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UW Cowboys earn hard-fought victory over Mountaineers

Wyoming Cowboys celebrate Wrook Brown's interception to seal the win against Appalachian State. (via Wyoming Cowboy Football Twitter)

LARAMIE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Cowboys once again showed how much heart they have, as they erased a 12-point deficit to rally for a 22–19 victory over Appalachian State. The Cowboys improved to 3–1 on the season with the win.

Roughly four minutes into the fourth quarter, Appalachian State cornerback Tyrek Funderburk intercepted a Wyoming pass and returned it 18 yards to give the Mountaineers a 19–7 lead, and things looked bleak for Wyoming. However, the Pokes’ resolve would show on the very next play from scrimmage.

Starting the Cowboys’ next possession at their own 25-yard line, Cowboy quarterback Andrew Peasley handed the ball off to running back Harrison Waylee, who broke through the left side of the Wyoming offensive line and went 75 yards untouched to put the Pokes right back in the game, narrowing the deficit to 19–14.

Appalachian State used 18 plays to run nine and a half minutes off the clock, but with barely two minutes remaining, the Cowboys once again showed their resolve. The Wyoming defense forced pressure up the middle on the Mountaineers’ field goal attempt.

Defensive end DeVonne Harris blocked the kick and cornerback Jakorey Hawkins scooped up the ball and returned it 62 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, giving Wyoming a 20–19 lead. Peasley connected with tight end John Michael Gyllenborg on a short pass and Gyllenborg forced his way into the end zone for a 22–19 Wyoming advantage.

ASU didn’t go down without a fight, however. The Mountaineers picked up four first downs and drove from their own 31-yard line down to the Wyoming 20. Rather than go for the chip shot field goal, though, they attempted one more pass, which proved to be their undoing. UW nickelback Wrook Brown intercepted the pass at the Wyoming six-yard line with only 12 seconds remaining to seal the 22–19 win.

“Just when I think I’ve seen it all in 40 years, I have not seen it all,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. “Obviously, we are really excited about the win and the resolve of our players and the belief. That’s outstanding. We need to build off this.

“Appalachian State is a really good football program and a really good team. We did not play up to our capabilities, particularly on offense, for the majority of the game.”

Wyoming wrapped up its non-conference schedule with a 3–1 record.

It marked the fourth time in as many full seasons — not counting the COVID-shortened season of 2020 — that Wyoming has started the season with a record of 3–1 or better through the first four games of a season, including a perfect 4–0 start in 2021.

“I think all the pundits, including me, said, ‘This is really, really one of the more competitive non-conference schedules that we’ve had,’” Bohl said. “To come out of this 3–1, it exceeded some of the expectations I had. Now it’s all behind us. It’s time for Mountain West play.”

Waylee finished the game with 156 rushing yards on 17 carries and one TD. He averaged 9.2 yards per carry versus App State. Defensively, Cowboy linebacker Easton Gibbs and nose tackle Cole Godbout led the way with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. Linebacker Shae Suiaunoa and defensive end Harris added nine tackles each. Both also had a quarter back hurry, while Suiaunoa added a pass break-up and Harris had a sack to go with his blocked field goal. Brown added seven tackles to go with his recovered lateral and interception.