Turning point, unsung hero and what’s next for UW football
LARAMIE -- Fresno State's high-octane offense hadn't gone three-and-out in 40 straight drives, dating back to a Week-2 meeting with Eastern Washington.
Yes, you read that right.
That's three games ago. Impressive? You bet.
Mikey Keene and the Bulldogs have also put points on the board in 25 straight quarters. If you wondered how this team got to 5-0 and earned a No. 24 ranking in the AP poll, now you know.
That's just part of the story, though.
The visitor's defense was also getting the job done. That unit allowed just 19 points per game coming into Saturday night's matchup in Laramie. They allow roughly 280 yards of total offense an outing. That's the 14th-best mark in the nation.
While there wasn't a true turning point in this classic tale of two halves, the Cowboys didn't seem too impressed -- or intimidated -- by all those numbers above.
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Andrew Peasley completed his first four passes. The fifth appeared to be a touchdown grab by tight end John Michael Gyllenborg in the back of the end zone. Officials disagreed and John Hoyland booted through a 34-yard field goal.
Wyoming's senior signal caller connected on eight of his next nine throws, two of which were touchdown strikes to Wyatt Wieland.
"I think we came out ready to play today," said Peasley, who completed 19-of-27 passes for 183 yards. "I felt like I had five seconds to throw the ball. You know, (I was) seeing the field really well and we had a really good plan for Fresno and their defense.
"... I think we executed really well. Guys we're flying around."
The first came from 14 yards out on the first snap of the second quarter, capping a 10-play, 78-yard drive. Peasley took the shotgun snap, looked to his right and fired a bullet down the seam. Wieland snagged the throw before taking a lick, courtesy of an oncoming safety.
The next one was a four-yard toss to the back of the end zone. The ball went right over the defender's head and straight into the outstretched hands of No. 11.
This offense wasn't done yet.
Peasley's third touchdown pass of the quarter came with just 31 ticks remaining. A streaking Treyton Welch got behind the defense. Peasley was again on target, hitting the big tight end in stride for six on yet another seam route.
The first four drives of the night turned into 24 first-half points. The defense pitched a shutout in the first quarter, including back-to-back three-and-outs on the Bulldogs' first two possessions.
It was just enough.
"We beat a good football team," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. "There were lots of ebbs and flows in the game."
Fresno State would score 12 unanswered in the second half, but a Cole Godbout interception would eventually put a bow on Wyoming's fifth victory of the season.
"I take my hat off to Wyoming," Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford said postgame. "They threw it and they ran it. They did a nice job. They had a big play there at the end.”
Fresno State had won four straight against the Cowboys, including consecutive shutouts in the last two meetings. That equated to 11 straight scoreless quarters. The 'Dogs outscored UW 87-10 in those outings.
"It was something we knew that we could do, and it was something we expected ourselves to do," said Wieland, who caught five passes for 50 yards. "We definitely knew that we had not scored on them in our last two meetings, and I think even going back to like my freshman year, we only kicked a field goal. So, it's been a while since we scored touchdowns on them.
"I guarantee we all knew that and it was something that we were looking to change."
They did just that.
Wyoming 24, Fresno State 19
This guy was the hero in a 22-19 home victory over Appalachian State.
DeVonne Harris blocked a 47-yard field-goal attempt that would've given the Mountaineers an eight-point lead with just 1:52 left in regulation. Jakorey Hawkins scooped up the loose change and went the other way for a 62-yard touchdown.
That combo did the same last Saturday against New Mexico, only that one came on a point-after attempt and only counted for two points.
Against the Bulldogs, Harris' stat line wasn't impressive. In fact, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find the defensive end's numbers: 1 tackle, 1 sack, 1 QB hit.
The quarterback takedown, though, came early in the fourth quarter. Fresno State, trailing 24-10, was knocking on the door, facing a 3rd-and-4 at the Wyoming 7-yard line. Harris, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior, blew through the line, wrapped up Keene and tossed him on his wallet. It was a 13-yard loss. The Bulldogs were forced to settle for a field goal.
To make matters even worse, Keene was lost for the game with an undisclosed injury.
"That made a big, big difference right there," Bohl said. "DeVonne is an angular guy and doesn't come across as an imposing pass rusher, but he certainly has good ability."
“I've said this before, I think a football team needs to reflect the fabric of the people that are in the state. We're hard-nosed people that go through a lot and we never say quit. This is how our football team is."
-- Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl on the mindset of his team through the first six games of the season.
"Me and the running back, we were just having some friendly competition. I was telling him to come get the ball."
-- Wyoming nose tackle Cole Godbout joking about the words he had with Fresno State running back Malik Sherrod after the game-clinching interception.
"Bloody Tuesday's is a high-intensity practice. Everyone's locked in and it's our longest practice, too. So, it's kind of a grind. I think they've been good for us, obviously, bringing the intensity up. Everyone has stepped up a little bit"
-- Wyoming QB Andrew Peasley on traditional in-season Tuesday practices, affectionately known as 'Bloody Tuesday."
"We had a big chip on our shoulder from last year, you know, losing 30-0. We just really had a lot of fuel in our tank and we really wanted to just put them out early. Obviously, at the end, we didn't finish how we wanted to, but we still came out with a (win)."
-- Wyoming linebacker Shae Suiaunoa on the extra motivation coming into this matchup.
Wyoming (5-1, 2-0) took down a 5-0 Fresno State team tonight. They will need to beat another undefeated team if it hopes to remain atop of the Mountain West standings. Air Force (5-0, 1-0) awaits the Cowboys next Saturday night in Colorado Springs. That game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. The Falcons hold a slim 30-27 edge in the series and were upset 17-14 in Laramie last October. Bohl and Co. haven't won at the Academy since 2017.
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
Gallery Credit: 7220Sports.com
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players