LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Oregon Ducks brought one of the top ranked offenses in the nation into Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, and the Ducks rode that offense to a 49-13 win over the Wyoming Cowboys. The game attracted an outstanding crowd of 29,139. The Cowboys suffered their first regular-season loss in War Memorial Stadium since a 26-7 loss to Colorado State on Nov. 7, 2015, snapping an eight-game, regular-season home winning streak.
“I thought Oregon played well,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said. “Their quarterback played extremely well. Early in the game, we did a good job against (Royce) Freeman who is an NFL back, but as the game went along our guys began to get a little tired.”
Oregon ended the day with 558 yards of total offense to Wyoming’s 183. The Cowboy defense forced three turnovers on the day, with two first half fumble recoveries and a second-half interception. Wyoming turned all three of those forced turnovers into points — one touchdown and two field goals.
“In the bigger picture, we weren’t executing like we needed to,” Bohl said. “Also, we came up against a football team that got hot as the game went along. The quarterback (Justin Herbert) certainly is one of the better quarterbacks that I’ve seen.”
Sophomore running back Milo Hall busted the longest rush of his career, a 14-yarder, in the first quarter. Hall rushed for a career-high 43 yards on 11 carries. Freshman running back Trey Woods entered the game in the second quarter and gained 14 yards on his first carry. Woods recorded career bests of 11 carries and 42 yards during the game.
Junior safety Andrew Wingard recorded 14 tackles, his first double-digit tackle game of the season and the 15th of his career. He also had 2.5 tackles for loss, including a sack. He now has 3.0 sacks in his career. Sophomore linebacker Logan Wilson registered 11 tackles, including eight solo stops and two tackles for loss. It was the second double-digit tackle game of his career.
“What I told the team afterwards is that we all own the loss, bounce back and not let one team beat us twice,” Bohl said. “We need to look at what we are doing, make adjustments in practice and have a positive attitude going in to Hawai’i next week.”
The first quarter saw the powerful Oregon offense convert on good field position provided by its defense and score touchdowns on its first two possessions. Those two drives went for 55 and 51 yards to give the Ducks a 14-0 lead.
After Wyoming’s third consecutive three-and-out, it was the Cowboy special teams that gave UW its first break of the game. Following a 43-yard punt by Tim Zaleski and a muff by Oregon’s Charles Nelson, Cowboy senior captain Drew Van Maanen recovered the muffed punt, giving the Pokes the ball at the Oregon 25-yard line. On a second and 10 from the 25, Hall broke loose for 14 yards to give Wyoming its initial first down of the game at the Oregon 11. Facing a third-and-nine from the 10-yard line, junior quarterback Josh Allen scrambled in for his first rushing touchdown of the season and the eighth of his career to pull the Pokes to within a touchdown at 14-7.
On Oregon’s ensuing possession, Cowboy junior defensive end Carl Granderson sacked Duck quarterback Justin Herbert and knocked the ball loose. UW defensive end Kevin Prosser recovered the fumble at the Oregon 21.
Wyoming tried a throwback pass from wide receiver Austin Conway to quarterback Allen that resulted in a two-yard gain. Allen gained six yards on a second-down rush, but a pass from Allen to tight end Tyree Mayfield fell incomplete on third and two. Sophomore place-kicker Cooper Rothe came in and kicked a 30-yard field goal to narrow the Oregon lead to 14-10 with 1:23 remaining in the first quarter. The quarter would end with the score 14-10 in favor of the Ducks.
Oregon would hold the edge in yards at the end of the first — 125 yards to Wyoming’s 41. But the Cowboys held the edge in turnovers, forcing two Duck turnovers while not committing any themselves.
In the second quarter, Oregon would score four touchdowns. The first one on a 14-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a nine-yard TD run by Herbert with 12:19 remaining. The second drive would cover 83 yards in seven plays, ending with a 20-yard pass from Herbert to wide receiver Taj Griffin at the 5:58 mark. With exactly one minute remaining running back Freeman would score his third rushing touchdown of the half, this one from one yard out.
It appeared that was how the first half might end, but on a first-down run by Wyoming’s Allen, Oregon’s Justin Hollins forced a fumble and the Ducks’ Tyree Robinson recovered at the UW 34-yard line and carried the ball 30 yards down to the Wyoming four. A personal foul penalty on Wyoming at the end of the play put the ball at the two-yard line. Duck running back Kani Benoit scored on the first play of the drive, giving Oregon its second touchdown in 17 seconds and the half would end with Oregon holding a 42-10 lead.
The third quarter would begin with Wyoming’s defense holding Oregon to only 27 yards on five plays in its opening drive and held the Ducks short on a fourth-down and two, giving the Cowboy offense the ball at the Wyoming 48.
Wyoming was forced to punt after gaining one first down on its ensuing possession. Oregon proceeded to move the ball 61 yards on nine plays, when Cowboy senior cornerback Rico Gafford came up with his second interception of the season and fourth of his career.
The Cowboys took advantage of Gafford’s interception as Allen engineered Wyoming’s longest scoring drive of the day — an 11-play, 47-yard drive. Allen completed four of four passes on the possession for 38 yards, and running back Hall had four carries for 16 yards on the drive and caught one pass for three yards. Cowboy kicker Rothe connected on his second field goal of the game, this one from 42 yards out to make the score 42-13 in favor of Oregon.
Wyoming forced Oregon into a three-and-out on its next possession and the first Duck punt of the day. The two teams entered the fourth quarter, with the score 42-13.
In the fourth quarter, Benoit added his second touchdown of the game to wrap up the scoring. He scored from four yards out, capping off a nine-play, 70-yard drive to make it a 49-13 final.
The Pokes will open Mountain West Conference play next Saturday, hosting the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors in a game that will kick off at 8:15 p.m.