Tuck’s Takes: Bohl’s ‘Boys Keep Finding Ways
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl said last Monday the message to his team would be simple and straight to the point: Play a clean game in all three phases.
"Saturday is our time," Wyoming's head coach added.
Early in Saturday night's 24-19 upset win over the No. 24 team in the country, Wyoming's offense looked nearly unstoppable, including finding the end zone on three straight second-quarter possessions.
Andrew Peasley was responsible for those.
The senior signal caller connected twice with Wyatt Wieland -- once in the seam and another in the back corner. He also hit a streaking Treyton Welch, capping a near perfectly executed two-minute drive before the half.
"I think we came out ready to play today," Peasley said. "I felt like I had five seconds to throw the ball. You know, (I was) seeing the field really well. We had a really good plan for Fresno and their defense."
Peasley completed 16-of-20 passes over the first 30 minutes against a stingy Fresno State defense. He compiled 144 yards through the air, 25 more with his feet. Five different receivers hauled in a throw. Running back Harrison Waylee added 46 more yards on the ground.
It was a clinic.
The defense did its part, too.
Consider this. On Fresno State's previous 40 offensive drives, zero three-and-outs. That's nearly a month worth of games. That unit also scored points in 25 straight quarters.
Those streaks died early inside War Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs ran just six plays on their first two possessions. They didn't score in the first 15 minutes of this one.
The visitors average more than 36 points per game, including 428.8 yards per game. Wyoming held that group to just 12 yards in the first quarter. Mikey Keene and Co. did roll up 95 more in the second frame, 50 of which came on one throw to Jaelen Moss.
That unit picked up four first downs and held the ball for only 10:08.
John Hoyland, Wyoming's All-American placekicker, drilled a 36-yard field goal to cap a 13-play opening drive. That was an unfortunate consolation prize. The Cowboys were one bobble away from a 17-yard touchdown grab by tight end John Michael Gyllenborg.
That kick, however, snapped another dubious streak. Wyoming hadn't scored a single point against this Fresno State program in 11 straight quarters, including back-to-back shutouts in consecutive seasons.
All three phases were clicking. Penalties, a major issue in the previous two outings, were nonexistent through 30 minutes.
That's clean football.
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Not everyone pulled their weight in the second half.
The Cowboys managed to gain just 80 yards of total offense on 23 snaps. That included a measly four first downs. Wyoming never scored again. In fact, it never reached the red zone.
A holding call on the opening drive of the third quarter negated a 22-yard Peasley run. Officials didn't throw the flag two snaps later, clearly missing a Fresno State defender in the neutral zone on the ensuing punt. The Cowboys needed just three yards for an automatic first down. That hurt.
Fresno State, on the flip side, rolled up 217 yards, including 194 through the air. Jeff Tedford's team converted four third-down attempts. It added two more conversions on fourth. Logan Fife, who entered the game in the fourth quarter for an injured Keene, threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Mac Dalena. The Bulldogs added two more field goals.
Hoyland, with a chance to extend the Cowboys' lead to eight with just 1:48 remaining in regulation, clanked a 47-yard field-goal attempt off the goalpost. It was the junior's first miss of the season. Wyoming's kick-return unit also allowed the Bulldogs to execute an onside kick. That turned into a nine-point swing.
Saturated brows all around. That's nothing new around here.
"During the second half, we stayed with the same idea and I thought Fresno did a nice job adjusting. We got a little bit complacent," Bohl said. "It wasn't like we were saying, 'OK, we're just going to milk the clock and get conservative,' I mean, we came out and we threw a bootleg. We were throwing the football, we just were not converting like we were."
Cole Godbout eventually bailed his team out, tipping a Fife pass at the line of scrimmage. It shot straight up in the air before landing in the arms of the Cowboys' nose tackle. That interception snapped a string of 14 straight victories for the Bulldogs, the second-longest streak in the nation. Wyoming's four-game skid in the series was put to bed, too.
It wasn't easy.
It wasn't pretty.
It rarely is.
There's nothing wrong with that. Good teams always seem to find a way.
Like throwing an 11-yard touchdown into the teeth of a blitz, then converting a two-point conversion to sink Texas Tech in double overtime. A blocked field goal that turns into a touchdown, handing Appalachian State an unthinkable loss.
"We're resilient," senior linebacker Easton Gibbs said postgame. "... I think it just shows our togetherness. Our team never wavered. When we were down, the offense picked us up. When the offense is down, we pick them up. I think that's how good teams operate."
This Wyoming team is now 5-1 overall and a perfect 2-0 in Mountain West play. Another huge test awaits next Saturday night in Colorado Springs. Air Force is 5-0, its last three wins coming in convincing fashion.
That's a three-phase program.
The search for perfection -- or something close to it -- continues for these Cowpokes.
"It wasn't a fluke," Bohl said of the win over Fresno State. "I think there were times during the course of this game that I thought we looked dynamic. Other times, maybe not so much. (There were) enough good plays, so we're going to rally around those good things."
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
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- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players