Saturday, September 13, 2008

Comeback Cowboys come together

Richard Anderson photos
From left, Wyoming's Michael Ray and Darius Terry are all smiles after the Cowboys battled back to be North Dakota State on Saturday. At bottom, head coach Joe Glenn, right, hugs linebackers coach Marty English.

By Richard Anderson

Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn knows the situation: Start winning …. sooner than later.

As the Cowboys headed into the locker room at halftime on Saturday, trailing 10-0 against upstart North Dakota State, Glenn didn’t have a very good feeling. A glass is half full kind of guy, Glenn was suddenly seeing the bottom of the water bottle.

By the time junior Jake Scott kicked a 29-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to lift the Cowboys to a 16-13 victory over the Bison, Glenn’s positive feelings were filling up again.

“This was the first time, maybe since 2,008 years ago, that somebody else rose from the dead,” Glenn said. “We were out and there with just hardly anything left in our locker room. Credit the kids, there was nothing said. We kind of circled some plays that maybe we didn’t get to enough in the first half. We just came out and got a little rhythm going, which we haven’t had in a while.”

Trailing by 10 points at halftime and not showing anything positive offensively against the Bison, the Cowboys had to not only regroup, but keep their heads up.

After giving up another field goal and now tailing 13-0, a couple of successful drives did just that.

“We all stayed focused by keeping our spirits up and keeping everything positive,” Wyoming senior running back Wynel Seldon said. “We just had to come together, focus in and just dig deep and actually do what we do in practice.”

Wyoming junior defensive end Mitch Unrein said the Cowboy defense went back out on the field confident that their offense would get the job done and the offense maintained their belief that the defense would not let the game get out of hand.

He was right on both parts.

“You can’t get down on the offense and they can’t get down on the defense; that’s what we pride ourselves on this year, not trying to blame anyone for anything,” Unrein said. “Mistakes happen, that’s just the game of football, so we went out there and tried to execute the best that we could. We knew we were the better team, and at the end, we came through.”

Wyoming sophomore quarterback Dax Crum didn’t exactly buy into his head coach’s resurrection theory, but he did say they were a different team in the second half.

“I didn’t think we were dead. We came back out and won the game,” Crum said. “In the locker room, we were just focused. They were kind of putting it to us. We just came together and got the win.”

Cowboy senior running back Devin Moore, who finished with 145 yards on the ground, summed up the win, perhaps in chronological order.

“The offense came through, the defense held strong and Jake Scott kicked the winning field goal,” Moore said. “We’re all happy right now.”

Happy and relieved.

"A win is a win and I’ll take a W any day,” Wyoming senior linebacker Ward Dobbs said. “It doesn’t really matter how. It’s a much better feeling now than last week.”

Sophomore receiver David Leonard said there is no other way to say it or look at things, especially with a team that has struggled to pick up victories as of late.

“We knew coming in they were going to be a really good team,” Leonard said. “We felt they were as good, if not better than the first two opponents that we played. It was a great win for us.”

If a football game or season can be compared to a 12-round boxing match, the Cowboys got back up from their knockdown last week in the loss to Air Force and struggled to stay on their feet in the first half against North Dakota State.

The second half, however, saw a little counter punching turn into a close decision in their favor. Saturday's comeback and win was just round three, Seldon said.

“We played the first two games and it was round one and two and we have to come back with round three,” Seldon said. “We came back at the half and pulled it together. Before, we had to focus in in the first half and we weren’t clicking, we weren’t focusing as a unit. We decided to mesh and bring things together and try to dig deep and pull out the win.”

Longtime Wyoming football fans won’t exactly put this is the same classification as the wild 48-45 comeback win over Air Force in 1988 or the 41-38 overtime comeback victory at Iowa State in 1996.

The 2008 Cowboys, however, have two come-from-behind victories in three games and will take them.

“We needed a win bad to get this team on the right path, to get rejuvenated for practice,” Wyoming sophomore free safety Chris Prosinski said. “This was big for this team.”

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