Behind the numbers
LARAMIE -- When the dust settled in this one, the only number that really mattered was one.
As in, 1-0.
Uninspired, out of sync and on their collective heels, it took an eight-play, 75-yard fourth-quarter drive for the Cowboys to stave off the upset Saturday. Sean Chambers hit a streaking Treyton Welch for the 21-yard game-winning touchdown with just 47 ticks remaining on the clock.
Montana State 16
While it wasn't an ideal outing for a Wyoming team that has conference championship aspirations, the outcome was.
Here are some interesting numbers from today's tilt in Laramie:
That's how many completions Chambers threw in the win over the Bobcats. Why is that significant? The redshirt sophomore had never connected on double-digit completions in any of his previous 13 outings in a Wyoming uniform.
Give Montana State plenty of credit, they didn't let the Cowboys' run game get going much at all in Saturday's opener. Wyoming averaged nearly 220 yards per game on the ground last fall, which was good enough for 14th in the nation. That was also roughly five yards per carry. The Bobcats held UW to just 3.5 in this one.
Wyoming was lucky to reach this number today. Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys had converted on just 4 of 14 third-down tries. They finished 6 of 17, including a crucial toss from Chambers to Parker Christensen on a 3rd-and-3 during the game-winning drive.
Oops. Chambers tossed an interceptions right into double coverage and into the arms of Jeffrey Manning Jr. during the Cowboys' first drive of the afternoon. Montana State turned that into six points just one play later. For UW's signal caller, that was just the fourth interception thrown in his career.
Wyoming owned the time of possession in this game by more than seven minutes. MSU's offense was on the field Saturday for just 26:16.
That's how many tackles Chad Muma registered against the Bobcats. The first-team All-Mountain West selection also added two tackles for loss, a sack, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal. Hello, MW Defensive Player of the Week!
The Cowboys' defense tallied just two sacks Saturday. Garrett Crall and Victor Jones combined for one, and Muma hammered MSU quarterback Matthew McKay on a fourth-down attempt in the first half.
Joshua Cobbs made his first-career catch late in the fourth quarter. The Texas native hauled in a 24-yard pass and side-stepped a defender to get the Cowboys' into Bobcats' territory. Fellow Texan, Alex Brown, also caught his first collegiate pass. That was a modest seven-yard gain.
Wyoming placekicker John Hoyland connected on both of his field-goal opportunities against MSU. The first came from 37 yards out in the second quarter. The second was a 25-yarder that gave the Cowboys' a brief 12-10 lead early in the fourth. The former walk-on from Colorado is now 15 for 16 in his career.
That's how many of Ralph Fawaz's punts today pinned the Bobcats inside the 20-yard line. He also added a 54-yarder. Not a bad first outing for the Okie, huh?
It's not often Wyoming allows a rusher to eclipse the 100-yard mark. Isaiah Ifanse did that today, hitting the 103 mark on 16 carries. Only New Mexico's Bobby Cole was able to accomplish that against this Cowboys' defense in 2020.
That's the number of times the Cowboys have knocked off the Bobcats in 20 all-time meetings. The first came back in 1919. That was a 6-0 Wyoming win. The Pokes have won nine straight games in this series.
That's how many season openers Wyoming has won in its history. The Pokes are 79-44-2 all-time in season openers. At home, UW is 59-18-1. In non-conference home openers, the team is 50-11-1.
That was the announced attendance inside War Memorial Stadium in today's opener.