Possible Cowboy win/title intercepted by Boise State

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University of Wyoming photo by Troy Babbitt

November 20, 2022 — What appeared to be another come-from-behind win for the Wyoming Cowboys quickly dissolved into heartbreak Saturday night in Laramie as Boise State defeated the Pokes 20-17. The win clinched the Mountain West Mountain Division title for the Broncos (7-0 in the MW and 8-3 overall). The loss snapped the Cowboys’ four-game winning streak and dropped their conference mark to 5-2 and 7-4 overall.

Wyoming entered the fourth quarter holding a 17-13 lead. But midway through the fourth quarter, Boise State quarterback Taylen Green connected with wide receiver Billy Bowens from 38 yards out to put the Broncos back in front 20-17 with 7:20 on the clock.

Wyoming’s offense had two possessions after Boise State regained the lead, but wasn’t able to convert either into a score. It appeared that the Pokes had run out of opportunities as Boise State took possession with 1:48 remaining in the game and drove down to the Wyoming 39-yard line. On a run up the middle play by Bronco running back George Holani, Cowboy nose tackle Gavin Meyer knocked the ball loose, and UW defensive end DeVonne Harris picked up the ball and returned the fumble 44 yards down to the Boise State 21-yard line with 45 seconds left on the clock.

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On first down, the Cowboys took a shot to win the game with quarterback Jayden Clemons attempting to hit Joshua Cobbs on a scoring pass in the back of the end zone, but Bronco safety JL Skinner intercepted the pass giving Boise State the win, and the division title.

After the game, Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl explained the decision to take one shot at the win. “I told Tim Polaske, (Wyoming offensive coordinator) let’s take one shot to score a touchdown,” said Bohl. “I want to be clear on this. I gave the green light on that play. Was it executed the way we hoped it would be — no obviously not. But I gave Tim the light to take one shot to score a touchdown, and if we didn’t have it then we’ll try and kick a field goal. That was the logic.”

The intercepted pass was the third of the game for Clemons, who completed just three of 16 attempts in the contest.

“I’m disappointed for Jayden (Clemons). I’m going to love him up. He’s hurting. If you want to be critical, be critical of me, don’t be critical of him.” 

Clemons got the start for Wyoming with regular starter Andrew Peasley unavailable due to concussion protocols. Peasley may be available for next Saturday’s final regular season game at Fresno State. “We think he will be available,” said Bohl. “He started the concussion protocol this week and had progressed to the point where he was cleared for some activities.”

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Outstanding night for Swen

In Saturday’s loss, Cowboy running back Titus Swen had a career-best night with 212 rushing yards, including his 83-yard TD run near the end of the third quarter that gave Wyoming a 17-13. The junior averaged 11.2 yards per carry on 19 carries. Wyoming’s first touchdown of the contest also came via the run with Wyatt Wieland scoring for two yards out.

In total, Wyoming ran the ball for 278 yards against a Bosie State defense that was rated one of the tops in the nation.

Boise State’s running game was also in high gear, accumulating 269 yards. While Wyoming threw for only 30 yards passing, the Broncos totaled 211 passing yards in the game.

“A lot of ups and downs in this ball game. I’m proud of our players — how hard they played,” said Bohl. “They went out and competed. Hats off to Boise State. They are an excellent football team, and they’re well coached.”

What’s next

Wyoming will now travel next Saturday to Mountain West West Division-leading Fresno State (6-1 in the MW, 7-4 overall). Late Saturday night, the Bulldogs defeated Nevada 41-14. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.