Turning point, unsung hero and what’s next for UW football
LARAMIE -- Zaire Jackson could be at prom tonight.
Instead, the Valor Christian (Colorado) grad was busy taking the football away from the opposing team Saturday afternoon in Laramie at the annual Brown and Gold spring game, his first as a college football player.
Jackson, the lone recruit from the 2021 class who is already on campus, could've finished this one with four turnovers. He'll settle for two.
With the score tied at 17-17 and just 18 ticks left on the clock in the third quarter, Wyoming punter Ralph Fawaz couldn't handle a high snap. The ball whistled through his finger tips and bounced toward the goal line. Fawaz got to it first. Gillette's Caleb Driskill and Jackson weren't far behind.
"Caleb wrapped up, made a good play and I just made the best of it," Jackson said postgame. "I saw a chance to get the ball and I did."
Jackson ripped the ball out of Fawaz's hands and walked into the end zone from a yard out to give the Brown team a 23-17 lead. That squad would score 13 unanswered.
The 5-foot-11, 181-pound cornerback mistimed a jump on a would-be interception early in the second half. Wide receiver Ryan Marquez took a handoff on the jet sweep from quarterback Jayden Clemons. Instead of taking the edge, Marquez stopped, spun and tossed the ball back across his body to the left.
The pass was intended for Clemons, who slipped out of the backfield for the trick play. Instead, Jackson was there waiting on it. Unfortunately for the true freshman, the ball hit his hands and landed harmlessly on the turf inside War Memorial Stadium. Another pass later in the regulation hit Jackson directly in the facemask, he said.
He would get redemption.
That came in the fourth quarter when he picked off Levi Williams to all but seal the deal.
“It was really encouraging to see,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said. “He’s still young. Most guys his age are getting ready to go to their senior prom and he’s out here playing in a college football game, so it was good to see him out there.”
Jackson said he hopes to see the field this fall, but knows he has talent in front of him on the depth chart, including starters Azizi Hearn and CJ Coldon, as well as Cameron Stone and Xavier Carter. Stone also recorded an interception Saturday.
"I wouldn't say that I'm there yet, but I would love to have that opportunity if I can," Jackson said.
The youngster got his chance Saturday and he changed the outcome of this one.
Brown 30, Gold 17
This one goes to a true unsung hero -- placekicker Luke Glassock.
You might recall that the Buffalo product was supposed to be the Cowboys' starting kicker last fall. An injury before the opener sidelined him and opened the door for John Hoyland, who connected on 13-of-14 attempts in 2020 and was named a Freshman All-American.
You've heard of Wally Pipp, right?
He was the first baseman for the Yankees in 1925. New York skipper Miller Huggins decided to give Pipp a day off in early June. A guy named Lou Gehrig took his place.
He never gave it back.
Gehrig, also known as the Iron Horse, started a then-MLB record 2,130 consecutive games after that. Pipp was traded to the Reds the next offseason.
Glassock isn't getting traded. In fact, Saturday he nailed a 37-yard field goal and was a perfect 2-for-2 on point-after attempts. He also kicked off for the Pokes four times, forcing one touchback (To be fair, returners were coming out on this day no matter how deep the kick sailed).
Hoyland now has the placekicker spot locked down, but Bohl hasn't named a fulltime kicker yet. Is Glassock the guy?
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS:
* Big plays, balanced offense highlight UW spring game
* Behind the numbers: Spring game edition
* Titus Swen explosive in return to gridiron
* 3 Quick takes: How was that for balance?
"We figured they were going to pull something out, but we didn't see that at all in practice. We knew a throwback was coming, we just didn't know what time ... He's definitely a bigger dude so it was going to be harder to take him down. I was surprised on that. I went this way and saw him coming back and thought uh oh that's Alonzo sitting there."
-- Outside linebacker Charles Hicks joking about 6-foot-6, 313-pound offensive tackle Alonzo Velazquez catching a pass on a trick play in the fourth quarter.
"I thought Polasek did a good job other than the 'Midnight rider' play where we threw it back to the offensive tackle. What a dumb, B.S. call that is. I'm going to fire that guy. Midnight rider. What the hell is midnight rider? Throwing it to the tackle and losing 15 yards?"
-- UW head coach Craig Bohl joking about new offensive coordinator Tim Polasek and that wild play call late in regulation.
Summer workouts for the Cowboys begin May 24 in Laramie. Opening day is scheduled for Sept. 4. That is the day former offensive coordinator Brent Vigen and the Montana State Bobcats will pay a visit to War Memorial Stadium for the season opener. Bohl said he will release an updated depth chart later this week. Now, we wait.
POKES: The Seven Best Games In The History Of The Wyoming-CSU Border War Rivalry (Naturally, they were all Wyoming wins)