Sept. 17, 2005
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - The extra point - normally one of the most routine plays in football - was anything but routine at Air Force on Saturday.
At least not until Deric Yaussi lined his up with 1:25 left and kicked it straight through for the difference-maker in Wyoming's 29-28 victory over the Falcons.
"Most extra points are easy, pretty much right down the middle," Yaussi said. "Every once in a while, they get a little tricky."
Tricky. Trickery. There was all that and more on the four, fourth-quarter extra-point attempts that proved the difference in an exciting, back-and-forth game between the Mountain West Conference rivals.
Wyoming (2-1, 1-0) tied it at 28 and set Yaussi up for the winner after a 65-yard drive highlighted by three completions between Corey Bramlet and Michael Ford and capped by Bramlet's 1-yard dive into the end zone.
"That last drive was about as classy, clean and crisp and in-sync as" I've seen, Cowboys coach Joe Glenn said.
It turned into a game-winning drive because, after Air Force (2-1, 1-1) scored a touchdown on the possession before, holder Donny Heaton couldn't handle the snap from Bryan Jones and was tackled near the sideline to keep the score at 28-22.
"We had it in our grasp and we let it slip away," Falcons coach Fisher DeBerry said.
The Falcons started the extra-point excitement early in the fourth when, after a touchdown that put them ahead by four, DeBerry decided to go for 2 and called a trick play. Shaun Carney lateraled crossfield to offensive lineman Robert Kraay, who jogged in to make it 22-16.
A little later, Wyoming scored a touchdown, but Yaussi's kick failed to clear the line, and the score remained tied at 22.
"I'm not sure what happened there," said Yaussi, who also missed a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter. "Something got messed up. Probably have to look at the film."
It could have cost the Cowboys the game, but didn't. Safety John Wendling intercepted Carney on Air Force's final, desperation drive to secure Wyoming's second straight victory after a season-opening loss to No. 6 Florida. Now, the Cowboys can celebrate their most significant road victory in Glenn's two-plus seasons of rebuilding at Wyoming.
"It's a step forward, a big step forward," Glenn said.
Air Force, meanwhile, will try to regroup for a trip to Utah next Thursday.
"We know we're as good a football team as they are," DeBerry said. "We've just got to get up off the floor."
The Falcons can start by working on - what else? - their special teams. In addition to the missed extra point, they had a 16-yard punt that gave Wyoming good field position for Yaussi to make it 13-7 with a 50-yard field goal to end the first half.
More importantly, Ryan O'Dea mishit the kickoff after Air Force's last touchdown, allowing Wyoming to start its winning drive at the 35. In such a tight game, a game in which Air Force outgained Wyoming 339-335, special teams made a huge difference.
"We were just so inconsistent in the kicking game," DeBerry said.
Bramlet went 19-for-29 for 267 yards, including passes of 29, 4 and 19 to Ford on the winning drive. He also threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Jovon Bouknight (six catches, 132 yards) to tie the game at 7 in the first quarter.
Air Force ran the triple option well. Carney had 78 yards, Jacobe Kendrick had 66 and two Falcons backs - junior Justin Handley and sophomore Chad Hall - scored their first career touchdowns.
The Falcons ran for 286 yards, but managed only 53 passing, a far cry from the 207 and 231 they gained in their season-opening wins over Washington and San Diego State.
Wyoming's John Flora was the defensive player of the game. He had a sack and forced fumble on Carney in the third quarter.
Then, with Wyoming trailing 22-16 early in the fourth, Flora stripped Kendrick and the Cowboys recovered at the Air Force 30. Five plays later, Wynel Seldon scored from 2 yards with 9:41 left. Yaussi's miss, though, kept the score tied at 22.
"I might have been a little more nervous for that last one," Yaussi said. "But I just went out and tried not to treat it any differently than normal - I just went out and made it."