BOISE, Idaho — After trailing by only one possession, 15–7, at halftime, the Wyoming Cowboys were unable to mount a second-half comeback on their way to a 32–7 road loss at Boise State on Saturday.
It was only Wyoming’s third loss of the season. UW’s other two losses came on the road against then-No. 4–ranked Texas, 31–10, and at Air Force, 34–27, when both the Cowboys and Falcons were receiving votes in the national polls.
After Saturday’s loss, Wyoming is now 5–3 overall this season and 2–2 in the Mountain West. Boise State is now 4–4 overall and 2–2 in the conference.
The Cowboys were unable to generate any scoring threats in the second half, while Boise State added two touchdowns and a field goal to stretch its 15–7 halftime lead to a final score of 32–7.
For only the second time this season, Wyoming was shut out in a half. The first shutout came in the second half against Fresno State on Oct. 7, but Wyoming had built a 24–7 halftime lead over the Bulldogs en route to a 24–19 home win. The Cowboys’ seven points against Boise State on Saturday were their lowest point total of the season.
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl was asked postgame how tough a game it was for his Cowboys on Saturday.
“It was really tough,” Bohl said. “[Boise State] played particularly well. I don’t want to take anything away from Boise; I thought they had a really good game plan. They out-coached us and then sometimes things just go right for the other team. I don’t know how many times I saw balls punted inside the five-yard line tonight and sometimes it’s just not your day.
“I think Boise is a good team. They’re a hungry team. I told our guys when [Boise State players] play on the blue [turf] they’re going to play really hard defending their turf. They certainly did.
“Our challenge is we have to take a critical look at what we’re coaching as far as our schemes in all three phases [offense, defense and special teams] and what players are out there. We’re going to have a big challenge getting ready to play Colorado State this next week on a short week on Friday.”
When asked how the short week ahead affects his team’s preparation for the Friday night game vs. Colorado State, Bohl said, “It means by the time we hit the ground tonight in Laramie our coaches are probably going to start working and we’ll be in the office real early tomorrow. Tomorrow will be like a regular Monday. We’ll have practice tomorrow and everything just moves up a day.”
Boise State began the second half with an eight-play, 72-yard touchdown drive on its opening possession of the half. The big plays on the drive were a 36-yard pass from Bronco quarterback Maddux Madsen to wide receiver Eric McAlister and a nine-yard touchdown run by quarterback Taylen Green. That made the score 22–7 with 11 minutes on the clock in the third quarter.
Midway through the third quarter, the Broncos engineered an 11-play, 69-yard touchdown drive. Madsen would connect with McAlister on a 22-yard pass on a third and seven early in the possession to keep the drive alive. Madsen would cap off the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Prince Strachan to build Boise State’s lead to 29–7.
The only scoring in the fourth quarter came on a 48-yard field goal by Boise State place-kicker Jonah Dalmas to finish off a nine-play, 41-yard drive and make the final score Boise State 32, Wyoming 7.
Wyoming’s offense was unable to cross into Boise State territory in the second half. The Cowboys’ deepest penetration in the half was to its own 44-yard line.
In the first half, Wyoming’s defense and special teams kept the Cowboys in the game. After UW was held to a three-and-out on its opening possession, Boise State’s offense took over at its own 26-yard line. The Broncos began their first possession with four rushing plays for a total of 25 yards, moving the ball to the Wyoming 49-yard line. On a third and four, Boise State quarterback Green looked deep down the left side and connected with wide receiver McAlister for a 49-yard touchdown. The Broncos then attempted a two-point conversion and converted on a pass from backup quarterback Colt Fulton to tight end Matt Lauter to give Boise State an 8–0 lead with 10:28 remaining in the first quarter.
Both teams were forced to punt on their next possessions. On the Cowboys’ next possession and facing a third and 11 at the Wyoming 21, quarterback Andrew Peasley was intercepted on a deep pass at the Wyoming 49-yard line by Bronco safety Ty Benefield.
Boise State running back Ashton Jeanty carried for seven and 14 yards on the first two plays, moving the ball to the Wyoming 28-yard line. On a first and 10 from the 28, Bronco quarterback Green broke through up the middle for a 19-yard rush, but Wyoming safety Wyett Ekeler put a big hit on Green and forced him to fumble the ball. Cowboy cornerback Kolbey Taylor picked up the fumble at the Wyoming nine-yard line and returned it 40 yards to the UW 49.
Wyoming’s offense was again forced to punt, but on that punt UW’s special teams came up with a big play. Boise State punt returner Stefan Cobbs muffed the punt at the Bronco 19-yard line and Cowboy safety Andrew Johnson recovered the ball there. The Pokes wasted no time in scoring as Peasley threw into the left corner of the end zone, finding tight end John Michael Gyllenborg on the 19-yard touchdown. Cowboy place-kicker John Hoyland added the extra point and Wyoming cut the lead to 8–7 in favor of Boise State, with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter. That is how the first period would end.
Early in the second quarter, Boise State had a scoring opportunity when place-kicker Dalmas entered the game to attempt a 35-yard field goal, but a bad snap led to a failed attempt and the score remained 8–7 in favor of the Broncos. Wyoming’s offense was unable to mount a scoring threat in the second quarter.
The Broncos did have one last scoring drive in them late in the first half as they drove 77 yards in 14 plays that took 7:35 off the clock. Boise State concluded the drive with a two-yard touchdown run by running back Jambres Dubar to extend the Broncos’ lead to 15–7 with 2:04 remaining in the half, and that would be the halftime score.
With their 17 second-half point, Boise State secured its 32–7 victory.
Wyoming will face a short week of preparation in the coming week as they will host rival Colorado State on this coming Friday, Nov. 3 in a 6 p.m. MT kickoff. This year’s “Border War” meeting will be the 115th in the series that dates back to 1899. It will be the 56th time the two rivals will compete for the Bronze Boot, which was introduced as the traveling trophy in the rivalry in 1968.