The Wyoming Cowboys (2-0 overall) used three scores from the air in a 31-17 win over Portland State (0-2 overall) on Saturday afternoon in War Memorial Stadium. The Wyoming defense also recorded nine tackles for loss including four sacks on their way to the victory.
“I’m pleased that we won the game,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said. “I knew we had much more of challenge than people on the outside felt. We certainly did some good things, but there are some things we can learn from. It’ll be a great opportunity for us to fix some things. We are 2-0. Portland State fought and I knew they would. I’ve been an FCS coach and those guys, they got good players. Coach Barnum does a good job, and we are pleased we won.”
Wide receiver Ayir Asante added a pair of touchdowns, the first of his career with the Brown and Gold in the victory. He had 78 yards receiving on the two catches including one for 64 yards, the longest since the 2018 season. Quarterback Andrew Peasley was 11-of-16 passing with a career-high three touchdown passes and one interception. Wide receiver Wyatt Wieland led the team with three catches for 50 yards and a score. Running back Sam Scott added a career-high 70 yards rushing on 11 carries. John Hoyland tied a career-high with a 56-yard field goal in the contest and from that spot this season.
“I think (Asante) can have a big impact,” Bohl said, “He’s really smooth. He catches the ball well. He has really good speed. He’s one of the fastest players on the team. John Hoyland is coming up big again and again. Two 56-yarders is really impressive.”
The Wyoming defense was paced by Nickel Wrook Brown and linebacker Easton Gibbs with eight tackles. Safeties Wyett Ekeler and Isaac White added seven tackles with Ekeler adding an interception for the second of his career. The interior of the defensive line had a strong day with Jordan Bertagnole adding seven tackles with a sack and Cole Godbout adding seix tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, giving him 24 tackles for loss for his career, which moved him into a tie for ninth in school history with Ward Dobbs.
The Wyoming offense recorded 371 yards of total offense on the day with 201 passing and 170 on the ground. Portland State had 344 yards of total offense with 254 passing and 90 on the ground. The Cowboy offense averaged 12.6 yards per passing completion with the Vikings adding 6.5 per catch.
The Cowboy offense was rolling early on the opening drive, but a fumble stalled the drive in Portland State territory. The Cowboy defense battled right back with Ekeler adding his second career interception inside Viking territory. The offense used a 19-yard connection from Peasley to wide receiver Ryan Marquez and capped the five-play drive with a one-yard run from running back Jamari Ferrell to take a 7-0 lead at the 8:03 mark of the opening quarter.
The Cowboys used a three-play 67-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead later in the first quarter, as Peasley found Ayir Asante for 64-yards for the first touchdown of Asanate’s career with the Cowboys and the longest pass of Peasley’s career.
The Vikings got on the board at the 8:50 mark of the second quarter on an 18-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a two-yard run by quarterback Dante Chachere for a 14-7 contest.
The Pokes took a 21-7 lead thanks to a forced fumble and recovery by Cornerback Tyrecus Davis. The tally came on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Peasley to Wieland for the second touchdown reception of his career.
Portland State added a field goal late in the half capitalizing on a Peasley interception, as the contest went to a 21-10 game at the half.
The Cowboy defense forced a punt by the Vikings to open the second half and added to the lead making it a 24-10 game after John Hoyland connected on a 56-yard field, as he owns two of the three longest field goals in the nation this season. Peasley and tight end John Michal Gyllenborg hooked up for a nine yard and 13-yard reception on pack-to-back plays to set up the score.
Wyoming took a 31-14 lead with under two minutes left in the third quarter after Peasley and Asante connected for a second time this time coming from 14-yards out capping a seven-play, 67-yard drive. Ferrell added a career-long rush of 17-yards and Peasley scrambled for 11 yards to highlight the drive.
The Vikings added a touchdown in the fourth quarter making it a 31-17 game with seven minutes remaining. Chachere found Mclaine Griffin from 10-yards. Portland State would threaten late in the contest, but the Wyoming defense held and took the game 31-17.
Chachere was 22-of-38 passing with one touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 30 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Jermaine Braddock had seven catches for 61 yards and also threw one pass for 40 yards in the contest. Linebacker Parker McKenna led the team with eight tackles and one tackle for loss.
The Cowboys return to action next Saturday this time on the road heading to No. 11 Texas for a 5 p.m. start in a contest on the Longhorn Network.