Laramie, Wyo – It was a key conference opener for both the Wyoming Cowboys and Hawaiâ€™i Rainbow Warriors and both teams gave gutsy performances before the Cowboys prevailed in the first overtime to capture a 28-21 home win.Â Wyoming improved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the Mountain West Conference.Â Hawaiâ€™i is now 2-2, 0-1 in the MW.
A 25-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Josh Allen to junior wide receiver James Price on the first play of overtime gave the Cowboys the lead at 28-21.Â Price was playing in his first game this season, after suffering a broken collarbone early in fall camp.
Hawaiâ€™i, which had won the coin toss in overtime and chose to go on defense first, was then faced with having to score a TD to extend the game.Â Hawaiâ€™i senior running back Diocemy Saint Juste gained 10 yards on a first down rush down to the 15-yard line.Â On second down, UH quarterback Dru Brown attempted a pass that was tipped by Wyoming redshirt freshman defensive end Garrett Crall and intercepted by sophomore linebacker Cassh Maluia to give the Cowboys the victory.
It was the second straight year and the third time in the four years of the Craig Bohl era at Wyoming that Wyoming won its conference opener.
All three facets of the Cowboy attack contributed to the win, including special teams.Â Sophomore cornerback Tyler Hall ran back a kickoff 97 yards to tie the game at 14-14 late in the third quarter.Â HallÂ returned that kick right after he was called for a roughing the kicker penalty on a Hawaiâ€™i field-goal attempt That penalty gave the Rainbow Warriors an automatic first down at the Wyoming five-yard line and led to a Saint Juste TD run on the next play to put Hawaiâ€™i up 14-7.Â Hall tied the game with his kick return, marking the first time UW had returned a kickoff for a touchdown since former Cowboy great Devin Moore returned a kickoff 98 yards for a TD against Colorado State in 2007.
True freshman Woods recorded the first 100-yard rushing game of his career, running for 135 yards on 15 carries, including his first career touchdown in the first quarter on a 34-yard dash to give UW a 7-0 lead.Â He later broke off a 59-yard scamper in the fourth quarter to set up a three-yard TD run three plays later by sophomore wide receiver Austin Conway.
Wyoming will play its final non-conference game of the 2017 regular season next Saturday, hosting Texas State in a game that will kick off at 2:00 p.m. Â Hawaiâ€™i will return home to Honolulu to host Colorado State next Saturday.