Turning point, unsung hero and what’s next for UW football
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- Levi Williams ripped off a 38-yard run early in the third quarter. It was by far the Cowboys biggest outburst of the afternoon.
Trailing just 7-0, Wyoming was finally in business inside the Air Force 40. For the first time all day, there was a threat from an otherwise dormant offensive outing for the visitors.
Then Tyler Vander Waal was re-inserted.
The sophomore quarterback rolled to his right and tossed the ball slightly across his body. It hit an Air Force defender and landed harmlessly into the awaiting arms of Falcon senior safety, Jeremy Fejedelem.
Air Force took over and proceeded to march 41 yards on 14 plays before settling for a 31-yard field goal off the foot of Jake Koehnke.
In the end, those were the deciding points. But in reality, the momentum that was built up after that powerful Williams jaunt was for naught. Air Force, like it always does, methodically moved the ball right down the field, picking up small chunks of yardage which led to easy third-down conversions.
In fact, the Falcons picked up three of them on that drive alone.
“I thought we did a good job of keeping points off the board compared to last year, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said of his team's defensive effort Saturday. "We gave them too many first downs. We should have been tackling, they knocked us off the football too much. More than we like.”
If Wyoming (7-4, 4-4) can find a way to score points on that drive, this game could've ended differently. Instead, Williams also tossed a pick of his own late in the fourth. He was also robbed by Fejedelem, too, who once again took advantage of a batted ball. Air Force also turned that into a 27-yard field goal and its lead grew to 13-3 with 5:31 to go.
On a blustery, winter-like day in Colorado Springs, the Falcons (10-2, 7-1) scored just six points off three Cowboy miscues.
That's all they needed.
"We are going to move forward," Bohl said. "I know a bunch of guys are disappointed in the locker room. This is a big ball game for our program. It’s a big game for Air Force as well. Hats off to them. They won, I told our guys to keep their heads up and move forward.”
Air Force 20, Wyoming 6
Cole Godbout didn't rack up the most impressive numbers Saturday, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he was a destructive force on the Wyoming defensive line.
The redshirt freshman from Hudson, Wisconsin, finished with three tackles on the afternoon. He was filling in for Mario Mora, who was lost midweek because of a concussion. All he did in his first action against the Falcons' triple-option attack was plug up nearly every hole in the middle of the Wyoming defense.
He was in the Air Force backfield a number of times and even drew a holding penalty late in the first half.
This is always a big game for defensive tackles. Air Force's offense lives and dies with the halfback dive. If they get that rolling it makes for a long afternoon. Instead, the Cowboys held the Falcons to just 162 yards on the ground, well below their average of 304.
Alijah Halliburton led the Pokes with 13 tackles, and Logan Wilson and Garrett Crall each had 10. Crall even forced an early fumble that was recovered by Esaias Gandy.
Those guys will get plenty of pub after this one. Godbout won't. He was stellar Saturday.
“It’s one of those baths you'd love to have again.”
— Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun told a television reporter after receiving a Gatorade shower following the Falcons' 10th win of the season and 400th in the history of the program.
The waiting game. Will Wyoming get a bowl invite? It's all but guaranteed. But where will they end up? Who knows. Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl will not meet with the media Monday for his normal weekly press conference. He, along with his staff, will be on the road recruiting. Players will be focused on finals. Bowl invites will be handed out next Sunday.