Wyoming Cowboys Upset Air Force, 17 -14

The Cowboys beat the Falcons for the first time since 2018 in Laramie Friday night, elated students storm the field

Wyoming Cowboys linebacker Cole DeMarzo dives to tackle Air Force Falcons running back John Lee Eldridge III behind the line of scrimmage. Air Force had led the NCAA in rushing yards per game with an average of 508.5 yards, but Wyoming held the team to only 171 yards rushing on Friday. (Courtesy photo from University of Wyoming Athletics)

By Kaycee Clark-Mellott

Special to the Wyoming Truth

LARAMIE, Wyo.—As 16.5-point underdogs, the Wyoming Cowboys weren’t expected to have a shot at beating the Air Force Falcons. But in the low-scoring battle, the Pokes came out on top 17-14.

The Cowboys broke out to a 10-0 lead in the first half, holding Air Force to only 47 total rushing yards—well below the Falcons’ NCAA-leading average of 508.5 rushing yards per game.

Sept 16, 2022; Laramie, WY, USA; Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Andrew Peasley (6) against the Air Force Falcons at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-UW Media-Athletics

Wyoming outgained Air Force by nearly 100 yards at halftime, with Air Force only totaling 87 yards. The Wyoming run defense shut down much of the Falcon’s offense that scored 41 points against the Colorado Buffaloes last weekend.

Neither team dominated the time of possession. Wyoming held the advantage by 20 seconds and held the ball for 15 minutes and 10 seconds; Air Force controlled it for 14 minutes and 50 seconds.

The second half brought more of an offensive showing for the Falcons, as they began the third quarter with a 13-play drive that took half of the quarter and resulted in a touchdown, making it 10-7.  

Air Force then took a 14-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter on a 41-yard touchdown pass to Cade Harris from Haaziq Daniels.

Undaunted, the Cowboys responded on the next drive and reclaimed the lead, 17-14, after an 8-play, 75-yard drive down that ended with a Titus Swen 5-yard touchdown.

Air Force took the field with six minutes left in the game only trailing by three. After a 19-yard run by John Lee Eldridge III to begin the drive, the Cowboys shut down the rest of the drive and force the Falcons to punt. From there, the Pokes retained possession of the ball and ran out the clock for the 17-14 win.  

In what many consider to be a rivalry game, the young Wyoming team displayed confidence against a team that was projected to finish second in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference.

The Cowboys accumulated five tackles for loss, which helped stymie the Falcons’ vaunted rushing attack. These included one each by defensive end Cole Godbout, linebacker Easton Gibbs, defensive linemen Shae Suiaunoa and DeVonne Harris and a shared one by Read Sunn and Cole DeMarzo.

Godbout also had nine total tackles on the day with two quarterback hurries.

Quarterback Andrew Peasley turned in another solid game, completing 18 of his 23 passes for 162 yards and a 14-yard touchdown to tight end Treyton Welch. He threw an interception in the first half as well. 

The stars of the Wyoming offense came from the rushing attack, with Swen carrying the ball 19 times for 102 yards and the game-sealing touchdown, Dawaiian McNeely with 42 yards and Peasley with 36 on the ground. 

Air Force attacked with their own ground game, as running back Eldridge III rushed for 104 yards and running back Brad Roberts added 54 yards—again well short of the team’s NCAA-leading average. The scoring for the Falcons came through the air,  with two passing touchdowns from Daniels on his seven of 14 throws.

In what seemed like an upset victory, the student section cleared out as the clock hit zero and fans rushed the field, mobbing each other in celebration.

“[The win] sends a message that we’re not going to be out of the games, keep your belief in the system, keep playing hard, to lean on one another, to stay positive and have resiliency,” head coach Craig Bohl said in his postgame press conference.  “I think it is great.”

The Cowboys will travel to Provo, Utah to take on No. 12 Brigham Young University on Sept. 24. Kickoff slated for 8:15 p.m. MT, and the game will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2.

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