Cowboys ‘unconventional’ win at UConn was every bit that
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl called last Saturday's 24-22 road victory over winless UConn "unconventional."
That's one way of putting it.
Getting nailed with an uncharacteristic 10 penalties for 99 yards is partially what Wyoming's eighth-year head coach is eluding to. Losing the turnover battled didn't help things much, either.
Just six times in Bohl's tenure in Laramie -- 86 games -- the Cowboys have been hit with that many yellow hankies in a single outing. UW is 2-4 in those contests after the win in East Hartford. The other came against Northern Illinois in that triple-overtime thriller to kickoff the 2016 season.
The 99 penalty yards assessed is the third most since Bohl has been roaming the sidelines.
"You know, the other thing that we did, we kept on putting the game in jeopardy by the number of penalties we had," he said. "We've got to clean all those things up. The encouraging thing is we won a game on the road."
The penalties were concerning enough, but the way a typically punchless UConn offense took advantage of nearly every one of them brought this one down to the wire.
A 28-yard field goal on the opening drive came courtesy, in part, thanks to a third-down pass interference call on Keyon Blankenbaker. Two drives later, an unnecessary roughness call on an aggressive CJ Coldon tackle kept a drive alive. Two plays later, Huskies quarterback Tyler Phommachanh connected with Jay Rose on a 42-yard touchdown pass.
That's not all.
On the final play of the first half, Phommachanh was picked off by Cowboys safety Esaias Gandy. A roughing the passer call on Ravontae Holt negated that and the Huskies' placekicker Joe McFadden was true again, this time from 29 yards out.
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Then, there was UConn's now infamous 15-play, 64-yard final drive of the game for the home team. Coldon, Azizi Hearn and Rome Weber were all hit with a pass interference call. Nathan Carter capped that possession with a two-yard touchdown run.
"It's just adversity," Gandy said. "We're built for that. We're always overcoming adversity. If there's a flag, we just go on to the next play.
"... We don't focus on the past."
By now, you know Weber redeemed himself by tipping a pass on the Huskies' two-point conversion, helping the Cowboys -- a 30-plus point favorite -- escape New England with the victory.
CBS cameras caught Bohl on the sideline taking a big sigh of relief and tapping his chest.
Yeah, it was the kind of game.
"This football team can play a whole lot better than what it did," he said. "I would like to say, I think the Connecticut Huskies played their best game. They played hard. They've got some good players. Certainly we gave them some, I guess, lifelines of hope."
Despite the chaos inside Rentschler Field, the Cowboys -- somehow, someway -- are still unbeaten after four games for the first time since 1996. That took narrow victories over Montana State, Northern Illinois and UConn.
Those three have come by a combined 12 points. The other, a lopsided 45-12 win over defedning MAC Champions, Ball State.
"It's probably fun to watch," UW senior wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt said. "I think people say the cardiac kids or the cardiac boys or something like that. But, you know, it's definitely pretty nerve racking playing in these close games like that."
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