Cowboys cash in on Aggie errors, spoil homecoming, 48-21
By Earl Scott
The average starting field position for the Cowboys (2-4) in the first half was the USU 42-yard line, while for USU (1-5) the average start was its own 20-yard line.
"We are going to work on our kick coverage this week," said USU Head Coach Mick Dennehy. "It makes it awfully tough on our defense giving them a short field to work with all the time."
Wyoming took advantage of its good starting position, scoring a touchdown on each of its first four possessions en route to a 31-14 halftime lead.
The Cowboys helped their cause by having no turnovers, while the Aggies lost two fumbles and had one pass intercepted. All three turnovers led to scores by Wyoming.
The game started ominously for the Aggies when they had to punt from their own 49-yard line on their first possession. The snap sailed over punter Ben Chaet's head to the USU 20-yard line, where he retrieved the ball and had to kick while being pulled to the ground. Chaet still managed a punt that gained a net of 9 yards from the line of scrimmage.
Starting at its own 42-yard line, Wyoming cashed in on the opportunity, moving down the field in seven plays to score on a Derek Armah 1-yard plunge with 2:59 gone in the game.
The next series saw USU fare no better. After a Chaet punt, Josh Barge returned the ball 25 yards to the USU 38.
Starting with good field position again, the Cowboys moved the ball down the field in eight plays. The drive ended when quarterback Casey Bramlet found tight end Aaron Robbins alone in the corner of the end zone for Wyoming's second touchdown with 4:25 left in the first quarter.
Starting on its 20-yard line, USU put together an eight-play, 80-yard drive in 3:47 to answer the Cowboys. Quarterback Travis Cox tossed a lateral to wide receiver Barry Toli, who found running back David Fiefia running alone downfield for a 38-yard pass completion. Two plays later Fiefia scrambled across the end zone for two yards with 0:33 left in the first quarter.
Just as it appeared USU was back in the game, Wyoming's Ivan Harrison took the kickoff and returned it 53 yards to the USU 45.
The defense put up a valiant effort when John Chick and Robert Watts sacked Bramlet for a loss during the drive, but USU couldn't stop the Wyoming running game. Wyoming ran the ball seven of nine plays during the drive. Ivan Harrison took the ball at the USU 7 and drove through the Aggie defense for a touchdown, giving Wyoming a 21-7 lead.
Joe Killpack, returning the ensuing kickoff, was hit by Marcial Rosales and fumbled. Wyoming's Chad White fell on the ball at the USU 26.
Three plays later Bramlet found Malcom Floyd with a 23-yard pass in the back of the end zone to make the score 28-7.
The next series proved to be no better for the Aggies as they committed four penalties without ever snapping the ball. The possession ended when Cox was hit by Brandon Casavan and fumbled the ball on his own 9-yard line.
Wyoming recovered the ball, but the USU defense held them to a field goal to make the score 31-7.
USU was able to muster some offense to end the first half, with a 3-play 65-yard drive in 17 seconds. Cox completed a 59-yard bomb to Kenny Coleman to the Wyoming 6-yard line. Cox then scrambled into the end zone for a touchdown, to bring the halftime score to 31-14.
Chris Cooley returned to action for USU after missing the last two games with a broken foot.
"I wanted to make something happened," he said. "My foot feels fine; I probably played more than I should've. I wanted to help the team."
After catching one pass for 9 yards in the first half, Cooley finished with five catches for 72 yards.
USU came out the second half with emotion, forcing Wyoming to punt from its end zone on their first posession.
USU took over on the Wyoming 48. Passing the ball on 7 of 9 plays, Cox moved the Aggies 48-yards in 2:58 before finding Colemen for his second touchdown pass of the day.
The 31-21 score was as close as the Aggies could get. USU had a chance to score again in the third quarter but was unable to get one yard on two plays for a first down and turned the ball over to Wyoming.
"I don't know if that ended our momentum," Cox said. "But it was huge."
Back-to-back Wyoming offensive drives saw the Aggie defense give up the longest play of the year.
Derek Armah took a handoff and got outside the USU defense for a 47-yard touch down run with 10:53 left in the fourth quarter.
After intercepting a Cox pass, Bramlet found Jovon Bouknight running up the sidelines all alone for a 62-yard touchdown pass to eclipse the old mark the Cowboys had set their previous play.
The fireworks scheduled to start after the game actually began late in the fourth quarter when Cornelius Lamb tackled Wyoming running back C.R. Davis and both players slid into the concrete wall near the northwest sidelines.
Lamb was injured on the play and Wyoming coach Joe Glenn took exception to the tackle and went berserk. He received three un-sportsmanlike conduct penalties and a Wyoming player also received an un-sportsmanlike flag for 60 yards in penalties on one play. The player and coach had to be restrained and were ejected from the game with a little over a minute left to play.
Wyoming had 434 total yards in offense while USU had 357. Time of position was a factor as Wyoming held the ball for 36:36 to USU's 23:24.
"Wyoming is too good of an offensive team to give them a short field every possession," Dennehy said. "I think we played well other than that. Their quick scores took us out of our game plan early and that's tough."
The home crowd of 26,594 was second most for a USU homecoming game.
The Aggies resume Sun Belt Conference play at North Texas Oct.18, then return home to play Arkansas State at 1 p.m. Oct. 25.