Bronc in the backfield
LARAMIE -- The Jumbotron inside cavernous Allegiant Stadium told the tale.
He was indeed two yards short of the goal line.
Parker Christensen's first catch in a Wyoming uniform was originally called a touchdown on the field. He thought he got in. So did his teammates. With the referee's two extended arms, the Sheridan product began to celebrate.
You couldn't have written a better script.
Then, the inevitable review came.
"It was super exciting," Christensen said. "Right after it happened, I hopped up really excited. It's unfortunate that I stepped out of bounds, but I'll remember that for years to come."
The catch went for 21 yards down the sideline.
Still a major milestone for the former Wyoming Gatorade Player of the Year who spent last fall on the Cowboys' sideline as a redshirt.
Having the ball in his hands is nothing new.
At Sheridan High School in 2018, Christensen, then a running back, carried the ball 132 times for 1,120 yards. He scored 19 touchdowns for the Broncs. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 225-pounder also snagged 20 passes out of the backfield for 315 yards and a pair of scores.
Did we mention he also returned kickoffs?
Christensen returned 10 of those. He scored twice while averaging 44.2 yards per return.
How good was Christensen's senior campaign in the Big Horns? He scored 138 points on those 23 touchdowns. That led all of Class 4A.
His new position in Laramie, the H-Back, is a hybrid between a fullback and a tight end. Through the first four games of the season, Christensen has been banging heads with linebackers and opening holes for Xazavian Valladay, Trey Smith and others.
He was also a linebacker at SHS. A good one, too.
He made 85 tackles, including five for loss. He also registered a sack and picked off a pass.
He was a Swiss Army knife. Maybe that's why he didn't hesitate to take on a new role in Laramie.
"I'll do whatever the coaches here want me to do," he said. "I'm here to do my job and do anything for the Cowboys."
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl was the one who ultimately had to throw a wrench in Christensen's celebration in Las Vegas. He grabbed the redshirt freshman on the sideline and told him to hang on. The play was about to go to the review booth.
Though the points came off the board, quarterback Levi Williams dove over the pile two plays later to give the visitors a commanding 31-7 lead over the Rebels.
Christensen's run to the goal line showed off his athleticism. That wasn't a shock to Bohl.
"We saw it in fall camp. Parker has really done some good things in practice," Bohl said. "When given the opportunity to be able to block, he did well and has good receiving skills. He's strong and physical, and you saw what was hopefully a touchdown. It wasn't, but you saw his explosiveness."
Was Christensen bummed he didn't get in on the scoring in the 45-14 win over UNLV?
But the next best thing happened on the Cowboys' second to last offensive possession.
Attempting to run the clock out and salt away the road victory, Bohl inserted most of the back-up players. But on a 3rd and 2 from the Rebels' 19-yard line, what was hopefully going to be a first-down plunge to run out the clock, turned into the first career touchdown run for fellow Wyoming native Brett Brenton.
Look at this jaunt to the end zone. You can also spot a nice outside block by No. 80:
Was the Casper product excited or what?
He wasn't alone.
"Hey man, get in end zone, huh?" Christensen said he told Brenton during a timeout before that play. "It was really exciting to see a Wyoming native succeed like that. It was a really exciting moment for me and the team. We were hyped up for Brett. It was cool to see."
Maybe tonight in Las Vegas, it will be another Cowboy State product putting points on the board?
Wyoming and New Mexico are slated to kickoff at 8:30 p.m. tonight inside Sam Boyd Stadium.