Offense Rallies for a 92-60 Win in Wyoming Cowboy Spring Game
After a slow start, the offense came on late in the second quarter and then controlled the second half for a 92-60 win over the defense in the Wyoming Cowboys Spring Game Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. It was the finale of the 15 practices the Cowboys are permitted in the spring, which began March 26th.
Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen said, "I think there were a lot of good things on both sides of the football. Pleased the way our 1-defense played. Except for one series in there, I think they were mostly three-and-outs. One-offense started a little bit slow, then got going, which was good to see."
The defense came out strong and held a 21-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. They got an interception from freshman linebacker Lucas Wacha on the first possession of the game. After a pass break-up to end the second series, the defense forced three consecutive three-and-outs, highlighted by a junior defensive end Sonny Puletasi sack.
The offense finally scored in the third possession of the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Jason Thompson hit junior wide receiver Jalen Claiborne on a 6-yard t-d strike. Thompson put the offense in scoring position with a 53-yard scramble.
The defense struck back with senior corner Marqueston Huff's 54-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 42-30 edge in the scrimmage.
Huff said, "I was reading quick game. I saw the quarterback do a quick 3-step drop, then I transitioned to the receiver, and I saw him run a hitch, and I just broke (on the ball). When I got there, the ball was there, so after that it was just trying to get to the end zone."
Junior quarterback Brett Smith got the offense back on track with a 2-play, 65-yard drive that culminated in a 36-yard t-d pass to senior wide receiver Robert Herron. Still, the defense held a slim 47-46 lead at halftime.
Smith said the two-minute drill at the end of the half got them going, "When you put the title onto it (2-minute), it kind of kicks everybody into gear, because obviously you're trying to put points on the board in limited time. Yeah, everybody was getting on the ball and doing a good job, and obviously we scored and had success when we did it."
Smith put the offense in front to start the second half with a 26-yard scoring pass to Herron on the offenses' first series of the third quarter. Thompson added a 41-yard scoring pass to junior receiver Mitch Berger, and the offense held a 68-52 lead at the end of the third.
Smith connected with Claiborne on a 57-yard t-d pass in the fourth quarter, while senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard hooked up with red-shirt freshman wide out Eric Nzeocha for a 23-yard scoring pass. Despite a blocked field goal by freshman defensive lineman James Diamanti on the final possession, the offense had prevailed, 92-60.
The offense ended up with 559 total yards and seven touchdowns. They threw for six scores and ran for another.
Smith was 9-13 for 168 yards and three t-d passes, while Thompson went 13-17 for 155 yards and two scores. Thompson was also the leading ground gainer with 64 yards rushing on five attempts. Kirkegaard threw for 105 yards and the one score, but was also picked off twice.
Herron led the receivers with four catches for 116 yards and the 2 t-d's. Claiborne added 100 yards on five receptions and two scores. Senior running back Tedder Easton had the lone score on the ground for the offense.
The defense was led by Wacha, who had eight total tackles and a pass break-up, in addition to his interception. Huff added six tackles and the INT. Overall, the defense finished with the two picks, nine tackles for loss, which included four sacks, and two pass break-ups.
It wasn't all business on Saturday, as the team had some fun competitions mixed into the Spring Game. They included a 3-on-3 short yardage session at the start, a punt catching competition featuring lineman and coaches and a dance competition.
Wyoming will now focus on a strong finish to the current academic semester. They will return on June 3 for summer training and conditioning, and then have nine days off before fall camp begins in early August.