Overtime loss to Broncos in 2019 still fuels Garrett Crall
LARAMIE -- The moment is still vivid in Garrett Crall's mind.
Even 730 days later.
He never envisioned that ball would go anywhere aside from through those neon yellow uprights. Like the rest of his teammates, the then-junior said he had all the faith in the world kicker Cooper Rothe would nail that field goal from 37 yards out and send the game into a second overtime.
That didn't happen.
The kick came up short, sending the Broncos bench into a frenzy. Clad in all black, the No. 21 team in the nation streamed onto the blue turf in Boise, some even heading right for the Cowboys' bench.
The celebration was on.
The scoreboard read: Boise State 20, Wyoming 17.
"When he missed that we were all stunned that we lost," Crall said. "To see them running -- it's hard to describe how that felt."
Then, Crall called it the toughest loss of his career at Wyoming. He was angry that frigid night in Idaho. He called the moment surreal.
Now, that loss simply serves as added motivation.
"We do remember that. We've talked about it," Crall said. "Some of us older guys remember just how close it was and how, for the most part, we did everything we needed to do to win that game. We just didn't come down and make some of the key plays there in the end when it mattered."
Crall finished the night with three tackles and picked up half-a-sack, combining with fellow defensive end Solomon Byrd to take down Boise State quarterback Chase Cord in the backfield.
Xazavian Valladay rushed for a game-high 124 yards and found the end zone late in the third quarter to give the Cowboys a 17-10 lead. Unfortunately for the visitors, it was the yards Valladay didn't pick up that led to that failed field-goal attempt in overtime instead of a fresh set of downs inside the Broncos' 20-yard line.
On a 3rd-and-4, Valladay was dropped for a two-yard loss.
You know the rest.
"You know, we had some adversity coming into that game," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said, referring to starting back-up quarterback Tyler Vander Waal and playing shorthanded on the defensive front. "... I think our players recognize that it's a tough atmosphere to play in, but there's a sense of confidence that if we do things right, we're going to have a great chance to win."
Victor Jones was one of those defensive players that was injured and forced to watch the game from home.
"I was like, 'this is a game we could grab,'" Jones recalled. "I just know the emotions were crazy high after not knocking down that field goal. Yeah, that was a tough loss, for sure."
For Crall, a super senior, who was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this is his last shot at the Broncos. It's his last trip to Boise. It's his final chance to get a victory on that field.
The Cowboys didn't answer the bell in 2019, he said, but there's a new opportunity awaiting this program in a place that has doubled as a house of horrors for Wyoming since Boise State joined the Mountain West in 2011.
"Our goal is to be able to beat them on the blue turf," Crall said. "Shoot, that's something that we haven't done here. We really need to come out and play physical, because we feel like when we play physical that's when we're at our best. That's what you saw Saturday. If we come out and play that brand of football I think we'll be fine."
A win inside Albertson's Stadium would give the Cowboys bowl eligibility for the fifth time in Crall's six seasons at UW. That's one of this team's goals, but according to the former walk on from Hicksville, Ohio, this squad is on a mission to prove that a four-game losing skid in October was the exception -- not the rule.
"We let those games get away from us," he said about losses to Air Force, Fresno State, New Mexico and San Jose State. "So, we want to show that we are a really good football team and that we can go on the road, in a hostile environment, in a night game, and go win in a place that's really hard to win. I think that's what guys want to show -- just how good we are.
"I think that's really what it means this week is just to show people who we are."
Boise State (5-4, 3-2) is coming off a 40-14 rout of No. 23 Fresno State inside a sold out Bulldog Stadium. Wyoming (5-4, 1-4) snapped that losing streak in a big way, gashing Border War rival Colorado State for 385 yards on the ground in a 31-17 victory over the visiting Rams.
A perennial power in the conference, the Broncos have uncharacteristically struggled at home this season, dropping three games on their famous field.
Boise State and Wyoming were supposed to be the top two teams in the Mountain Division, respectively. Many circled this November meeting as one that could decide who would punch a ticket to the conference title game.
Those championship aspirations are all but dashed for the Cowboys, but according to Crall, that does nothing to diminish this matchup.
"I think Boise State is hitting their stride right now just like we are," he said. "I mean you couldn't ask for a better night, Friday night up in Boise on national TV -- everyone is watching. So, I don't think you can script this one much better.
"It's going to be exciting. They're going to give us their best shot and we're going to give them ours. Both teams will be ready to go, and I can tell you, we're excited for it."
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players