Wyoming’s Andrew Peasley downplaying meeting with former team
LARAMIE -- Utah State's worst-to-first turnaround in 2021 wasn't possible without some good ol' fashion luck -- and Andrew Peasley.
In a Week 3 meeting with Air Force, the Aggies' starting quarterback Logan Bonner took a shot to his lower back as he delivered a 24-yard touchdown strike to Justin McGriff on the opening drive of the second half.
With the visitors trailing 31-20, the La Grande, Ore., product led his team on consecutive scoring drives of 75 and 56 yards. Peasley connected with Carson Terrell from five yards out to cap the first possession. The next ended with a 37-yard scoring heave to Brandon Bowling.
Most impressive, with Peasley under center, the Aggies converted all four of their third-down opportunities against a stingy Falcons' defense. The then-sophomore weaved his way for a 10-yard scamper on a 3rd and 10. He gained 17 with his feet on a 3rd and 7.
Bonner would reenter the game on the fourth possession of the quarter. It was short lived. He tossed a critical interception near midfield. His back, still ailing.
Though the Aggies trailed by four, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound signal caller once again took the reins. He promptly hit Deven Thompkins for a 72-yard touchdown. USU iced the comeback with two more third-down conversions and a 61-yard touchdown jaunt courtesy of Calvin Tyler Jr.
"Unbelievable, man. Without him, we don't win that game," Bonner said of Peasley, who helped lead the Aggies to a 49-45 victory last September, giving his team its first 3-0 start since 1978. "I couldn't go. My back was too ... I tried. I was just hurting the team. I could barely throw the ball and I'm not a runner. So, I basically said, 'Hey, dude, I'm out. You got this.' He did a phenomenal job.
"That's what he's capable of doing. I think what people forget, without him, we don't win that game. Without that game, we don't go to the championship."
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Peasley connected on 10-of-15 throws for 195 yards and three touchdowns that night in Colorado Springs. He also added 29 rushing yards, the important kind that keeps drives alive.
Without that win, Bonner and teammate Hale Motu'apuaka, aren't wearing the large diamond-encrusted silver rings they were sporting at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas.
"Andrew Peasley is a dog," Motu'apuaka said last July in Sin City. "He's got the speed and the throwing power. I'm excited to see him play. I'm happy for him. I'm happy he's over there."
"He's just a good ol' dude. He's a good teammate," said the quarterback, whose career came to a premature end due to a foot injury in late September. "He's a great guy to be around, really energetic. He's crazy athletic. Obviously, he can fly. He's just a really good player and I'm happy for him. I understand why he left and I don't blame him at all.
"I hope he wins every single game -- except for one."
Wyoming and Utah State will meet for the 72nd time in history this Saturday night inside War Memorial Stadium. Peasley will line up under center and look across the line of scrimmage into the eyes of former teammates, some of which he spent the last four seasons with.
Monday, Wyoming's new quarterback was the man of the hour. Every media member was curious what his emotions will be like with the Aggies coming to town. Cool, like always, he isn't buying into the hype. He claims this is just another game on the schedule.
"It will be good to see some people I haven't seen in a while. There's a lot of love that I have for people on that team," Peasley said. "But when Saturday rolls around all that love is going to turn into a battle. That's just how it is."
Admittedly, Peasley has kept an eye on his former team this season. He was roommates with newly installed quarterback, Cooper Legas. He also lived with offensive lineman, Jacob South. He knows the Aggies have been riddled with injuries under center. He joked that he won't likely be getting a heads up on who the starter will be this week.
Utah State head coach Blake Anderson has kept tabs on Peasley, too.
"He's looked very comfortable," he said. "I've talked to him several times this year. I love the kid, I encourage him. I told him congrats on big wins, told him good luck every week but one. And I mean that. I cried when the kid told me he was leaving. I love the kid, I love what he brought to our table. I wish him nothing but the best, but on Saturday, we need to try to make him feel really uncomfortable."
Peasley is completing nearly 54% of his passes through seven games this fall. He has thrown for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns. He has added 234 more yards on the ground while leading the Cowboys to a 4-3 overall record and a 2-1 mark in conference play.
That's all important.
His impact in the locker room, however, is arguably more so.
"I can't tell you enough how much I've personally enjoyed working with Andrew," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said during his Monday press conference in Laramie. "He's been a great fit. I mean, here's a guy whose family is all ranchers and he's a small-town guy. He embraces Laramie. I mean, he was elected captain by a wide margin and that's tough to do in a short amount of time.
"He's embraced a lot of these players, so we're excited about having him on our team."
Titus Swen echoed those sentiments. During the league's media days, he spoke about Peasley's compete level. Even as the new guy on campus, Swen added, the QB was not afraid to dive right in.
"Usually a quarterback comes into the weight room and it's like laidback and cool," UW's junior running back said in Las Vegas. "He's actually coming in and saying, 'let's lift, let's run.' We lift right next to each other. Our racks are right next to each other. He's always trying to get up there with me."
Is he as tough as Swen?
"I wouldn't say all that," the Texas native said with a smile. "He's tough though."
One word comes to mind for Easton Gibbs when he thinks about Peasley -- swagger.
"He carries himself really well, which I think is important as a quarterback just because you're technically leading one side of the ball," the sophomore linebacker and fellow team captain said last July. "I mean, whether you want to admit it or not, he's that guy."
Peasley, who spent some of the bye week with his girlfriend in Logan, said he has no idea what his emotions will be like Saturday night in Laramie. His focus is on the game plan, he says. He's worried about wrapping up another victory in the division and keeping pace with Boise State atop the standings.
When pressed on the importance of this one, his grin tells a different story. He's just not verbalizing it, instead keeping the focus on his new teammates and the task at hand. You know, like a captain would do.
Last spring, Peasley was asked about the matchup with Utah State and whether he circled this one on his calendar. Not surprisingly, he downplayed the personal magnitude of the meeting, but he was quick to spit out the date of the game.
Asked again on Monday what this one means, he smiled.
"1-0, that's all it is," he said. "It's my brother's birthday, so that's what I want to get him is a W."
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