Wyoming Avoids Upset, Winning 19-16 vs. Montana State

Wyoming Avoids Upset, Winning 19-16 vs. Montana State

Mountain West Football

Wyoming Avoids Upset, Winning 19-16 vs. Montana State

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Wyoming Avoids Upset, Winning 19-16 vs. Montana State


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Cowboys survive the week, narrowly avoiding the upset

The 2021 campaign started with a victory for the Wyoming Cowboys, as they narrowly escaped being the third Mountain West team to be upset by an FCS team this week.

Sean Chambers led the offense, which had been ineffective for most of the game, down the field to score the deciding touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game. Chambers had a career day as a passer, going 15/26 for 196 yards (new career-high), 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Wyoming needed every yard from Chambers to pull out the win. At the end of the day, a win is a win, and the score doesn’t matter at 19-16.

Post-Game Notes | Final Stats

With all that being said, let’s look at three ups and three downs for the Cowboys:

UP: LB Chad Muma

My biggest takeaway from this game is that Chad Muma is dang good at football. What can you say about Chad Muma that hasn’t already been said? He is currently the heart and soul of the Cowboy defense; I can’t think of one series in this game where he didn’t have a big play. Muma finished the day with 11 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 blocked field goal. Muma made his presence felt early and often throughout this game. His lone sack of the game came on a 4th and 4 that forced Montana State off of the field. Muma was always around the ball, continually making big plays when the Cowboys needed them.

DOWN: RB Xazavian Valladay

Valladay had a very quiet first half, finishing the half with 23 yards on 6 carries. He was better in the second half, with 12 carries for an additional 52 yards and punched the ball in once for a touchdown. Valladay is the engine that makes the Cowboy offense go, and the Cowboy offense didn’t get going until he did in the second half. The Cowboys need to find more ways to get Valladay involved, because as he goes the whole offense goes.

Up: P Ralph Fawaz

Punter has been a big question mark for the Cowboys the past couple years, but Freshman Ralph Fawaz had a great game punting the ball. Fawaz had 6 punts on the day and 5 of them pinned Montana State inside the 20 yard line, including a punt that was downed inside the 1 yard line. Fawaz kept Wyoming in this game by making it hard for Montana State. With the offense sputtering like it was for most of the game, having a solid reliable punter was a must.

DOWN: Wyoming Secondary as a unit

Other than CJ Coldon and Braden Smith, the Wyoming Secondary was uninspiring all day long. It felt like for most of the game Montana State could pass the ball at will and get the yards that they needed, with little resistance from the Wyoming Secondary. Coldon played well, coming up with big pass break ups on several occasions, as well as totaling 7 tackles on the day. The secondary needs to improve before the Cowboys get into the Mountain West season, or it will be a very long year.

DOWN: Sean Chambers

Sean Chambers’ return has been much anticipated and brought many big expectations for this Wyoming Team, and while he had a career day in passing yards, he never looked great until the last Wyoming drive of the game. Throughout the day, Chambers struggled to find a rhythm in the passing game, and seemed more hesitant in the rushing game than he has in the past. Many of his passes were off target, with several being thrown behind the intended receiver, along with some bad over-throws and a bad underthrow. The pass that may have stung the most came during the 3rd quarter, when Sean badly overthrew a wide-open receiver streaking down the sideline, which should have resulted in a walk-in score.

UP: Sean Chambers

Alright, hear me out. Sean Chambers didn’t look the greatest until the very last drive for the Cowboy offense. But Sean Chambers has proven he can show up in the big moments, and today was no exception. With the Cowboys down 4 points with a little more than 2 minutes left in the game, Sean Chambers quickly and efficiently lead the Cowboys down the field to score the game-winning touchdown. Chambers is now (10-3) as the Cowboys starter, and if nothing else, he knows how to win games.

Final Thoughts

This was a tough game for the Cowboys, but in the end the Brown and Gold pulled it out. A win is a win, and Wyoming avoided being the third Mountain west team to lose to an FCS opponent in week 1. It’s a long season, and the Cowboys are in the win category, that’s all that matters.

This upcoming week, the Cowboys travel to Northern Illinois to take on the Huskies, who are coming off their own last-minute win at Georgia Tech. Wyoming will need to improve in all aspects of the game to avoid a road burn in week two.


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