The Wyoming Cowboys (1-3) have had several very close games this year. This time they finally came out on top. The Pokes battled back and forth on Saturday with the Idaho Vandals (0-4) before grabbing the win in the first OT period. This game between two winless teams had plenty of drama and suspense as Idaho scored a touchdown as time expired to force overtime. The Vandals were forced to settled for a 49 yard field from Jordan Farquhar in their portion of overtime. Wyoming wasted no time as Brett Smith found Jalen Claiborne in the front corner of the end zone for a 25 touchdown and the victory.
Smith played in his first game since suffering a concussion in week two against Toledo. He provided an afternoon to remember with 365 yards passing and five touchdowns. His favorite target was Chris McNeill who caught eight passes for 219 yards. Smith and McNeill both had career bests in the victory. In order to take some of the running load off their star QB Wyoming used true freshmen Jason Thompson to run a wildcat type offense. On his first collegiate play Thompson ran 11 yards for a touchdown. He also caught two passes for eight yards.
As the game wore on we saw less of Thompson and the coaches put all their faith in Smith to lead the team in their come back bid. That paid off as the offense was able to score touchdowns on their three final possesions. Thompson can no longer red shirt, it will be interesting how the staff uses him the rest of this year. He could be the 2012 version of Sam Stratton.
The downside of this victory is the Cowboys defense allowing 37 points and 509 yards of offense. Wyoming forced three turnovers while not turning it over theselves. That was the first time Wyoming was positive in turnover margin this year. The Cowboys were outgained 509-445 otal yards and the run defense once again showed porous by allowing 203 yards.
No doubt, there is still plenty of work to do. Still I would much rather celebrate a narrow victory then another heartbreaking defeat. Enjoy this one Cowboy fans. You got to see a healthy Brett Smith back in uniform and show you again what makes him so special. The bye week comes at a perfect time for the Pokes. They have been banged up this year and now have two weeks to prepare for the conference schedule. The next eight games will determine who wins the Mountain West this year. Right now UNLV and Nevada are leading the race with 1-0 records.
The Cowboys made some great plays in this game and ESPN took notice. Two Cowboy Wyoming scores made the top plays of the week. You can see me me in the clip of Claibornes catch. I'm the guy in the gold, standing next to the guy in brown. That should make it easy for you.
This win means a lot to the team, the fans and I'm sure the conference is happy as well. The Mountain West doesn't want the Vandals beating any of their schools after they've been shunned from joining the league.
I was able to attend this game and had a great time with all the Pokes fans that made the trip. Stayed tuned this week as I'm going to post up lots of pictures and hopefully some video that I took from the game.