Washington State broke open tight game in final stanza to top Pokes; Evans sidelined with injury

The Wyoming Cowboys held a 16-13 lead at halftime and extended that lead to 19-13 on its first possession of the second half.  But the Cowboys were unable to score any points thereafter, while the Washington State Cougars scored a touchdown in the third and three TDs in the fourth to capture a 41-19 win over the Cowboys in Laramie. Wyoming’s record fell to 1-1 on the season, Washington State is now 1-0.

      Forcing turnovers, converting those turnovers into points and making a big play on special teams put the Cowboys in a position to win its home opener.  Entering the fourth quarter, the game was a one-point game with Washington State holding a slim 20-19 lead.  But an inability to put any pressure on WSU’s quarterback throughout the game and a lack of offensive production for the Pokes in the fourth quarter combined with Washington State’s offensive effectiveness in the fourth quarter resulted in UW’s first loss of the season.

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      “They (Washington State) played well and have a good football team,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl.  “We were going to need to play well.  There were too many opportunities this afternoon that we needed to make plays on, but we didn’t capitalize

      “Washington State has some phenomenal wide receivers, and they taxed our back end.  But not having our defensive front create any pressure also contributed to the success of their passing game.

     “Offensively, it was going to be imperative that we run the ball,” said Bohl.  “We got close to breaking some open. In the third quarter, we had a chance to make a big move, but we only got a field goal when we needed a touchdown.

      “I think they beat us in all three phases of the game, offensively, defensively and in the kicking game,” said Bohl.  “They are a good football team, but I believe we can be a good football team too.”

     Wyoming’s leading rusher, Nico Evans, left the game at the start of the second half with what Bohl said was a rib injury. He had carried 18 times for 89 yards up to that point. He did not return and the offense sputtered.

      Next Saturday, the Cowboys will travel to Columbia, Mo., to face the Missouri Tigers in a game scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m., Mountain Time.  The game will be televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU.  The final television network selection will be announced by ESPN Networks early this coming week.

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