After three great quarters of football by the Wyoming Cowboys (1-3, 0-1) the Air Force Falcons (3-1, 2-0) finally broke though for 13 points in the final quarter and grabbed a 20-14 victory. The Falcons had sloppy special teams play and costly penalties that made this game much closer than it could have been. Two missed field goals in the first half and mental errors plagued the cadets for much of the game. A missed extra point in the four quarter almost blew the game.
Wyoming looked like a much different team then the one that was trampled 51-6 last week by Boise State. The Cowboys showed improved play on both sides of the ball but the failure to execute in the clutch cost the team a much needed victory. After a strong drive to start the game Austyn Carta-Samuelswas intercepted in the endzone by Jon Davis who returned the pick 23 yards.
After Air Force scored the go ahead touchdown with 3:41 left on the clock Wyoming got the ball on their own 28. On second and three Carta-Samuels hit David Leonard for a twelve yard pass but Leonard fumbled nearly right away after a hard hit by Reggie Rembert forced the ball out. The Falcons recovered and were able to seal their victory.
This game gave Cowboys fan at some least hope for the rest of the season after two rough losses back to back. Many of the problem areas for the Pokes seemed much improved during the game. And there were plenty of areas where improvement was greatly needed.
Offensive Line: After having serious problems creating running lanes and giving the quarterback time to be comfortable in the pocket during the first three games, it seemed like this was a completely different line out there. Alvester Alexander was able to bust some long runs and ACS actually had time to decide if he wanted to pass or run today.
Rushing Attack: After being dead last in the FBS with 24 yards rushing per game, the Cowboys came out strong to start and really established the ground game. As a team they totaled 174 yards on the ground boosting their season average to 61 yards. Alvester Alexander busted out 122 yards and scored twice. ACS showed his scrambling ability by gaining 60 yards of his own.
Missed Tackles: After trying to tackle their opponents the wrong way most of the season the Pokes got back to fundamentals. Wyoming did a great job of swarming to the ball and tackling the the ball carrier as soon as possible. The effort by the defensive line was shown by pressuring the quarterback.
WHAT WENT WRONG TODAY
The fourth quarter was a rough one for Wyoming and it seemed like the rushing attack of Air Force finally wore down the Poke defense. 71 rushes by the top rushing team in the nation is not easy to contain. In the fourth Air Force scored 13 points to zero for Wyoming, outgained the Pokes 139 to 20 and controlled the ball for 12 minutes and 44 seconds.
While the ground game was great the passing game struggled for most of the game. Carta-Samuels was just 6 for 11 and 66 yards and the one interception. The leading receiver was actually FB Bryson Studnickawho had three catches for 11 yards. Studnicka had not caught a pass before todays game. Zach Bolger had one very nice catch for 33 yards. Other than that there was not really any other highlights in the air. ACS came into the game completing 70 percent of his passes and averaging 211 yards a game. If the passing game had its usual amount of success combined with the improved running game the Pokes could have really put together an impressive game.
Stopping Air Force on third and fourth down. Coach Calhoun has not been afraid to take chances this year and he continued that trend. Air Force converted on 7 of 15 third downs but usually gained enough yards on third down to consider going for it on fourth down. By converting on 4 of 5 fourth downs the Falcons kept their scoring drives alive and ate up the clock in the fourth quarter.
Cowboy Joe: Alexander went into beast mode today and kept Wyoming in the game. With a 123 yards and two touchdowns I started getting flashbacks from Alexander blowing up in the New Mexico Bowl last year.
Cowboy Low:David Leonard had the game in his hands and the solid hit from Rembert popped the ball out. Leonard is a Senior and Captain on the team. After having a great 2009 season we're still waiting for that old form to show up this year.
Cowboy Foe: Jared Tew is a bruising FB and had 27 rushes for 136 yards and a touchdown. He could not be contained on crucial third and fourth down plays.