Three Stars of the Game: Pokes vs. Red Raiders
LARAMIE -- Not one defensive player is landing on this list.
Sounds crazy, right?
That unit deserves plenty of credit for the Cowboys' 35-33 double-overtime upset Saturday night over visiting Texas Tech.
After going down 17-0 in the first quarter, this group limited the Red Raiders' potent air-raid attack to this on its next seven drives:
* Missed field goal
* Missed field goal
* Missed field goal
That's special stuff. There's no two ways about it. Wrook Brown sparked Wyoming's comeback, picking off Tech quarterback Tyler Shough on the visitor's first drive of the second quarter. He baited the sixth-year signal caller, reading his eyes before jumping a route that was heaved from the far hash.
Caleb Driskill was in the end zone five snaps later.
When the dust settled on this one, the Cowboys held Tech to just 93 rushing yards on 33 attempts. That's a mere 2.8 yards per carry. They also limited the Red Raiders to seven third-down conversions on 17 tries. They started the game 1-for-9 in that category.
So, how do we leave a defender off this list? Because everyone of those guys, along with an innovative coordinator in Jay Sawvel, collectively stepped up in this victory. Everyone gets a game ball.
Here are my selections for the three stars of this game:
1st star: Andrew Peasley - Quarterback
Wyoming's starting quarterback didn't get to witness the most crucial play of this game. Like he was so many times Saturday night, Andrew Peasley was on his back as his 11-yard strike hit tight end John Michael Gyllenborg in the hands before he cruised into the end zone in double overtime.
That came on a 4th-and-7. A Texas Tech safety was in hot pursuit, blitzing through an open gap in Wyoming's offensive line.
"That’s probably the best feeling when you’re looking up at the sky and your home team is going crazy," the senior said with a grin.
Grit. Heart. Passion.
Those are a few words that characterize Peasley's performance in this one. He took hit after hit, including numerous to the head. His pants were covered in green stains despite the Cowboys' not playing on natural grass. Bright red scratch marks were visible on his arms during the postgame press conference.
"Not a chance, but I was hurting," he said when asked if there was any way he was leaving this game. "Coach (Craig) Bohl asked me how I was at halftime and I just said, my body hurt. He said, 'can you run?' I said, yeah, yeah, I got you -- and I did."
Peasley rolled up a team-high 68 yards with his legs. He converted a trio of third-down runs, two of which were nine-plus yards. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Oregon product also scampered into the end zone from five yards out in the first overtime.
Peasley completed 18-of-24 throws for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The first one came on a bootleg in the second quarter. That was a four-yard toss to fullback Caleb Driskill. You already know about the other one.
"I am extremely proud to call that man my quarterback," left tackle Frank Crum said. "We are going to take a great deal of pride in cleaning up our protection. I respect
the heck out of him for being tough, but let’s take some hits off."
2nd star: Sam Scott - Running Back
"It meant the world to me. Being able to show up for this game and show up at the end there, means everything."
Those are the words of Sam Scott, Wyoming's third-string running back, who patiently followed his blockers into the end zone on a final two-point conversion that gave the Cowboys an improbable 35-33 victory over Texas Tech.
Scott, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound bruiser, also added a 16-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter, taking advantage of dominant blocking up front before making a single cut and cruising in for six untouched.
"I was really happy for Sam Scott to have an opportunity," Peasley said postgame. "When he ran that one touchdown in, I was like, 'Sam! Let’s go.'”
By now, you are probably familiar with Scott's story.
The Omaha, Neb., product came to Laramie in 2021 as a linebacker, a position he would train at for the better part of two years. When the Pokes' leading rusher, Titus Swen, was dismissed from the team last November, Bohl needed bodies in his running back room. DQ James and Dawaiian McNeely were lost for the year with injuries. Joey Braasch entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.
Scott's number was called.
A running back at Skutt Catholic, he didn't bat an eye.
Scott was inserted into the lineup during the Arizona Bowl. His head coach was so impressed with his athleticism and versatility, the move became a permanent one.
Scott rushed for 44 yards on seven carries against the Red Raiders. That's an average of 6.3 yards per rush.
"I'm really proud of Sam," Crum said. "I think he's really stepped up. He's a linebacker, but, man, he's really given his heart (to this). He didn't take this as, you know, all those running backs left before the bowl game, man, I have to be a running back fill in. He took that and ran with it. You saw tonight what he can do."
3rd star: Frank Crum - Left Tackle
His smile said it all.
Frank Crum, standing behind the podium Saturday night, said this was probably the most fun he's had at a home game in his career. That's saying something. Crum is a Laramie native. He's seen a lot of games in this building.
"I love this town. I love this state. This was my dream as a kid. I’m so glad I came back to play six. To open up like this is very special for me. I’m excited to see what the season holds for us."
Bohl, Peasley and the Cowboys stable of running backs are glad, too, Frank.
The 6-foot-8, 315-pound super senior pushed the pile all night long. Scott followed him on that 16-yard touchdown scamper. Crum locked his man up, put him on skates and drove him to the right, directly out of the picture.
He did the same in overtime.
Crum manhandled the Tech defensive end and rendered him useless. Scott walked right into the end zone, again untouched.
A notorious pest, Crum even drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty in the first half. He just buried a linebacker -- and appeared to be telling him all about it as he lie on the ground -- when Jesiah Pierre gave him a post-whistle shove. Warranted? Probably not. Effective? Absolutely.
Wyoming rushed for 171 yards on the night. Peasley, despite taking a pounding, was only sacked one time. He was hurried just once. Like a true leader, Crum praised his young linemates for stepping up in a big spot.
"This was an unproven O-line tonight and I think they really stepped up," he said. "You could see some glimpses of light for some of these younger linemen. I mean, we just beat Texas Tech with two starting redshirt freshmen."
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