Pokes rally late to top Montana State in opener
LARAMIE -- Sean Chambers hit Treyton Welch for a 21-yard touchdown pass with just 47 seconds left to play and the Wyoming defense held up on Montana State's final drive as the Cowboys opened the 125th season of Wyoming football with a 19-16 win over Montana State.
The Cowboys (1-0) trailed for much of Saturday afternoon as Montana State opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown pass with just under 12 minutes to go in the opening quarter.
The Wyoming offense was held off the scoreboard until John Hoyland made the first of his two field goals with 3:15 remaining in the first half. Hoyland's 37-yarder made the score 7-3, the same margin going into halftime.
After a scoreless third, the UW offense finally found some traction with 13:36 left to play as Xazavian Valladay punched it in from two yards out to give the Cowboys a 9-7 lead. UW failed on the ensuing extra point, thanks to a bad snap on the attempt.
The Bobcats (0-1) marched down the field on the next drive, going 40 yards on seven plays and regained the lead on a 53-yard field goal by Blake Glessner with 10:23 left to play. Hoyland's second field goal of the day, this one from 25 yards out, put the Cowboys back in front, 12-10, with 4:03 to play. Wyoming ate up 6:20 off the clock on the drive, marching 67 yards on 13 plays.
MSU would not go quietly however, scoring on its next offensive possession as Matthew McKay connected on his second touchdown pass of the game, this one from just a yard out. The Bobcats' two-point conversion attempt failed, and Wyoming found itself trailing 16-12 with just 2:17 to play.
Wyoming went 75 yards on eight plays in just 1:30, capped off by Welch's heroics to take the lead for good. Montana State's drive with just 47 seconds to go, ended at the Wyoming 40 as time expired.
Chambers finished the day going 15-of-26 for 196 yards and the Welch touchdown. Chambers also ran for 51 yards on the day. Valladay led the Cowboys with 77 yards on 19 carries.
Ayden Eberhardt led the UW receiving corps with 71 yards on four catches, including a long grab of 31 yards that set up Valladay's touchdown run. Isaiah Neyor added three grabs for 32 yards and Welch and Parker Christensen each had two catches.
Defensively, Chad Muma led the way with 11 tackles, including a second quarter sack. Braden Smith added eight stops and had a fumble recovery.
Next up for the Cowboys will be their first road contest of 2021 as they travel to Northern Illinois next Saturday, September 11 for an 11:30 a.m., MT kickoff with the Huskies.
* University of Wyoming press release
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