Wyoming prevails over Montana State on last-minute touchdown

Andrew Towne/Torrington Telegram Wyoming tight end Treyton Welch hauls in the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left on the clock during Saturday’s 19-16 win over Montana State.

LARAMIE – The Wyoming Cowboys and Montana State Bobcats waged a war of wills against each other on Saturday in Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium. In the end, it was an eight-play, 75-yard drive by the Cowboys that gave Wyoming a 19-16 lead with only 47 seconds remaining in the game to give UW the victory.

“Heck of a ball game,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said in his postgame press conference. “Credit to Brent Vigen and their (Montana State’s) coaching staff.  I thought they were well-prepared and had a good game plan. Certainly, we were out of sync, particularly in the first half and had a hard time getting some things generated.”

Wyoming scored 16 of its 19 points in the fourth quarter, with scoring drives of 52, 67 and 75 yards. The Cowboys took their first lead of the game at the 13:36 mark of the fourth quarter when running back Xazavian Valladay carried the ball in from two yards out to put the Pokes ahead 9-7. A bad snap on the extra point left the score at 9-7.

Montana State responded with a 40-yard drive of its own, concluding with a 53-yard field goal by place-kicker Blake Glessner to put the Bobcats back in the lead at 10-9, with 10:23 remaining.

The Cowboys took their next possession and moved 67 yards in 13 plays that finished with a 25-yard field goal from place-kicker John Hoyland to give Wyoming a 12-10 lead with 6:20 remaining.

But once again, the Bobcats replied with a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to regain the lead at 16-12 with only 2:17 left in the game.

Wyoming had to score a touchdown to retake the lead, and quarterback Sean Chambers saved his best for last. 

Chambers began the Pokes’ final drive running for eight yards himself. Then he completed a 24-yard strike to wide receiver Joshua Cobbs. After an incompletion, Chambers hit wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt for a seven-yard gain. He followed that up with a nine-yard pass completion to fullback Parker Christensen and a second scamper by Chambers for six yards. He failed to connect with wide receiver Isaiah Neyoron the next play, but on third and four from the MSU 21, Chambers found tight end Treyton Welch down the middle of the field in the end zone as Welch made a one-handed catch against his body. Chambers was 4-of-6 passing on the drive for 61 yards and carried the ball twice for 14 yards to put the Cowboys back on top 19-16.

“Sean (Chambers) put the ball where it needed to be, and the offense gave him great protection,” Bohl said. “We got in a little bit of a rhythm with Sean. We were able to pop some runs that we were not able to pop in the first half.  We need to build off that. We are going to be positive about how we did respond.  I’m happy we won, there are great things we did, but there’s a lot of work to do.”  

Chambers ended the day completing 15-of-26 passes for 196 yards, one touchdown pass and one interception. Valladay led Wyoming in rushing, carrying the ball 19 times for 77 yards and one TD run. Chambers added 51 yards rushing. Chambers spread the ball around, connecting with eight different receivers for his 15 completions. The Pokes top pass catcher was wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt, who caught a team high four passes for 71 yards.

“At the end of the day, whether it’s pretty or not we needed to get to 1-0 and we were able to do that,” Eberhardt said. “It was unbelievable today. I’ve been here for a long time and man did the fans fill up the seats today. The fans are everything for this team. A shout out to our fans. We could definitely hear them today. They provided us the extra energy we needed to come back and win this game.”  

The Cowboys travel to DeKalb, Illinois to face Northern Illinois University on Saturday, Sept. 11. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

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