The fourth quarter heartaches continued for Wyoming this week. An hour before kickoff we learned that Brett Smith was in street clothes and that Jason Thompson would be getting his first start. This news gave Cowboy fans a sense of dread with Smith missing the game.
Instead Thompson came out looking sharp and turned some heads in the first half. He showed a strong and accurate arm and also had several long runs. In fact the entire offense was clicking the first two quarters. D.J. May and Shaun Wick both rand strong had rushing touchdowns. Thompson found Chris McNeill for a four yard touchdown. The defense did a nice job of bottling up the Air Force triple option attack. Connor Dietz was effective in the air and passed for two touchdowns to get Air Force some points. Still Wyoming went to the locker room with a 24-14 lead.
During halftime the skies opened up and the mercury dropped. A wind of second half collapse blew through War Memorial. The Cowboys got the ball to start and were able convert a 33 yard field goal and expand the lead to 27-14. As the third quarter wore on the Air Force running game found new life and scored with 1:13 left in the third. The Cowboy offense turned to mush and the rain made it difficult for Thompson to complete passes and receivers to catch them.
Air Force was able to go on another long drive in the fourth quarter. With 8:42 left backup Kale Pearson scored on a eight yard bootleg to give the Falcons a one point lead. Coach Christensen was upset because he thought Connor Dietz was not really hurt on the prior play. Dietz sat on the field for treatment instead of getting to the sidelines. This gave Air Force plenty of time to come up with a play without burning a timeout. After the game Christensen and Calhoun exchanged heated words due to that play.
Wyoming gained a couple first downs on their next possession but ended up punting. They were never able to get the ball back as Air Force converted enough first downs to run out the clock. With the 28-27 loss Wyoming sits at 1-5 while Air Force improves to 3-3.
This loss hurts Cowboy fans. There is no denying that. Did you expect Wyoming to even keep this game close without Brett Smith? I sure didn't. Jason Thompson showed poise, athleticism and confidence in the first half. He certainly looked better than he did against Nevada or Idaho. A quality backup QB is something we've lacked for a long time. Perhaps this performance will give Thompson the boost he needed to make the most of his reps in the future. I don't think we have a quarterback controversy. Instead it looks like we have some depth at a position that was sorely needed.
The offensive line looked the strongest it has this entire year. They were able to open up huge running lanes and block down field. Wyoming out gained Air Force on the ground 255-226. D.J. May, Shaun Wick and Thompson all ran for career bests. May gained 95, Wick 79 and Thompson 75 yards.
For the second straight week Wyoming faced the nation's leading rusher. And for the second straight week they held him to way under their season average. Cody Getz came into the game averaging 177 yards per game. The Pokes held him to just 45 yards on 10 rushes and cost him his spot as the countries leading rusher. One day this team is going to put everything together on both sides of the ball. I just hope that day is soon.