
Sacks: Carl Granderson, Garrett Crall – 1 sack
Tackles for Loss – Carl Granderson, Logan Wilson, Garrett Crall – 2 TFL