By Nick Seeman, University of Wyoming athletics
The Wyoming Cowboys dropped a 27-21 road decision at San Jose State on Saturday afternoon at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose, Calif. Running back Xazavian Valladay rushed for a season-high 172 yards, but the Spartan defense stopped the Pokes late to earn the victory. The Pokes fall to 4-4 overall and 0-4 in the Mountain West, as the Spartans move to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
“It came down to one possession there.,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said. “There’s certainly some things that we did better in the game, but we weren’t big enough to meet the moment. It was back and forth during the game, and we got to get better. There’s some positive things out of this game but none the less we came up with the loss.”
Valladay recorded his 13th career 100 yards or more rushing contest. It was the most in a game since he had 204 yards in the Arizona Bowl. He is less than 100 yards from being the second Cowboy to rush for 3,000 career yards. Wide receiver Isaiah Neyor had three catches for 72 yards tying a career-high with two touchdown receptions. Quarterback Levi Williams was 12-of-22 passing for 129 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first start of the season. He also rushed for 35 yards.
Linebacker Chad Muma led the team with 10, as he went over 200 in his career. Muma also has 10 or more tackles in seven of the eight games this season. Defensive tackle Cole Godbout tied a career-high with eight tackles in the game.
Wyoming outgained the Spartans 400-388 on the afternoon. Wyoming recorded 148 yards of offense in the third quarter. The Wyoming defense held the Spartans to 27 yards in the fourth quarter. The Pokes rushed for 271 yards and passed for 129 yards. The Spartans rushed for 238 yards and added 150 yards through the air.
Wyoming held the edge in time of possession in the game at 32:14-27:46. The Cowboys were 6-of-15 on third down and held the Spartans to 3-of-11 on third down.
“The effort and the resolve is there,” Bohl said. “I’ve got to coach them up better I’ve to encourage them more and put ourselves in a better position.” By in large I thought are guys played hard, they’re a good team and I knew they were going to be difficult to beat.”
Neither team could put any tallies on the scoreboard in the first half. The Spartans would find paydirt first on a one-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 SJSU advantage with 11:10 left in the second quarter. Nash would set up the score with a 48-yard scramble deep inside Wyoming territory.
The Spartans would add to their advantage with a 36-yard field goal from Matt Mercurio for a 10-0 advantage with 8:28 left in the second frame. The score come off an interception by the Cowboys inside their own territory.
The Cowboys answered right back the following drive with a 54-yard touchdown catch from Isaiah Neyor from Levi Williams. It was the longest completion for the Cowboys this season and the second longest of Williams’ career.
The Spartans would respond though with a 7-play, 81-yard drive ending on a nine-yard touchdown run from Kairee Robinson for a 17-7 Spartan lead with under two minutes remaining in the opening half. Once again, a Nick Nash run this time a 22-yard scamper helped set up the score.
San Jose State would add to their lead this time on a 44-yard field goal from Mercurio for a 20-7 lead with 8:29 remaining in the third quarter. The Spartans once again added points off turnovers recording their second interception of the game. Robinson set up the field goal with a 37-yard rush to get into Wyoming territory.
Wyoming responded right back this time with a 3-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a three-yard touchdown run from Titus Swen to make it a 20-14 game with 7:11 left in the third quarter. Valladay highlighted the drive with a 67-yard rush to go over 100 yards in the game.
San Jose State would use a deep pass to take a 27-14 lead with 2:59 left in the third quarter. Nash connected with Charles Ross from 44-yards on third down.
The Cowboys would use a 15-play, 84-yard drive into San Jose State territory, but the Spartans defense would hold to maintain their lead at 27-14 with just over five minutes remaining.
But the Pokes would pull within one score with 2:48 left in the game, as Williams found Neyor once again from 16-yards to make it a 27-21 game. The Wyoming defense would get a stop giving the offense the ball at midfield. Williams, set up the score with a 17-yard rush and found Valladay on a 16-yard pass.
The Cowboy defense held once more, as Wyoming got the ball back with 1:50 left in the game, but the Spartans defense recorded a pair of sacks helping San Jose State take the game 27-21.
Nash threw for 150 yards in the contest and led the team rushing for 112 yards. Tyler Nevens added 71 yards rushing. Kyle Harmon led the San Jose State defense with 13 tackles on the afternoon. Cody Hall added seven tackles and two sacks.
Wyoming returns home to host Colorado State in the Border War next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. inside War Memorial Stadium.