Three stars of the game: Pokes vs. Cougars
PROVO, Utah -- The oddsmakers said the Cowboys would get embarrassed Saturday night inside LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Vegas had the visitors falling by at least three touchdowns. It's easy to see why, too.
BYU, as always, features a veteran lineup filled with large human beings. Wyoming, on the other hand, is the proud owner of the third-youngest roster in the nation. The three-game winning streak the Cowboys entered Provo with would surely come to a crashing halt, right?
Well, it did. Just not the crashing part.
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Andrew Peasley and Co. moved the ball with ease early on thanks to a dominating performance from the front five. Titus Swen and Dawaiian McNeely were up to their old tricks, chewing up chunks of yardage on the ground. The Cowboys briefly held a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
In the end though, Jaren Hall made all the difference.
BYU's junior signal caller threw for 337 yards and connected on four touchdown passes to lead the No. 19 Cougars to a 38-24 victory. He completed 26-of-32 throws. He was deadly on third down.
Despite the setback, there were plenty of standout performances from the Cowboys. Here are just a few that caught my attention:
1st star: Jordan Bertagnole - Defensive tackle
"Jordan Bertagnole was exceptional."
Those were Craig Bohl's words during his Monday press conference in Laramie. And he's right.
The sophomore defensive tackle from Casper tallied seven tackles, tied with Cole Godbout and Isaac White, for the team high Saturday night in Provo. Five of those were solo stops and he was also credited with a hit on BYU quarterback Jaren Hall.
If it wasn't for a 70-yard fourth-quarter jaunt from running back Miles Davis, the Cowboys' front, led by Bertagnole, stuffed the Cougars' rushing attack throughout the night. Take away that run and the home team finished with just 118 yards on 29 carries. That's an average of just over four yards per attempt.
The 6-foot-4, 283-pound former walk-on now has 22 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble through five games.
2nd star: Wyatt Wieland - Wide receiver
Wyatt Wieland was tasked with an expanded role in Provo. Not only was he asked to run routes and snag passes, the junior stepped in for an injured Caleb Cooley and returned punts.
That's not all.
The Colorado Springs product also rushed the ball three times, including waltzing into the end zone from four yards out on a jet sweep to give the Cowboys a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. It was his first-career touchdown.
Bohl and Co. will have to rely on Wieland even more this Saturday with San Jose State coming to town. UW's head coach announced Monday that fellow wideout Will Pelissier is dealing with a shoulder injury and is listed as day to day.
"That's really important," Bohl said of Wieland stepping up. "It's good that we've got him."
Wieland, like Bertagnole, is a former walk-on at Wyoming. He now has 133 receiving yards on his resume on just 11 grabs this fall. He caught two passes against the Cougars, including a 19-yard hookup with quarterback Andrew Peasley on a 3rd-and-7 early in the second frame.
3rd star: Braden Siders - Defensive end
This redshirt freshman makes his second straight appearance on this list after racking up four tackles, two tackles for loss and half a sack Saturday night inside LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Braden Siders, who took his first-career snap in the season opener at Illinois, has 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks to his name through five games this fall.
Bohl said Siders was "nicked up" against the Cougars. Still, he was a regular in the BYU backfield.
"Totally, it is," the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Colorado native said when asked if his confidence is growing with every game. "I'm trying to get better each week. That's the goal."
Siders has come a long way since his first season on campus back in 2020. That, of course, was the COVID-19 season, in which UW played just six games. Siders, like the rest of the true freshmen that fall, were forced to quarantine for weeks. To make matters even worse, he suffered a torn ACL.
"I feel like I wasn't even here that first year," he said.
Now, he is. And he's making plays.