Wyoming Storms Back to Defeat Air Force
Cowboys Score 21 Unanswered Points in 4th
Andrew Wingard Interception Seals Win On Wyoming Senior Day
On what will go down as one of the top MW games of the 2018 season, the Wyoming Cowboys overcame injuries to their starting QB Sean Chambers, and their top 2 RB’s Nico Evans and Jevon Bigelow, to defeat Air Force, 35-27, and continue their quest for bowl eligibility.
Wyoming got the ball on their first possession and stormed down the field into the Falcons red zone. On a typical Wyoming QB run play, Chambers was pulled down from behind and his leg was caught under an Air Force defender.
After he was carted off the field, Tyler Vander Waal threw an 11 yard TD pass to Raghib Ismail Jr. Chambers would later return to the sideline in a boot and crutches.
Air Force answered the score with a TD of their own. After trading touchdowns one more time, the Falcons scored a field goal with just over a minute left in the half to take a 17-14 lead.
As the teams returned for the second half, snow had completely covered all field markings. Air Force continued their rushing onslaught and the Cowboys had no answers in stopping it. The Falcons took their first possession for a touchdown to extend their lead to 24-14.
Both teams punted on their next possessions before a Wyoming drive into AFA territory stalled on a 4th down quarterback sweep with Vander Waal that was stopped for a loss.
Air Force took advantage of the short field and got to Wyoming’s 3 yard line. With the Cowboys unable to stop Air Force in short yardage situations all game, the Falcons decided to kick the field goal and increase their score 27-14 with 8:44 remaining in the game. Taking the field goal instead of scoring the touchdown gave Wyoming a slight opening to get back into the game.
Vander Waal led the Pokes down the field and punched it in from 5 yards out on a QB keeper to put the score at 27-21 with 4:06 left. The Cowboys chose to kick the ball deep on the kickoff and the Wyoming defense forced their first 3 and out of the day.
The offense got the ball back with 2:56 remaining. A circus 4th down scramble and toss to Xazavian Valladay kept the drive alive before Vander Waal connected with Austin Conway on 22 yard pass that looked similar to the Steve Young to Terrell Owens touchdown for the 49ers in the 1999 NFC Wild Card against Green Bay. Conway held onto the ball through a hit that was called for targeting and ejected a Falcons defender.
With 1:06 left, Air Force was down 28-27 and needed another score to win the game. On the Falcons first play of the drive QB Daryl Hammond III was picked off by LB Logan Wilson.
With Air Force still owning 2 timeouts, Wyoming couldn’t run the clock out with a knee. On the second play of the drive, Valladay broke through the line and ran in for the score from 27 yards out to put the Pokes up 35-27.
Wyoming was called for holding on the touchdown run but Falcons coach Troy Calhoun was forced to decline the penalty because the Cowboys could have run out the clock had he accepted. Senior Andrew Wingard intercepted Hammond’s 2nd pass of the final drive and sealed the win for the Pokes.
Wyoming (5-6) has a must win game in Albuquerque next Saturday against the New Mexico Lobos (3-8) to gain bowl eligibility. With the loss, Air Force (4-7) returns to Colorado Springs to play Colorado State for the Ram-Falcon Trophy on Thanksgiving day.