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Another bumpy ride on road for Cowboys

BYU's Aaron Francisco brings down Wyoming's Ivan Harrison as the improving Cowboys fell to the Cougars for another road loss Saturday night.
BYU's Aaron Francisco brings down Wyoming's Ivan Harrison as the improving Cowboys fell to the Cougars for another road loss Saturday night.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

Despite Saturday's loss to BYU, the Wyoming football program has Laramie buzzing.

The Cowboys are 4-0 at home for the first time in seven seasons, their win over Ole Miss was the school's first ever over a Southeastern Conference team and the team's win last week over San Diego State was its first ever since the two teams moved to the Mountain West Conference in 1999.

Under second-year coach Joe Glenn, the Cowboys are 8-10 and have won seven of their past 13 games — promising numbers considering the team won only five of 34 games in the three seasons prior to his arrival.

Away from War Memorial Stadium this season, however, the Cowboys have struggled to put points on the board. They were shut out by Texas A&M and had to settle for two field goals and one touchdown Saturday night. That adds up to 13 points in eight quarters on the road. They went almost seven quarters on the road without a touchdown before the drought was ended by Jovon Bouknight's third-quarter touchdown reception ended the dry spell.

The Cowboys' road woes continued Saturday because they failed to do the things that have given them success at home. In all of their wins, the Cowboys have been an opportunistic team. Not the case against BYU.

Wyoming won almost every numbers battle in the first half except the one that mattered most — points. In the first two quarters, the Cowboys ran 44 plays to BYU's 28. They had nine first downs to seven for the Cougars. Time of possession at halftime was 19:01 for Wyoming and 10:59 for BYU.

The Cowboys failed to cash in on three first-half turnovers and started four first-half possessions inside BYU territory and came away with only three points on those four possessions. Glenn agreed that failing to capitalize on those chances was key.

"Our defense turned the ball over to us and we didn't take advantage of those opportunities," Glenn said.

In the Cowboys' other road loss, they lost the turnover battle 3-0. Saturday's turnover war was won by BYU 4-3.

Wyoming also came into the game giving up only 113 yards per game on the ground, second best in the MWC. The Cougars romped over them for 237 rushing yards, and both second-half scoring drives were run-dominated. Glenn knew the Cougars had a couple of good runners but was surprised by how punishing they turned out to be.

"They took it to us in an area I didn't think they could," Glenn said. "They trucked us, and they ran all over us. I just didn't think they could run over us like that."

On the other end, the Cowboys depended too much on the pass — throwing 40 times, gaining 219 yards through the air and totaling only 103 on the ground on 37 carries.

"We've got to learn to run the ball better, and we've got to learn to stop the run better," Glenn said. "Until we do that we'll be in this position a lot."

It didn't help that quarterback Corey Bramlet, who came into the game with only five interceptions in five games, threw four errant tosses.

Cowboy game notes: Jovon Bouknights' 35-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was his 14th career scoring catch, placing him fourth all-time on Wyoming's career TD-catch list. Terrence Butler's first-half interception was his third this season. Quarterback Corey Bramlet came into the game throwing five interceptions in five games. He almost doubled that with four errant tosses Saturday night.


E-mail: jimr@desnews.com