Wyoming wide receiver Joshua Cobbs against Air Force on Sept. 16.
The Wyoming Cowboys’ 17-14 victory last Friday over the Air Force Falcons was all about Wyoming state pride.
“It took a lot,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. “Guys are in (the locker room) yelling (the team battle cry), ‘Powder River, let ’er buck.’ They have embraced the state of Wyoming.”
Wyoming (3-1, 1-0) has now won three games in a row and sits atop the Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings this week.
“We’ve been fighting with Air Force for many years now,” said Wyoming running back Titus Swen, whose 5-yard touchdown run put the Cowboys ahead with six minutes to play.
“Last time they came to the War (Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium in Laramie), they got their butts whooped (35-27 in 2018). This time they came to the War, same story.”
Wyoming jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but Air Force took a 14-10 lead with 10 minutes to play on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Haaziq Daniels to Cade Harris.
Wyoming then drove 75 yards in eight plays to score the game-winner. Swen later picked up 17 yards on a crucial 3rd-and-13 run with about two minutes to play to help seal the victory.
“It shows the world the Wyoming Cowboys came to play,” said Swen, who finished with 102 yards on 19 carries.
Air Force rushed for 171 yards on 40 carries after coming into the game as the best running team in the Football Bowl Subdivision at 508 yards a game. Wyoming had 180 yards rushing on Friday.
“Our defensive tackles really played very well,” Bohl said. “I called them in at the beginning of the week and I told them, ‘This game is going to come down to your play.’”
No. 2 Air Force (2-1, 0-1), which hosts No. 9 Nevada on Friday night, battled an illness during the week that forced three dozen players to miss at least one day of practice. A half dozen Falcons missed the game.
“They played better, they blocked better,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said, refusing to give any excuses for the loss.
“We’re an emerging football team,” Bohl said. “We’re a young football team in a lot of spots but a lot of those guys are growing up fast.”
No. 3 Fresno State (1-2, 0-0) was whipped by USC, 45-17, and No. 5 San Diego State (1-2, 0-0) fell to Utah, 35-7. No. 4 Boise State (2-1, 1-0), though, beat UT-Martin (a Football Championship Subdivision school), 30-7, in its first home game of the year on their famous blue turf.
“It was definitely exciting to come back out and see us protect the Blue,” said running back George Holani, who had 110 yards and a touchdown rushing and also caught four passes and another score.
“It was a big thing to do (getting Holani the ball),” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “And we have to continue to find ways to do so.”
No. 6 Utah State (1-2, 0-0) was idle last weekend, while No. 7 UNLV improved to 2-1 with an explosive 58-27 victory at home against North Texas. UNLV will play at Utah State this Saturday.
UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield passed for 211 yards and two touchdowns against North Texas as the Rebels controlled the ball for nearly 39 minutes. Brumfield leads the Mountain West with seven touchdown passes and is second at 257.7 yards a game.
Aidan Robbins, a Louisville transfer, rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns and now leads the Mountain West with 346 yards and seven touchdowns (one receiving).
“It’s awesome to get our fan base excited and gassed up,” UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo said. “It’s been an awesome first couple of weeks on getting engaged and excited about the brand of football that we are playing. It’s a big deal for us.”
No. 8 San Jose State (1-1, 0-0) was idle while No. 9 Nevada was beaten 27-0 at Iowa in a game that featured four hours of delays because of lightning in the Iowa City area.
Nevada had just 10 first downs and 151 yards of offense, suffering its first shutout since 2009 (35-0 at Notre Dame).
No. 10 Colorado State (0-3, 0-0) fell at Washington State, 38-7, to remain winless under new head coach Jay Norvell. Norvell lost his first five games in his first season as Nevada’s head coach in 2017, also losing at Washington State, 45-7.
“We did not start well to give ourselves a competitive fighting chance,” said Norvell, whose Rams hope to break into the win column this week at home against Sacramento State, an FCS school.
No. 11 New Mexico (2-1, 0-1) beat UTEP, 27-10, while No. 12 Hawaii beat Duquesne, an FCS school, 24-14. Hawaii also beat Duquesne, 44-21, in 2018.
New Mexico forced seven turnovers, its most in a game since it also had seven against Memphis State in 1986.
“Winning is not easy,” New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales said. “And we tried to make it as hard as we could in the second half.”
New Mexico led 20-3 at halftime.
“We didn’t finish it,” said Gonzales, who is now 7-15 as the Lobos head coach since 2019. “That could have been a lot more lopsided than it was. But that’s part of learning how to win. We want to be great. We don’t want to be just good. And we’re not a good football team yet. But you have to learn how to be great.”
The Nevada Appeal’s Mountain West football rankings for the week of Sept. 19:
1. WYOMING (3-1, 1-0). Last week: Wyoming 17, Air Force 14. This week: Wyoming at BYU, Saturday.
2. AIR FORCE (2-1, 0-1). Last week: Wyoming 17, Air Force 14. This week: Nevada at Air Force, Friday.
3. FRESNO STATE (1-2, 0-0). Last week: USC 45, Fresno State 17. This week: Idle.
4. BOISE STATE (2-1, 1-0). Last week: Boise State 30. Tennessee-Martin 7. This week: Boise State at UTEP, Friday.
5. SAN DIEGO STATE (1-2, 0-0). Last week: Utah 35, San Diego State 7. This week: Toledo at San Diego State, Saturday.
6. UTAH STATE (1-2, 0-0). Last week: Idle. This week: UNLV at Utah State, Saturday.
7. UNLV (2-1, 0-0). Last week: UNLV 58, North Texas 27. This week: UNLV at Utah State, Saturday.
8. SAN JOSE STATE (1-1, 0-0). Last week: Idle. This week: Western Michigan at San Jose State, Saturday.
9. NEVADA (2-2, 0-0). Last week: Iowa 27, Nevada 0. This week: Nevada at Air Force, Friday.
10. COLORADO STATE (0-3, 0-0). Last week: Washington State 38, Colorado State 7. This week: Sacramento State at Colorado State, Saturday.
11. NEW MEXICO (2-1, 0-1). Last week: New Mexico 27, UTEP 10. This week: New Mexico at LSU, Saturday.
12. HAWAII (1-3, 0-0). Last week: Hawaii 24, Duquesne 14. This week: Hawaii at New Mexico State, Saturday.