Sept 23, 2001
Wyoming 43, Utah St. 42
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer
LOGAN, Utah - All week, Wyoming coach Vic Koenning was careful not tosay too much to his players about the eight cross country and track runners whodied in an auto accident last weekend.
Just before kickoff, offensive coordinator Rusty Burns spilled it. He toldthe Cowboys it was OK to dedicate their game against Utah State to the memoryof their friends who died last Sunday.
"The pain will always be there, but this helps a lot," Bramlet said. "Wewere playing for them."
In the locker room, Burns told the Cowboys (2-1) to "represent the spiritof these eight young men," according to Koenning.
"I hadn't used that in a way of motivation but Rusty did," Koenning said."If they wanted to make a statement about these guys and their families, wellthat's a pretty strong statement."
As the Aggies (0-3) walked off the field, Koenning addressed his team atmidfield. Then the Cowboys broke the huddle and did a cheer for about 1,000vocal fans in the corner of Romney Stadium.
"The first couple of days this week, it was hard to concentrate onfootball," said Bramlet, who was 22-of-38 without an interception. "Westarted hard, everyone started concentrating and doing what we had to do."
Wyoming took a 43-36 lead on Derek Armah's 8-yard run with 4:10 to play.Utah State's Jose Fuentes worked the clock and threw his fourth TD pass, an18-yarder to Chris Stallworth, with 25 seconds remaining.
However, the Aggies were penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration whenStallworth removed his helmet. Dane Kidman's PAT kick from 35 yards was blockedby Scottie Vines, touching off a celebration on the Wyoming sideline.
"I'm not going to blame the officials," Utah State coach Mick Dennehysaid. "Rules state you cannot take your helmet off and celebrate. That'sexactly what we did. We continue to find ways to shoot ourselves in the foot."
Two Wyoming assistants rushed onto the field to welcome Vines with hugs.
"It was hard getting ready for the game, with eight players dying, but weknew we had to come out and win for them," Vines said.
The Cowboys and Aggies took the field together before kickoff in a memorialnot only for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but also for the eightWyoming runners.
Both teams wore decals of American flags on their helmets to memorialize theattack victims, as well as another showing a winged foot and No. 8 in honor ofthe fallen Wyoming athletes.
The loss spoiled an outstanding night by Utah State's Emmett White, whogained 274 yards on 32 carries and rushed for two TDs. He also caught fivepasses for 38 yards and another score.
Last season, White set an NCAA single-game record with 578 all-purposeyards, and he hurt the Cowboys all night. He scored Utah State's first pointson a 48-yard run two minutes after kickoff and added two third-quarter TDs.
The Aggies had everything in control with 57 seconds remaining in the thirdquarter, leading 36-25 after White's 3-yard run.
But the Cowboys came right back, with Bramlet throwing to Malcom Floyd on an80-yard TD with 4 seconds left in the third quarter. Floyd broke from UtahState's Derrek Shank and went untouched to pull Wyoming to 36-33.
"We just didn't make any plays on defense," Dennehy said.
Wallum kicked his fifth field goal, this one from 33 yards, to tie it with7:38 remaining. The Cowboys had seized the momentum, and they were just gettingwarmed up.
On Wyoming's next possession, Bramlet went deep to Brock Ralph, whostretched to make the catch for a 47-yard gain to Utah State's 8. On the nextplay, Armah broke through the left side for a touchdown.
The Wyoming bench erupted in joy, with many players throwing their arms intothe air and jumping up and down. Others hugged leaping assistant coaches as thesmall Wyoming cheering section celebrated.