Wyoming Cowboys Not Enough to Take Down Illinois

A 38-6 loss for Wyoming leaves many questions regarding team and offense

Transfer quarterback Andrew Peasley stiff arms an Illinois player, Jartavius Martin, on a 37-yard rush. The Wyoming Cowboys scored a field goal following this but fall to Illinois 38-6. (Courtesy photo from University of Wyoming Athletics)

By Kaycee Clark-Mellott

Special to the Wyoming Truth

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.- The Wyoming Cowboys dropped their first game of the 2022 season to the Illinois Fighting Illini, 38-6, on Saturday. The Pokes struggled throughout the entire game, not getting much on offense, and an exhausted defense couldn’t stop the Illini.  

Wyoming’s offense couldn’t stay on the field, converting only one of 12 third downs and only getting the one in the fourth quarter. Comparatively, Illinois converted seven for 16 on third down.  

The game began on a 43-yard kickoff return by Peyton Vining to start Illinois at midfield. Two plays later, Illinois took the lead 7-0 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Tommy DeVito to running back Chase Brown.

Aug 27, 2022; Champaign, IL, USA; Wyoming Cowboys running back Titus Swen (2) runs against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-UW Media-Athletics

A couple of drives later, Wyoming responded with a field goal after a 37-yard rush by quarterback Andrew Peasley, who was named the starter just hours before the game, to trail 7-3.

The second quarter saw Illinois put up another touchdown and field goal to lead the Pokes by 14 heading into halftime. By this time, Wyoming had 104 rushing yards but only 14 passing yards on 10 attempts by Peasley.

Out of halftime, Wyoming received the ball and came out firing. Looking like a completely new offense, 38 of the 47 yards came from running back Titus Swen. Driving all the way to the Illinois 28-yard line, the Pokes stalled and kicked another field goal, making it 17-6. 

That concluded Wyoming’s scoring for the day. Illinois continued to run the ball, controlling the clock and preventing Wyoming from entering Illinois’ side of the field again. Illinois scored even after sending in their backups.

The Cowboys didn’t get out of the game unscathed, as running back Swen went down in the fourth quarter with an apparent rib injury and did not return to the field.  Swen led the team with 98 rushing yards; no other player eclipsed 80 all-purpose yards.

The Cowboys’ passing game was nonexistent, as Peasley only completed five of 20 passes for a total of 30 yards and an interception. Two other incompletions were near picks by the Illini defense. 

On the defensive side, the team could only handle so much. While holding the Illini to three scores in the first half, many of the players showed exhaustion later in the game. Between most plays, many stood with their hands on their hips and breathed heavily. 

The defense registered four tackles for loss, but no sacks and lost the turnover battle with none coming from the Cowboy defense.

Wyoming looks to move on with its home opener against the University of Tulsa on Sept. 3rd  in Laramie, Wyo. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

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