Oct. 13, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming freshman quarterback Jason Thompson went 23-for-36 for 195 yards and one touchdown, but the Air Force rushing attack churned out 230 yards and two scores as the Falcons (3-3 overall, 2-1 Mountain West) defeated the Cowboys (1-5 overall, 0-2 MW) on Saturday in Laramie, 28-27.
In Wyoming's 88th Homecoming game, Thompson got his first start at QB in place of sophomore Brett Smith, who was ruled out prior to the game. In Thompson's first extended action as quarterback, he directed scoring drives of 99, 82 and 66 yards for touchdowns while completing nine straight passes to start the game.
Air Force took the 28-27 lead after a two-yard TD run by Kale Pearson with 7:45 remaining, but Wyoming was unable to drive into position for a score the rest of the way.
UW's ground game looked sharp early on, as the Pokes accounted for a season-high 252 yards rushing, including 94 from freshman running back D.J. May, 79 from freshman running back Shaun Wick and 75 from Thompson. Defensively, UW senior linebacker Korey Jones set the tone with 10 tackles, while senior safety Luke Anderson added eight stops.
Wyoming's first drive was stymied by a lost fumble on its 42-yard line, but the Cowboy defense held Air Force to a three-and-out. UW forced punts on Air Force's first two possessions.
Thompson started the game leading a 99-yard TD drive, UW's longest drive of the season. He was very efficient, going 7-for-7 for 63 yards on the drive. Wick capped off the 13-play drive with a 9-yard scoring run. Wyoming missed the ensuing extra point and took a 6-0 lead with 3:58 to go in the first quarter.
Air Force would answer quickly, going 65 yards on four plays as QB Connor Dietz hit Don Strickland for a 41-yard TD pass. The Falcons took the 7-6 lead with 2:49 to go in the first.
Thompson then led the Pokes on another extended drive, driving 82 yards on 16 plays, zipping a pass to senior wideout Chris McNeill for a 4-yard TD. The ensuing PAT rush was good as Wick took it around the left edge to put Wyoming up 14-7 with 10:47 to go in the second quarter.
As Air Force was driving on the next possession when junior cornerback Marqueston Huff forced a fumble from Falcon running back Jon Lee and senior defensive tackle B.J. Sumter recovered on the Wyoming 34. UW then marched 66 yards in 11 plays and freshman running back D.J. May punched it in from 1 yard out for his first career TD. Wyoming increased the lead to 21-7 with 5:01 to go in the second quarter.
The Falcons came right back as Dietz hit Ty Macarthur for a 46-yard scoring pass at the 3:26 mark of the second quarter, and Air Force cut the margin to 21-14.
The Pokes ended the half with a 42-yard field goal from sophomore place-kicker Stuart Williams, and UW took a 24-14 lead into the locker room.
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Wick ripped off a 31-yard run, a career long. The Pokes moved the ball 59 yards in nine plays and Williams hit a 33-yard field goal to increase the lead to 27-14 with 10:43 to go in the third quarter.
With 50 seconds left in the third period, Air Force punched it in from two yards out for a TD to draw closer at 27-21.
The Cowboys had their first three-and-out of the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter and punted to the Falcons. Air Force proceeded to move the ball 67 yards on 16 plays, capping it off when backup quarterback Kale Pearson scored on a 5-yard rush for the game-tying touchdown. The ensuing PAT gave the Academy a 28-27 lead.
That would prove to be the final margin as Wyoming turned it over on downs with 5:29 to go, and Air Force ran out the clock.
Wyoming will hit the road to take on Fresno State next weekend. Saturday's game in Fresno, Calif., will kick off at 8:30 p.m. MT.