Wyoming Cowboys Win 2nd-Straight with 28-23 Win Over New Mexico
Kari Eakins, Townsquare Media
The Wyoming Cowboys notched back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a 28-23 win over New Mexico on Saturday. Brett Smith passed for a career-best 374 yards and threw four touchdowns to get the Pokes their first win in Albuquerque since 2006.
The Pokes exploded with 21 points on three consecutive drives to take a 21-7 lead over the Lobos in the second quarter. New Mexico then botched two scoring opportunities, missing a 34-yd field goal just before halftime and fumbling the ball on the Wyoming 13 on their first possession of the second half. The miscues kept Wyoming out front, but the Lobos crept within 21-17 on a 20-yd field goal with 39 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Smith solidified UW’s lead by hitting Jalen Claiborne with a 19-yd touchdown pass on Wyoming’s next drive. New Mexico kept it close by rushing into the end zone with 8:59 left in the game, but Ghaali Muhammad came up with a big stop to foil their two-point conversion, leaving the Cowboys with a 28-23 lead. The Lobos got the ball back with 1:40 remaining, but the Pokes defense forced New Mexico to turn the ball over on downs, securing the victory.
UW finished with 429 total yards of offense, of which only 55 came on the ground. Smith accumulated 396 yards of offense to move in to the No. 7 spot in Wyoming career offense list. He now has 5,724 yards in just 21 career games. Junior wide receiver Robert Herron scored on an 81-yd catch-and-run , his second of the season that went for 8-plus yards. Herron and sophomore receiver Dominic Rufran caught TD passes for the second-straight week. Rufran finished with a career high 116 yards receiving.
Four Cowboys finished with double-figure tackles. Muhammad, Chad Reese and Eddie Yarbrough tallied 11 tackles each while Mike Purcell notched 10. Siaosi Hala’api’api recovered his first career fumble and finished with 7 tackles.
New Mexico outgained Wyoming with 551 total yards of offense from 396 yards rushing and 155 yards passing. They also kept the pressure on Smith, sacking him three times. Where they faltered was in the red zone, where they only scored on 3-of-5 opportunities, and third down conversions, going 5-of-13.
Wyoming’s next game will be at UNLV on Saturday, November 17th at 2 p.m. Coverage will begin on KOWB at 1 p.m.