Pokes outlast Falcons in the Springs

The Wyoming Cowboys need an extra win this year to get bowl eligible due to having two FCS teams on the schedule. With that in mind it meant that the Pokes had to pull off a couple of wins this year that they’ve had a hard time doing in the past. They passed their first test two weeks ago by defeating San Diego State on the road. This week they were looking to snap a 5 game losing streak to the Air Force Falcons. Games between the Cowboys and Falcons are usually a pretty competitive contest with some close scores and this year would prove no different in Colorado Springs.

The game started with wind blowing in the 30mph range and had gusts of more than 40mph. The goal posts at Falcon Stadium were swaying back and forth, making kicking conditions impossible. The Cowboys started the game red-hot as Brett Smith led the charge down field on a 14 play, 80 yard drive that covered more than 6 minutes when Smith punched the ball into the endzone from a yard out. The PAT missed as the wind managed to take the ball and sling it wide right of the goal post. AFA responded at the end of the first quarter as fullback Mike DeWitt took it in from 9 yards out. The teams played a lot of back and forth football but the Pokes punched in another TD right before halftime, a touchdown pass from Smith to Chris McNeill from 6 yards out. McNeill would later suffer a shoulder injury that would end the season for him. Two point conversion failed.

AFA look the lead late in the 3rd quarter when Mike DeWitt scored his second touchdown of the day, AFA was up 17-12. The Pokes responded in the 4th quarter when Brett Smith took in his second touchdown run of the game. Smith’s two point conversion pass was intercepted. Up 18-17 the Cowboys were clinging to their lead. AFA threatened to score late in the game to take the lead but the Cowboy defense game up HUGE once again late in the game as Ben Durbin stripped AFA of the ball and Mike Purcell recovered. This ended a Falcons scoring threat. The Pokes got another huge turnover when AFA bobbled a hook and ladder attempt and Marqueston Huff returned it 48 yards for a touchdown to seal the Cowboy victory. Huff caused one more turnover to end the game by intercepting a Connor Dietz pass.

The Cowboys pulled off the victory 25-17 in the Springs, the first time the Pokes have beaten the Falcons since 2005. The Cowboys are now sitting at six wins, one short of becoming bowl eligible. They will need one more win in their next three games to get to a bowl game against either New Mexico, Boise State, or the Rams in Fort Collins. Brett Smith led the Pokes in rushing with 86 yards, followed by Alvester Alexander with 84, and newcomer Kody Sutton, who saw his redshirt disappear this weekend, with 56. Smith also had 139 yards passing. The Pokes were led on defense by Gabe Knapton with 12 tackles, then Luke Ruff with 11. Josh Biezuns, our player of the week, had 10 tackles, 5 solo, 1.5 TFL and a forced fumble. The Pokes defense came up huge in the 4th quarter, keeping the Falcons out of the endzone to seal it. The Pokes will play on Saturday at noon in War Memorial Stadium against the 1-9 New Mexico Lobos, who got their first win of the season this past weekend by defeating the UNLV Rebels. New Mexico, who has struggled a ton this season, fired coach Mike Locksley mid-season due to poor performance and a recruit getting picked up for a DUI in his SUV.

In other Poke news, the Cowgirl soccer team fell just short of clinching the MW championship, falling to New Mexico in the title game. Cowboy hoops got back under way under new coach Larry Shyatt and they got back in a big way as they took D2 Western State College to the woodshed 78-39. Cowgirl hoops dropped a heart breaker as they lost to Utah State 62-56. Cowboy wrestling also got underway as they won the Northwest Open in Powell then the Cowboy Open this past weekend. No results have been posted from the Cowboy Open as of writing.

Go Pokes!

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