LOGAN, Utah – A University of Wyoming offense that has been plagued by inconsistency delivered a deafening statement Saturday night at Maverik Stadium.
The Cowboys erupted for a season-high 604 yards, had two 100-yard rushers and threw for more than 200 yards for the first time in Mountain West play. The end result was a 44-17 rout of Mountain Division leader Utah State.
With Saturday’s win, the Pokes reached the six-win threshold for bowl eligibility.
"I thought it was our most complete game of the year," Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. "Utah State is a good football team, and we really played well in all three phases of the game. We certainly had explosive plays on offense. On defense, we were going to make a plan to stop their run, get some pressure on the quarterback and challenge their receivers. I thought our guys did a really good job of that."
UW’s opening drive brought back familiar memories, with the Cowboys punting it away after three plays – the sixth time in seven MW games that they’ve gone three-and-out or turned the ball over on their first possession.
Their performance the rest of the way, however, was anything but expected.
UW erupted for 270 yards in the first two quarters, building a 24-17 halftime lead.
Sophomore receiver Isaiah Neyor got the scoring started for the Pokes, hauling in a 40-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Levi Williams – who finished 12 of 15 with 242 yards, two touchdowns and an interception – with 7:47 left in the first quarter. Neyor hauled in four catches for 125 yards.
Utah State responded with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, but the Cowboys had an answer of their own.
Sophomore cornerback Cameron Stone returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to the house for the first score of his UW career. This marked UW’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since Tyler Hall in 2017 against Texas State, and the second-longest in program history.
Senior receiver Deven Thompkins tied it back up at 14 with a 41-yard touchdown catch 46 seconds later, but the Cowboys were able to sustain their offensive success while locking down defensively for the rest of the half.
Sophomore receiver Joshua Cobbs put UW back on top with a contested 17-yard touchdown catch with 6:50 left in the second quarter, and sophomore kicker John Hoyland stretched the lead to 10 with a 28-yard field goal.
Utah State appeared to be on its way to a pivotal touchdown on the final drive of the first half, going 39 yards on four plays to set up a first-and-10 from the Wyoming 25-yard line. The Cowboys rose to the occasion, however, forcing the Aggies to settle for a field goal after an all-out blitz on third down resulted in an incomplete pass.
UW allowed Utah State to reach its 25-yard line on the opening drive of the third quarter after a 34-yard run by Calvin Tyler Jr., but two incomplete passes and a run for no gain set up another field goal attempt. This time, the snap sailed high and junior cornerback C.J. Coldon recovered the fumble near midfield.
"That drive out of halftime can make you or break you," Coldon said. "I feel like that drive is the most important when the game was close. I just didn't want to give them any points, and I know the other guys on defense didn't want to give any points up."
Two plays later, junior running back Titus Swen scampered 43 yards to the end zone to stretch the Pokes’ lead to 14. They would proceed to out-score the Aggies 20-0 in the second half.
"To be honest, I was just thinking, 'I can't let the O-linemen down,'" said Swen, who was chased down on an 87-yard run earlier this month against Colorado State. "I told them if I ever broke out like that again I was going to score, and that's what I had to do."
Added Bohl: "Those things were huge. In a game like this, to have a chance to win, you're going to need some explosive plays. The kickoff return was huge, I thought Titus' run was huge and Levi threw the ball well."
Chad Muma had 17 total tackles, including eight solo stops, to lead a defense that held Utah State to 105 yards and 16.4 points below its season average. Freshman safety Isaac White had an interception, the first of his career, and a fumble recovery.
Utah State junior quarterback Logan Bonner — who entered the game averaging 274.9 passing yards per game — completed less than 50% of his passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, with the Cowboys recording a sack and five quarterback hurries.
"I don't know how many times we hit him, but we hit him a lot," Bohl said.
UW closes out its regular season next Saturday at home against Hawaii (4-7).