Turning point, unsung hero and what’s next for UW football
ALBUQUERQUE -- Quite simply, Wyoming's offensive unit was pissed off.
It showed, too.
Titus Swen rolled up 33 yards on the ground on the first two snaps of the second half, including a 26-yard burst on first down. Dawaiian McNeely tacked on a couple more. Andrew Peasley did, too. Wyoming's quarterback picked up the first down with his legs, extending the drive at the Lobos' 40-yard line.
The next three plays only equated to nine more yards on the ground, however, it served as a glimpse into the type of aggression the visitors would play with over the next 30 minutes.
Frank Crum, the Pokes' 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive tackle was nailed with a personal foul for a late hit on UNM safety Jerrick Reed. Fellow tackle Eric Abojei jawed with New Mexico defenders. So did Nofoafia Tulafono and Zach Watts.
Fullback Caleb Driskill, intimidating neck roll and all, also bashed away at anything wearing cheery and gray. Dion Hunter was on the receiving end of one of those blasts.
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Craig Bohl admitted that his locker room was "dead" in last Saturday's 33-16 home loss to San Jose State. Wyoming's ninth-year head coach said his staff analyzed all week why that was the case. The verdict: his team was exhausted.
"This week, as complicated as what we had to go through on offense and defense, we cut practice back and we spent more time in the film room," he said. "Our strength and conditioning staff did a great job to make sure that, you know, we were on point with our speed and it showed.
"We came out in the second half and we were a different team than we were last week."
On a 1st-and-10 from the UNM 29, Peasley took the snap under center, faked the hand off and attempted to roll to his left. With an outside blitz oncoming, UW's signal caller heaved a perfectly-placed pass right into the hands of a streaking Treyton Welch.
New Mexico 14
"I was really disappointed in that first drive in the second half," UNM head coach Danny Gonzales said postgame. "We had an opportunity to get off the field and didn't. They beat us in man coverage ... When you play true freshmen, you're going to have to live with those things."
Even more impressive, that was the first time all season the Cowboys had capped the opening drive of the third quarter with a touchdown. John Hoyland booted through a 46-yard field goal in the opener at Illinois. Since, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception.
That possession in Albuquerque went for 75 yards on eight plays.
"I feel like we came out of halftime with some juice," Peasley said postgame. "I think some dudes were tired of not scoring touchdowns. So, it felt good to score on the opening drive of the second half and I feel like that kind of switched the momentum to us."
Just when you thought it was safe to shovel some dirt on the visitor's grave after going down 14-0 in seemingly the blink of an eye, the Cowboys rattled off 13 more unanswered points. Hoyland connected on a pair of field goals and Cam Stone snagged an interception in the flat off the right arm of Miles Kendrick and returned it 38 yards to the house for the eventual dagger.
UW's shorthanded defense, which was without starters Cole Godbout, Keonte Glinton and Wyett Ekeler, held the Lobos to just 69 yards of total offense over the final two quarters. Their drive chart looked like this in the second half: punt, fumble, punt, blocked field goal, punt, punt, interception, interception.
Gonzales announced Sunday that offensive coordinator Derek Warehime has been fired. The Lobos rank No. 128 out of 131 FBS teams, averaging just under 260 yards per game.
So, what changed for the Cowboys in this one? A bad memory.
"I remember on the sideline we were saying, this isn't going to be like last week," said nickelback Wrook Brown, who tallied 10 tackles in his first career start. "We got kicked in the mouth last week and didn't exactly ever come back."
That all changed in the Land of Enchantment.
Wyoming 24, New Mexico 17
With 2:57 left in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys clinging to a six-point lead, Clayton Stewart booted away a 36-yard punt. Hauling down field, gunner Ryan Marquez hauled the ball in on the fly and promptly dropped it behind his back before stepping into the end zone.
Long snapper Carson York, the only true freshman to play for UW so far this fall, was waiting for the flip inside the 1-yard line.
"That was a big play. I'm really proud of him," sophomore cornerback Cam Stone said. "He's got to be one of the top special teams players in the country right now. I swear, he does good stuff every week for us."
Marquez, a junior receiver from Arvada, Colo., blocked a punt in the Cowboys' home-opening victory over Tulsa. He also scooped up the loose change and scored from nine yards out in the 40-37 double-overtime win.
“It was a great college football game until the final three minutes when we made too many mistakes. It’s who we are. We need to coach them better so that we don’t create a divide.”
-- New Mexico head coach Danny Gonzales said following the Lobos 27-14 loss to visiting Wyoming
"It helps out a lot. I was staring at the QB a little more than I was supposed to. I just saw Gavin (Meyer) and thought, Oh, my God. The whole D-line really. It was easy. The QB was getting nervous, making some questionable throws and we made them pay."
-- Wyoming cornerback Cam Stone when asked what six sacks and numerous quarterback hurries does for the secondary
Wyoming will welcome a much needed bye week. With the injury list growing, it couldn't have come at a better time, too. "I think it's huge," Peasley said. "Coming out of here with a win and then a bye week, we're going to have a lot of time to get our bodies right and to feeling better." UW's signal caller might have some vested interest in the Cowboys next game, though. That's when Utah State -- his former school -- will pay a visit to War Memorial Stadium on Oct. 22.