This was nearly a fantastic come from behind victory for the Wyoming Cowboys (2-6, 0-4) but now it just is painful loss that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. A terrible start in the first quarter by Wyoming gave the BYU Cougars (3-4, 2-2) a 16-0 lead that proved just to big to dissolve.
Wyoming came out at the start with no run defense, stupid penalties and costly errors. After BYU went up 7-0 the Pokes got the ball and the second snap from Nick Carlson sailed over Austyn Carta-Samuels and into the endzone. Samuels kicked the ball out of the end zone for a safety and a penalty for kicking the ball. This same play happened against Boise State but resulted in a touchdown. This gave BYU and quick 9-0 lead and the ball. After a nice three and out Wyoming got the ball back and could nothing. The resulting rugby style punt hit a blocking Wyoming player in the back which created a dead ball situation. The result was a 15 yard punt and BYU with the ball at the Wyoming 33. Five plays later Brian Kariya scored on a four touchdown and the 16-0 lead.
The Wyoming offense was pitiful the entire first half and went into the locker room with negative 18 yards. The defense really stepped up their game and got the Cowboys back into this one. LB Keith Lewis picked off Jake Heaps on an awful dump pass and Lewis returned it 55 yards for a pick six. It was a terrible pass and Heaps had his receiver wide open but instead threw it right to Lewis. Heaps is supposed to be a great QB prospect but he has thrown two of the ugliest interceptions I've ever seen; the one to Lewis as well as an awful pick against Utah State.
Alright enough Heaps bashing for now, back to the game. After the Lewis TD the Cowboy defense came up big once again and Mike Purcell forced a fumble on the very next series. Marcell Gipson recovered and Wyoming was in business at the Cougar 20 yard line. The inept offense lost yards after a penalty and two runs that went no where. Ian Watts nailed a 44 yard field goal to make the game 16-10 right before halftime.
The second half was much better in terms of offense and the defense continued to keep BYU limited except for one drive. The officiating was awful in this game and it deserves some commentary. I usually don't discuss the refs so I'll let Eric Schmoldt sum them up for me:
The officiating crew certainly did enough to have Pokes' fans scratching their heads. Once, they threw a flag and announced a penalty and then took it back. Once they threw a flag and picked it up. And then they didn't throw one on the potential game-winning drive on an incompletion to David Leonard. I'll have to watch it again when I get home, but at the time and juncture of the game, I wasn't surprised they didn't call pass interference
More of that BYU home cooking in effect there. The third quarter was pretty much a back and forth affair where the Pokes finally put together a decent drive and ended up trading field goals with BYU. So the score after three quarters of play was 19-13.
In the fourth quarter Bronco Mendenhall finally gave Heaps permission to throw the ball again and he completed three passes to Luke Ashworth with the final twelve yard pass resulting in a touchdown. The two point conversion failed and the score stayed at 25-13 with 12:34 remaining. Wyoming did nothing on their next possession and the curse of the rugby style punt struck again as it again hit a Wyoming blocker right away in the back resulting in a 8 yard punt and BYU with the ball at the Wyoming 24. Gulp!
The defense gave up a first down but held tough to force a field goal attempt. Marcell Gipson came up with the block, his second of the season. Wyoming got the ball on their own 20 and broke out the blitzkrieg offense. The Pokes had four positive plays in a row and scored in just 1:27. The highlights were a 47 yard run by Robert Herron and then a 16 yard touchdown pass to Chris McNeill. Herron could have scored on his run but his momentum carried him out of bounds. Now the game was just 25-20 with 6:43 left.
BYU was held to a three and out and Wyoming got the ball back at their 14 with 4:42 remaining. This felt just like last year Wyoming pulled off several wins on the final drive. Austyn Carta-Samuels was finally playing like his old self. Scrambling for first downs or getting away from pressure then finding the open receiver. The Pokes picked up three first downs and made it down to the BYU 25. Three passes went incomplete including the one intended for Leonard which should have been flagged. On 4th and 10 the pass was tipped at the line by Kyle Van Noy and Nick Carlson caught and was then tackled. BYU ran out of the clock to end the game.
This type of loss hurts way more to me then the ones against Texas, Boise, State, TCU or Utah. The Cowboys were simply over matched in those games. This was game was ruined by the awful first quarter and questionable calls by the refs. This would have been a wonderful parting shot and given a big boost for the Pokes bowl chances. Now the Cowboys must be perfect in their final four games in order to be eligible for the post season.
And now the big question... will we miss playing the Cougars ever year? Not at all and especially won't miss their fans. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Cowboy Joe: LB Keith Lewis got the Pokes back in the ball game with his 55 yard pick six. This got the Cowboys on the board and really changed the momentum in the game.
Cowboy Low: This has to be shared by Ben Durbin for two costly penalties that nixed great stops by the Cowboys and extended drives for BYU. The other recipient is Nick Carlson who had had high snaps all game long and his second snap sailed way over Austyn Carta-Samuels into the end zone resulting in a safety. It's the eight game of the season, no excuses for not being on the same page with your QB. The same thing happened in week 3 against Boise State.
Cowboy Foe: LB Brandon Ogletree has an annoying name and made some great run stopping plays all game.