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Brett Smith Carted Off Field in Wyoming’s Loss to Toledo

Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith is placed on a stretcher in the fourth quarter of the game against Toledo (Kari Eakins, Townsquare Media)

The biggest loss for the University of Wyoming football team may not have been the one on the scoreboard. The Cowboys lost to Toledo 34-31 and are waiting to see if they’ve lost Brett Smith for more than just the final six minutes of Saturday’s game.

Wyoming was down 34-23 in the fourth quarter Smith scrambled and was hit by one Toledo player while another took him down with a horse collar. Smith was unconscious for a moment after the hit and was taken from the field on a backboard, but gave the crowd a thumbs up. Toledo was called for a personal foul on the play.

“That young man is a terrific football player,” said Toledo Head Coach Matt Campbell about Smith. “He plays really hard, he’s the heartbeat of that football team and you hate to see that happen to anybody. Our kids, I really don’t think are dirty kids. I think our kids play really hard and play to the whistle and it’s just unfortunate that that injury happened when it did.”

Senior Colby Kirkegaard came in at quarterback and Wyoming scored on a flea-flicker from Chris McNeill to Riley Lange, then closed the gap even further on a Kirkegaard pass to Lange for the 2-pt conversion. The Cowboy defense was able to halt Toledo on their 47-yd line, but the game was over when Wyoming turned the ball over on downs with 42 seconds on the clock. Toledo took a knee and both teams shook hands.

Wyoming managed to keep the game close despite 3 turnovers and 9-minute deficit in possession time.  The Cowboys seemed to be in control early, finding the end zone on their first drive with a 38-yd pass from Smith to Dominic Rufran. Toledo would miss, then make a field goal before Jalen Claiborne caught a 19-yd touchdown pass from Smith to put Wyoming up 14-3 in the first quarter.

Toledo climbed back into the game by taking advantage of turnovers. They took their first lead of the game in the second quarter after scoring on a drive that started with an interception. Then in the third quarter they extended their lead to 27-20 on a field goal that came shortly after Smith’s second interception of the day. Toledo’s final scoring drive of the day also began on a turnover when Shaun Wick fumbled at midfield.

Wyoming (0-2) finished the day with 526 total yards of offense, 184 yards on the ground and 342 in the air. Toledo (1-1) amassed 504 yards of offense with 204 yards rushing and 300 yards passing. Both teams piled up the penalties. Wyoming was flagged 7 times, costing them 76 yards while Toledo was charged with 10 penalties good for 94 yards.

After the game, Coach Dave Christensen talked to Smith’s dad who reported that Smith up on his feet walking and doing well, although his status for next week remains uncertain.

“They did some tests on him and all the tests came back clear,” said Christensen about Smith. “He’s alert, walking around, he’s angry about the loss, but he’s back to his normal self. We will get a report again later tonight and throughout the weekend. Hopefully by the first of the week, we will know what his status is.”

Wyoming will take on Cal-Poly at War Memorial Stadium at 4 p.m. on September 15th. The Pokes Pregame Show will go on air at 1 p.m. with game coverage starting at 3 p.m.

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