Wyoming Cowboys Become Bowl Eligible After 27-20 Victory in Hawaii

UW defeats the Rainbow Warriors to claim the Paniolo Trophy and head into final bye week with 6-3 record

Oluwaseyi Omotosho (44) tackles Hawaii quarterback Brayden Schager. Omotosho finished the day with three tackles to help the Wyoming defense hold off the Rainbow Warriors in a 27-20 victory. (Courtesy photo from University of Wyoming Athletics)

By Kaycee Clark-Mellott

Special to the Wyoming Truth

HONOLULU—Thanks to a dominate second half, the Wyoming Cowboys defeated the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 27-20 on Saturday in the team’s first win on the islands since 1997. With this victory—the Pokes’ sixth of the season—UW is now bowl-eligible for the postseason.

The Cowboys ran the ball extremely well despite losing star back Titus Swen, who entered the concussion protocol in the second quarter. Led by D.Q. James, the team rushed for 365-yards with James accounting for 179 of them. Dawaiian McNeely added 81 yards and a touchdown on just four carries. Quarterback Andrew Peasley also carried the ball for 71 yards on scrambles and designed runs and scored two touchdowns.

Wyoming looked flat at the start of the game. After a 22-yard touchdown off a screen play for Dedrick Parson of Hawaii, the tropical weather rolled in. What began as a light mist and sprinkle turned into a downpour for most of the first quarter.

D.Q. James took control of the Wyoming rush attack with 179 yards on the ground, including a long run of 74, which positioned Wyoming to surge ahead in the second half in its game against the University of Hawaii on Saturday. (Courtesy photo from University of Wyoming Athletics)

While the rain cleared off in the second quarter, the Rainbow Warriors added a field goal, to go up by 10 points. Wyoming quickly answered in four plays with an Andrew Peasley 35-yard rushing touchdown to bring the game within three.

With about five minutes left in the quarter, James ripped off a 74-yard run from Wyoming’s two-yard line taking the ball deep into Hawaii territory where he was run out of bounds. This set up a John Hoyland field goal to tie the game at 10-10 going into halftime.

The second half would open with an energized Cowboy team going on an 11 play, seven-and-a-half-minute drive resulting in a field goal to take the lead, 13-10. Hawaii responded with a five-and-a-half-minute drive of its own ending in a field goal to tie the game again 13-13. 

At the start of the fourth quarter, McNeely rushed for 61-yards and scored a touchdown, bringing the score to 20-13. With only four minutes left in the game, Peasley ran for his second touchdown from four yards out, putting Wyoming ahead 27-13.

Hawaii drove down the field in two-and-a-half-minutes to score a touchdown and close the gap to seven points. With less than two minutes left, the Rainbow Warriors were forced to go for an onside kick, but muffed it. Wyoming recovered the ball to seal the victory, 27-20.

While it was an impressive rushing day for the Pokes, the team’s passing appeared lackluster. Peasley threw for only 76 yards on seven completions with two interceptions in the first half, which put the team in poor situations defensively. 

The defense stood out in stopping the Hawaii team from capitalizing on Wyoming’s mistakes. Shae Suiaunoa led the team with eight total tackles, while DeVonne Harris finished with three tackles-for-loss. Defensive back Cam Stone had three pass breakups and several big plays to prevent deep completions.

Wyoming struggled on third down, converting on just four of 11 attempts, and finished with 19 first downs for the game compared to 22 for Hawaii. 

The Cowboys have now claimed their second trophy of the year, the Paniolo Trophy, after winning Bridger’s Rifle last weekend. Following a bye week, Wyoming will face Colorado State University and seek its third victory in trophy games to keep the Bronze Boot in Laramie.

The Border War game against CSU will take place on Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. MST in Fort Collins, Colo. Television coverage will be on CBS Sports Network and statewide radio coverage will be on the Cowboy Sports Network.

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