September 3, 2023 — What started ugly turned beautiful at the end as the Wyoming Cowboys came back from a mistake-prone 17-0 first-quarter deficit to upset nationally ranked Texas Tech 35-33 Saturday night in Laramie. Texas Tech went into the game ranked #24 in the latest Coaches Poll and has hopes of winning the Big 12 Conference.
“That’s a cowboy-tough win,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said postgame. “I think our maturity showed because we did not start fast. Every checkpoint I talked about in the pregame meal about what we needed to do, it’s 17-0, and I thought, “Did these guys even listen to that?” There was certainly an amount of frustration, but the players worked through those mistakes, and good things started to happen.”
The Cowboys scored their winning touchdown in the second overtime on a fourth and seven from the Texas Tech 11-yard line. Cowboy quarterback Andrew Peasley found tight end John Gyllenborg across the middle for the touchdown to tie the game at 33-33. The Cowboy defense had already denied Texas Tech on their required two-point conversion try in the second overtime. The Cowboys then turned to sophomore running back Sam Scott, who burst through the line and into the end zone to give the Cowboys the victory.
It was the first win for the Pokes over a Top 25 team since the 2016 season, a 34-33 win over #19 San Diego State. It also stopped a 12-game losing streak to Big 12 Conference teams.
Things did not look good for the Cowboys in the beginning. After Texas Tech scored a touchdown just 1:26 into the contest, Wyoming would fumble the ball back to the Red Raiders on their first possession. Tech would turn the mistake into another touchdown just 42 seconds later for a 14-0 lead.
It didn’t get better for the Poke’s offense, who would respond with a three and out on their next series and then fumble the ball away on its four position. The UW defense would hold Texas Tech to just a field goal after the fumble, but the score was 17-0 with 4:02 to go in the first quarter.
Wyoming’s offense finally showed some life on its next possession but still had to rely on a career-best 56-yard field goal from John Hoyland to get points on the board just six seconds into the second quarter. The score sparked the team, with the UW defense intercepting a Red Raider pass that eventually turned into a Cowboy touchdown on a Preasley to Caleb Driskill 4-yard pass. It was only the second pass reception in the Gillette, Wyoming native’s career. Momentum was now wearing brown and gold. What had earlier appeared to be a Texas Tech blowout was now a 17-10 game, which would be the halftime score.
In the third quarter, Wyoming would tie the game 17-17 on a 16-yard run by Sam Scott with just under six minutes on the game clock.
The Poke’s defense would continue to hold, and the Cowboys took their first lead of the game, 20-17, on another Hoyland field goal. This one from 31 yards.
With just 41 seconds to play, Texas Tech would tie the contest at 20-20 thanks to Gino Garcia’s 27-yard field goal. Garcia had missed badly earlier in the second half and had another field-goal attempt blocked.
In the first overtime, Texas Tech elected to go on defense first. The Cowboys would score on their first possession on a Peasley five-yard run. But the Red Raiders would respond with a Tahj Books six-yard TD run.
Texas Tech would start with the ball in the second overtime, which turned into a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Shough to Jerand Bradley. Overtime rules state that a team scoring a touchdown must attempt a two-conversion in the second overtime, which Texas Tech would fail to convert, setting up the Cowboys winning touchdown/successful two-point conversion heroics.
Some Cowboy stats for the game:
Quarterback Andrew Peasley completed 18 of 34 passes for 149 yards and two touchdown passes. He also UW’s leading rusher with 68 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.
Running back Sam Scott rushed for 44 yards on seven carries with one rushing touchdown. He also caught three passes for seven yards.
Tight end John Michael Gyllenborg led the receivers with five catches for 37 yards and one touchdown.
Linebacker Shae Suianunoa led the Poke’s defense with 12 tackles.
Wyoming will stay at home hosting Portland State this Saturday at 2 p.m. The Vikings were crushed by Oregon 81-7 on Saturday.