Three Stars of the Game: Pokes vs. Falcons
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- No one was interested in chatting about stats or highlights Saturday night outside of a somber visiting locker room.
Wyoming's 34-27 loss at Air Force not only meant the Pokes were bucked out of the top spot in the standings, a chance to crack the Top 25 and head into the bye week on a four-game winning streak vanished, too.
To make matters even worse, this team had plenty of opportunities to put the Falcons away, including forcing fumbles on consecutive drives late in regulation deep in Air Force territory.
The Cowboys turned those gifts into just six points.
It wasn't enough.
Despite the missed opportunity, there were some standout performances. Here's our objective list:
1st star: Easton Gibbs - Linebacker
Easton Gibbs wasn't interested in talking about his personal accomplishments after Saturday night's 34-27 setback at Air Force.
He mentioned numerous times how hard this loss was and how much he wanted to knock off that unbeaten Falcons' squad. Speaking like a true linebacker, facing that vaunted triple-option attack.
"Of course you're going to be frustrated when you lose a game like that, a close game like that," Gibbs said postgame. "But, you know, it's over now. We have to move on. We have another big game coming up."
Gibbs finished with a game-high 12 tackles in Colorado Springs, including a forced fumble. He stripped backup quarterback Jensen Jones from behind with 5:45 remaining in regulation and the game tied at 27-27.
Gibbs also brought down Air Force fullback Emmanuel Michel near the goal line late in the third quarter. As he was attempting to bring the senior to the ground, fellow linebacker Cole DeMarzo appeared to punch the ball out of Michel's hands.
The play was never reviewed and quarterback Zac Larrier bullied his way into the end zone one play later, giving the home team its first lead of the night.
2nd star: Andrew Peasley - Quarterback
Remember when Andrew Peasley completed just 5-of-15 passes for 31 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown in that improbable 22-19 victory over visiting Appalachian State?
That's a distant memory.
Now, we all know that the Cowboys' senior signal caller was still feeling the effects of an AC sprain in his throwing shoulder that sidelined him for Wyoming's meeting with then No. 3 Texas.
Should he have even played that night? Even head coach Craig Bohl still grapples with that decision.
Since that night, Peasley has arguably been the best quarterback in the Mountain West. The stats certainly back up that claim.
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In the three following games, the Oregon product has completed 50-of-77 throws for 589 yards and seven passing touchdowns. He's also added two more on the ground to go along with 107 rushing yards. Peasley has taken care of the football, too, not throwing a single pick or putting the ball on the ground.
He was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Week after tossing three touchdown passes in a 24-19 victory over No. 24 Fresno State.
After a four touchdown performance against Air Force -- three through the air and one on the ground -- Peasley was more interested in blaming himself for missing a read and a sack he took on a third-and-long late in the fourth quarter that led to a missed 52-yard field goal off the right foot of John Hoyland.
"I think I had a few little mistakes that really cost us," he said postgame. "... You know, I have to be better and not put my team in that position."
Peasley, who was hobbled in the second half, completed 15-of-25 throws for 212 yards in the loss. He also rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries.
"I thought he played really well, particularly at the beginning of the game," Bohl said. "He made some great plays, obviously the fourth-down touchdown (to Treyton Welch) was really good. So, I'm encouraged. He was gutting things out. He got dinged up a little bit, but I was encouraged by Andrew."
3rd star: Sam Scott - Running back
Wyoming's Saturday night battle for first place was played without the team's best offensive threat, running back Harrison Waylee.
The junior transfer from Northern Illinois suffered a lower-leg injury late in the win over the Bulldogs and was listed as day-to-day on the injury report.
Enter Sam Scott.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound sophomore didn't get a single carry against Fresno State. The same can be said for the win over App State and the loss in Austin. Waylee established himself as the No. 1 back. Bohl said that's why Scott and Jamari Ferrell, among others, weren't seeing much action.
The Cowboys needed Scott at Air Force. He delivered.
Scott rushed for 43 yards on 14 attempts. Not eye-popping, but effective. He also snagged three balls out of the backfield for an additional 43 yards to lead all UW pass catchers.
His highlight came on a short dump pass on a 3rd-and-17 late in the second quarter. Scott hauled in the pass and cruised through the Falcons' secondary before bulldozing safety Trey Taylor for the first down.
A handful of snaps later, Peasley connected with wideout Ayir Asante on a 14-yard touchdown pass, giving the visitors a 21-14 lead.
Scott also picked up two more crucial third downs on the ground.
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
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- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players