Turning point, unsung hero and what’s next for UW football
SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Stop me if you've heard this before -- Wyoming gets off to a slow start, has zero passing game, trails after one quarter and comes back to win.
Yep, it happened again.
Only this time the Cowboys dominated the second half, pitching a shutout en route to a 23-14 victory.
Instead of a 27-point outburst in the second quarter like in the opener, the Cowboys found themselves in a dogfight against a rebuilding -- but motivated -- Texas State squad. It was 100 degrees at kickoff.
The only thing that wasn't hot was the visiting team. Offense was a mess. So, was the defense.
But that all changed with one instinctive play.
The Bobcats were once again moving right down the field on Wyoming's defense. It was a common occurrence throughout the first half. Clinging to a 14-13 lead, Texas State's six-play, 37-yard drive went from promising to demoralizing with one poor decision from Bobcat quarterback Gresch Jensen.
He planted his back foot on the right hash and threw all the way across the field to the left sideline. It never reached its intended target. Instead, Wyoming senior cornerback, Tyler Hall, stepped in front of the receiver and snagged the ball. He was off to the races, going 72 yards down the sideline with only a convoy of Cowboys leading the way.
"No question about it," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said when asked if that play changed the game. "That was the thing that switched momentum, switched strategy -- switched everything."
Hall said he was studying Jensen and picking up on some of his tendencies. In the first half, that pass was completed right in front of Hall.
Not this time.
"I just try to do whatever for the team," Hall said postgame. "It was a play I was able to make, and I just had to capitalize on it and put points up for my team. It definitely changed the momentum."
Let's hand out a couple of awards here.
First, kudos to the fans, especially the brown-and-gold clad ones filling up sections 222 and 223. They were in direct sunlight for roughly two hours. It was steamy in central Texas. The temperature at game time read: 100. It was every bit of that.
They stuck around until Cowboy Joe was sung.
Good on them.
Secondly, Cole Godbout has quietly become a force on the Cowboys defensive front. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 262-pound redshirt freshman landed a sack Saturday night to go along with two tackles and a tackle for loss.
Godbout was one of the guys who Bohl wanted to lean on after Ravontae Holt was lost for the season with a torn ACL in fall camp. So far, so good.
Godbout had two tackles in the opener against Missouri, backing up Mario Mora. The numbers aren't staggering, but Godbout has been in the middle plugging things up from the word go. The Tigers had little success in the running game. Now, you can add Texas State to that list.
The Bobcats ran the ball 22 times for 50 yards.
"We have to improve in that area. Right now, we aren’t efficient enough. Running the football has been an ace-in-the-hole for us. But, sooner or later, that ace-in-the-hole is going to bite us in the butt."
-- Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl on his team's inability to establish a passing game and relying too much on the run.
Idaho picked up its first win of the 2019 campaign Saturday night in Moscow, knocking off Central Washington, 41-31. It was a nice bounce-back win for the Vandals, who were crushed in Happy Valley in week one, 79-7, courtesy of Penn State.
Wyoming is 6-1 all-time against Idaho and have won the previous six meetings. The Vandals, who dropped down to FCS after the 2017 season, won the first-ever meeting 31-3 way back in 1921.
Remember that one?
These two did have one memorable meeting back in 1996. In the Cowboys home opener, Josh Wallwork, Marcus Harris, Len Sexton and Co. pulled out a 40-38 win. Wyoming went on to finish that season 10-2 and earned a berth in the inaugural WAC title game. If they lose that one, who knows how that season unfolds.
The last meeting between these two came in 2013 at War Memorial Stadium. Wyoming rolled to a 42-10 victory.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Laramie.