Turning point, unsung hero and what’s next for UW football
LARAMIE -- "It was a bad-ass hair day."
That was Craig Bohl's response to Wyoming's 38-14 loss to visiting Hawaii Saturday, but more specifically the unthinkable play that all but ended this one.
"If anything kind of encompasses how the whole day went ..., Bohl said, referring to the 50-yard hail mary that was hauled in by Jared Smart on the final play of the first half, giving the Rainbow Warriors a commanding 31-7 lead.
"By the time I got there, he had already caught the ball," UW cornerback Azizi Hearn said. "There was nothing you could do about it. At that point, they were blowing the whistle."
Was this play really the turning point? Not necessarily. This game might have been decided before the Cowboys even entered War Memorial Stadium on a sun-spanked senior day inside War Memorial Stadium.
It was that bad.
You can point to a converted 3rd-and-10 on Hawaii's second drive of the game. It appeared the Pokes were going to get off the field. Chevan Cordeiro had different plans, flying through the UW defense for a 20-yard gain. The visitors were in the end zone -- again -- four plays later.
They had a 14-0 lead.
They weren't done there, though.
Levi Williams and Co. put together their lone first-half touchdown drive late in the second quarter. The Cowboys chewed up 75 yards on 11 plays, aided by a 34-yard pitch and catch from Williams to Isaiah Neyor. Williams, despite suffering from a left knee contusion, would add 14 more yards on a scramble off right tackle.
Titus Swen would eventually punch it in from four yards out to get the home team on the board with 1:36 remaining.
Wyoming finally had a glimmer of hope, despite the 'Bows 24-7 lead. A three-possession deficit, you would hope, could be overcome.
Four? Forget it.
That's exactly what the Warriors did.
UH running back Dae Dae Hunter took a delayed handoff on a 3rd-and-15 and slipped past his right guard. Sixteen yards later, the 'Bows had the ball at midfield with four ticks remaining on the clock.
Just enough time for a miracle heave.
Too much time.
"I just told him to take a shot at it. He made a great call and we scored before the half," UH head coach Todd Graham said he told his offensive coordinator. "It was a great play by Jared Smart. I saw an outstanding throw and an outstanding catch. There is some execution to it. The trajectory of the ball was perfect and we made a great play."
Hawaii 38, Wyoming 14
This honor goes to a guy who didn't have a single catch in his Wyoming career until the Boise State game -- Wyatt Wieland.
Saturday, the sophomore from Colorado Springs hauled in a career-high two catches -- both on third down -- for 22 yards. He now has four on the season for 60 yards.
The former walk-on has stepped up since Ayden Eberhardt and Alex Brown were sidelined with injuries. He has provided a safety valve for Williams and has proven to be sure-handed.
With Josh Cobbs also coming on, Wyoming could have a legit triple threat on the outside with Wieland and Neyor.
"I want to take a look at myself, saying 'why in the heck were we not prepared? Because we weren't. So, if you want to come up with an answer, just say, 'Hey, coach Bohl didn't have them very well prepared, because bottom line, that's what it was. Coach Graham had that group prepared and we got schooled up. There, you can put that in your quote."
-- Craig Bohl on the Cowboys sixth loss of the season, a 38-14 setback in Laramie against Hawaii
That's the million-dollar question. If the Cowboys don't land in one of the Mountain West's guaranteed five bowl games -- or an additional five postseason spots that can still select a league team if need be -- then it's the beginning of a long offseason in Laramie. National signing day is Dec. 15. As of now, Wyoming has 10 verbal commitments -- Caden Becker (QB), Caleb Merritt (WR), Cayden Hawkins (LB), Isaac Schoenfeld (TE), Josh Dixon (DB), Koa McIntyre (S), LJ Richardson (RB), Luke Roaten (DT), Malique Singleton (DB) and Rex Johnson (OL).
Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium
- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium