LARAMIE -- This ain't your older brother's Cowboys.

In fact, this didn't look like your Cowboys at all. You know, the ones who rarely show up in big games?

Before the pregame cannon smoke even cleared the air above War Memorial Stadium, the Cowboys trailed 14-0. It looked like it would be another one of those days.

It was about as ugly as ugly gets.

Missouri ran the ball at will. Heralded quarterback, Kelly Bryant, started making plays with his arm. Things looked -- um, glum.

Then, Craig Bohl's youngsters got off the mat.

Not even a terrible throw by redshirt freshman Sean Chambers, who missed a wide open -- I mean, beyond wide open -- Josh Harshman in the end zone, fazed the Cowboys.

Instead, safety Easaias Gandy met Bryant on the edge the following drive, hammering the Clemson transfer to the turf. The ball popped loose thanks to an opportunistic poke from Josiah Hall and CJ Colden was Johnny on the spot, scooping and scoring from 30 yards out.

That was just the beginning of what would be one of the gutsiest performances we have seen around these parts in a while.

The Cowboys defense was opportunistic, forcing three crucial turnovers, two of which came inside the red zone. They gave up some yards -- 537 to be exact -- but they never folded.

This team was an 18-point under dog. No one gave them a chance in this one.

Now, they will be playing on Sports Center re-runs all night long.

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Who said these guys were young, undersized and inexperienced?

Oh yeah, me.

Boy, was I wrong.

The Cowboys rushed for 297 yards as a team Saturday night. They had two explosive plays -- a 61-yard scoring jaunt from Valladay and a 75-yard touchdown run from Chambers.

Even when things appeared to be bleak for the home team, the running game was still ripping off chunks. There were plenty of lanes wide open for the taking throughout the night.

And to add a cherry on top, Chambers wasn't sacked once. In fact, he was rarely under duress.

That says all you need to know about this senior-less bunch.

Kudos to Logan Harris, Rudy Stofer, Eric Abojei, Keegan Cryder and the rest of this confident bunch for proving me -- and a lot of other people -- very, very wrong.


Sure, Wyoming gave up a ton of yards. They still allowed 31 points.

But I'd be willing to bet some ice bags got on board the bus to Denver tonight. Gandy showed up. Logan Wilson always does. Alijah Haliburton popped some pads, so did the youngster, Rome Weber.

Chad Muma might have been the hardest hitter tonight. Cheyenne's own Ben Wisdorf even laid out a running back.

When these guys got to the point of attack, they attacked.

Yes, they gave up way too many third and shorts. But for all the noise about keeping Bryant in the pocket and not allowing him to run wild, all the Pokes did was hold him to 38 yards on the night, including a long of nine.

Not too shabby for a bunch of kids who were going to be so thin up front that the Tigers were going to wear them down early and often, huh?

Depth was an issue coming in. It darn near came back to bite the Pokes late. The fourth quarter looked more like a track meet. And Mizzou's receivers were the star of the show. But the defense did just enough in the end.

Some timely turnovers in the red zone didn't hurt, either.

Those were forced though, not gimmes.

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