Laramie, WY – The offensive spark that is QB Sean Chambers was on the scene again for all to see as Wyoming defeated the San Jose State Spartans 24-9 on a windy and cold day in the Gem City in front of 13,238 fans. The story of the game offensively was a Wyoming running game that racked up 424 rushing yards the most Wyoming has produced on the ground since a 430-yard effort against Eastern Michigan in 2015. Running back Nico Evans with his 188 rushing yards passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season and became the 10th 1,000-yard rusher in UW history.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys brought relentless pressure and it seemed San Jose State QB Josh Love was being helped off the ground by one of his offensive linemen after almost every passing play. The spiritual leader of the defense is no doubt Andrew Wingard and his five tackles today raised his career tackles total to 436. That number saw him climb to #2 on the all-time Mountain West career tackles list and #3 on the all-time UW tackles list. Wingard is just 18 tackles shy of becoming the #1 career tackles leader in Mountain West history and four tackles shy of passing LB Jim Talich (1994-97) for #2 on the Wyoming career tackles list.
The Wyoming win of the Spartans keeps momentum at their back after last week’s victory over Colorado State and with two games remaining on the schedule (against Air Force and at New Mexico) the Cowboys can still earn a bowl bid in 2018 after starting the season 2-6. A bowl game this season seemed very unlikely just several weeks ago. The change at QB from Tyler Vander Waal to Sean Chambers has breathed new life into the entire team and the difference is visible for all to see and a bowl game is now a real possibility.
The key for the Pokes today was getting off to a good start and establishing a lead. On their first drive, Wyoming conducted a 9 play, 66-yard drive that ended with a Cooper Rothe 26-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a 3-0 lead. The Wyoming defense would force two Spartan three-and-outs before Wyoming would score again on a 58-yard TD run by Nico Evans to make the score 10-0 Wyoming. That would be the halftime score as well but Wyoming did leave some points on the field and could have had potentially a 17-0 or 20-0 lead at halftime. Cooper Rothe missed a 43-yard field goal into a stiff wind at the 2:55 mark of the first quarter that could have made the score 6-0 Wyoming. While Sean Chambers fumbled at the San Jose State goal-line going in for a touchdown with 10:45 left in the second quarter that could have made the score 17-0 Wyoming.
The second half would see the Spartans and Cowboys trade scores in the third quarter as outlined below in our key series of the game. In the fourth quarter, San Jose State scored their only touchdown of the game to make the score 17-9 Wyoming but they muffed the snap on the extra point and could not close the lead to seven points. Wyoming would go run heavy for the rest of the game running the ball 12 times in a row chewing up the clock from the eight-minute mark to just over one minute left in the fourth quarter. The game would be put to bed by the arm of Sean Chambers though who found TE Austin Fort on a 20-yard TD pass with 1:09 left in the game giving Wyoming the final scoreline of 24-9.
San Jose State scored their first points of the game on their first drive of the second half with a 9 play, 66-yard effort that ended in a Bryce Crawford 26 yard field goal. That made the score 10-3 Wyoming and the Pokes needed to respond now that the game was just a one-score game. Wyoming did just that with a 5 play, 75-yard touchdown drive that made the score 17-3 Wyoming with 8:41 left in the 3rd quarter. The highlight of that drive no doubt was the memorable 64-yard TD run by true freshman QB Sean Chambers who ran up the middle and broke the play outside to his left for the score.
– Wyoming is now 7-4 all-time vs San Jose State. Craig Bohl is now 1-3 versus the Spartans after dropping the first three games against the California school as the head coach of Wyoming. San Jose State entering the day was the only Mountain West Conference school Bohl did not have a win against as Wyoming’s head coach.
-The Cowboys have quite the one-two punch in the running game. Entering today Wyoming was just one of ten schools to have two players rush for 100 yards or more in the same game. With Evans 188 yards and Chambers 140 yards today the Cowboys now have done this in three games this season all in a row. The only other team with three games of two 100 yard rushers is Mississippi State out of the SEC.
– Early in the season, the Wyoming defense was a source of some complaints and disappointment from the fans. The Defense is now back on the uptick and in the post-game press conference today both Andrew Wingard and Kevin Prosser had some interesting things to say. Wingard mentioned that the defense was gelling better and they were just out there playing not caring anymore. While Prosser thought the defense needed to be “humbled” some after thinking too much about all the national rankings the unit achieved last season. The past three games the Pokes have looked like the defense of last year and they will need that same effort in the last two games to get to six wins.
Quick Box Score
Score by Quarters
San Jose State
QB Sean Chambers: 4 / 8 – 51 yards, 1 TD passing, 17 rushes – 140 yards
RB Nico Evans: 33 rushes – 188 yards, 1 TD
DE Kevin Prosser: 4 tackles – 0.5 sacks
LB Logan Wilson: 10 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss
CB Antonio Hull: 4 tackles, 2 pass breakups
K Cooper Rothe: 1/2 FGs (made 26, missed 43)
Wyoming (4-6, 2-4) has a bye week for November 10th and will return to action against the Air Force Academy on November 17th in the final home game of the season. The game time is TBA and will be broadcast by ESPN on one of their network channels.