This date in UW football history: Wyoming 40, Idaho 37 OT
LARAMIE -- "If you want it, go take it."
That was Dave Christensen's message to his 0-3 football team as they entered the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho, on Sept. 22, 2012.
One of those guys who "took it" was quarterback Brett Smith, who missed the previous week's game with a gruesome head injury sustained against Toldeo.
Smith completed 23 of his 35 passes that Saturday afternoon to go along with 365 yards passing and five touchdowns, including a 25-yard strike to Jalen Claiborne on the Cowboys' first play of overtime to give the visitors a 40-37 victory.
"He's pretty special," Christensen said of Smith postgame. "I think we all recognize that ... he's a phenomenal competitor."
Smith, who played just three seasons in Laramie, is Wyoming's all-time leader with 76 touchdown passes, 20 more than Casey Bramlet. Smith is No. 2 in passing yards and attempts in the history books with 8,834 and 1,212, respectively.
On this day, Wyoming's sophomore signal caller tossed touchdown passes to Chris McNeill, Brandon Miller, Justin Berger, Dominic Rufran and Claiborne.
McNeill snagged eight passes for 219 yards and a score. That is still the sixth-best single-game performance in school history.
Luckily the Pokes' passing game was clicking. The running game wasn't.
Jason Thompson, a back-up quarterback, who eventually transferred to Utah, led the team with 25 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. DJ May, Shaun Wick, Smith and Miller combined for just 55 yards on 22 carries.
"It’s painful," Idaho coach Robb Akey said. "Where we’re at, we’re talking about inches (from winning) – I mean, literally inches."
The Vandals (0-4) racked up 509 yards of total offense in the loss. Quarterback Dominique Blackman completed 34 of 46 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for another. On Idaho's final drive of regulation, Blackman hit receiver Mike Scott in the end zone from eight yards out to force overtime.
The Vandals settled for a 49-yard field goal in the their first possession in the extra frame. Smith took it from there.
"If you give me 13 ugly wins a year, I'll take it," Christensen said. "Our kids fought hard ... winning is fragile."
You can watch game highlights right here:
The Pokes were finally in the win column. That feeling wouldn't come again for the next five weeks as Wyoming limped to a 1-7 start. Christensen's group fought back to win three of its last four, including a 45-31 win over Border War rival Colorado State inside War Memorial Stadium.
That was the Cowboys' lone home win of the 2012 season. They finished 4-8.
"No question, it's a monkey off the back," Christensen said after the Idaho victory. "We all want to win. We found a way to get that done today. I'm proud of the kids."