Cowboys ‘Bohl-Over’ Chippewas to Win Potato Bowl
Josh Allen threw for three touchdowns to lead the Wyoming Cowboys to a 37-14 victory over Central Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Friday.
Allen connected with Jared Scott, Austin Conway and C.J. Johnson in the first quarter. Allen was 11-19 for 154 yards and the three scores. He was named the game’s MVP. Allen also officially declared for the NFL Draft during the post-game trophy celebration.
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said in a release from the University of Wyoming,
"It was a great win for us and put our team in a great position moving forward."
The Cowboy defense forced a school record eight turnovers, including a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by defensive end Carl Granderson in the fourth quarter that put the game away. That was part of 23 points UW scored off turnovers.
Bohl added about the turnovers...
"We have been productive in takeaways this season and today was exceptional. This team has been remarkable with takeaways and today topped it off."
Wyoming (8-5) scored on four straight possessions thanks to short fields after they punted on their first series. Allen found Scott on a post pattern from 23-yards out for a 7-0 lead.
Nela Lolohea started the Pokes’ turnover barrage with a strip sack of Central Michigan QB Shane Morris. Sidney Malauulu recovered at the Chippewas’ 24-yard line. Five plays later, Allen scrambled to his right and found Conway behind a defender on an 11-yard TD.
Central Michigan (8-5) responded with a 74-yard Morris to Jonathan Ward touchdown pass, which trimmed the UW lead to 14-7.
The Cowboys came back four plays later when Allen went deep to Johnson for an over-the-shoulder grab in the end zone and a 21-7 lead. Another Chippewas fumble forced by Logan Wilson was recovered by Marcus Epps. That led to a Cooper Rothe 27-yard field goal.
An Andrew Wingard interception led to a Rothe 28-yard field goal. Wilson had an interception in the second quarter, but the Pokes drive stalled out. It was 27-7 at halftime.
Tyler Hall’s interception led to Rothe’s third field goal from 20 yards and a 30-7 UW lead. Central Michigan got a Ward 3-yard TD run on the next possession and closed within 30-14 with three minutes in the third quarter. With the Chippewas on the move and in Wyoming territory, Youhanna Ghaifan sacked Morris, which knocked the ball loose. Granderson scooped it up and returned it 58-yards for the game’s final points.
An interception by Marcus Epps in the end zone, and a fumble recovery by Jalen Ortiz capped the school and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl record eight forced turnovers. The Pokes finished with 38 takeaways this season, which led the nation.
Bohl also said, “We set a goal to return Cowboy football back to national prominence. This is one of the other steps. You want to come in, not just get in a bowl game, this is the first time we've been to back-to-back bowl games in 30 years. To get in one, we preached to our football team that we got to figure out a way to win one. Central Michigan is an excellent program. They've won a lot of football games. To beat a really solid program like this convincingly, it's going to put us in good position for next year.”
Wyoming had 275 yards of offense. Kellen Overstreet had 85 yards on the ground. Wilson led the defense with nine total tackles, all solo, a forced fumble and an interception. The Cowboys had a season-high five sacks, 10 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.
The 37 points is a school record in a bowl game, and UW improved to 7-8 all-time in bowl games. Their 21 points in the first quarter were a new Potato Bowl record, as well.
The Chippewas compiled 364 yards of offense. Morris threw for 346 yards with one TD and four picks. They were held to 18 yards on the ground.
Wyoming will open the 2018 season against New Mexico State Aug. 25.