Cowboys Survive Wofford With Late Comeback [VIDEOS]
Tyler Vander Waal found Raghib Ismail Jr. for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left, as the Wyoming Cowboys escaped with a 17-14 victory over the Wofford Terriers Saturday in Laramie.
Vander Waal led the Cowboys on a 13-play, 80-yard drive in 1:42. The redshirt freshman QB felt it was a big step in the right direction for himself and the offense. He talked about the winning drive, the game plan going in, how the receivers made him look good, and more.
That winning drive came on the heels of another Wyoming drive that had reached the Terriers 16-yard line, but Vander Waal was hit from behind before he could throw the ball. It popped up in the air and was intercepted by Wofford’s Weston Rountree.
The Pokes defense allowed one first down before back-to-back tackles by safety Alijah Halliburton forced a Terriers punt on fourth down and three at the UW 47. Luke Carter’s punt traveled into the end zone for a touchback.
That set-up Vander Waal’s heroics. He connected with five different receivers on the winning drive. It included a key fourth down and four conversion on a swing pass to running back Xazavian Valladay for 10-yards. After an incomplete pass and a Wofford timeout, Vander Waal found Ismail Jr coming across the field for the winning score.
Ismail Jr called it the second best play of his football career, felt the offense really moved forward and described the game-winning play.
Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl admitted his team was beat-up from a physical standpoint, but he knew they had to find a way to win this game. Bohl also felt they had to be steady and positive. He broke down the comeback victory.
Wyoming (2-2) took the lead after a scoreless first quarter. Youhanna Ghaifan forced a fumble that was recovered by Sidney Malauulu. The Cowboys returned it to the Wofford 10-yard line but settled for Cooper Rothe’s 20-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Terriers responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive. Lennox McAfee had the key play, a 44-yard run. Andre Stoddard capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and a 7-3 Wofford lead.
UW came right back before halftime. Vander Waal threw his first career TD pass to tight end Tyree Mayfield from 6-yards out and a 10-7 halftime lead. It stayed that way until the fourth quarter.
Wofford (2-1) took a 14-10 lead less than two minutes into the final period. Quarterback Joe Newman scored from 4-yards out.
The Cowboys offense finally came alive in the final quarter. Vander Waal went 13-of-22 for 148 yards passing in the final frame. As an offense, Wyoming finished with 313 yards. Vander Waal finished the game 25-42 for 224 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked three times. Running back Xazavian Valladay ran for 57 yards on 15 carries. Andrew Wingard led the defense with 12 total tackles and an interception.
The Terriers had 294 total yards. They ran for 221 yards on 49 attempts out of their triple-option attack. They threw for 73. McAfee had 91 yards rushing to lead Wofford. Newman was 9-15 passing but was intercepted twice.
Wyoming will have the first of two byes in its schedule next weekend. They return to action Sept. 29 with their Mountain West Conference opener versus league favorite Boise State. That game will start at 5 p.m. from War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.