Missed opportunities;Mistakes forced Wyoming’s first two drives to stall as Utah ran away with a

By Robert Gagliardi


LARAMIE – The opportunities were there.

University of Wyoming moved the ball
well in its first two drives against No. 11 Utah. It got to the
Utah 37-yard line on the first drive and the Utah 11 on the

But the Cowboys didn’t score on either possession, and Utah
erupted for 16 second-quarter points as UW was handed a 30-6
homecoming loss in front of 20,014 at Jonah Field at War Memorial

UW fell to 2-5 overall, with all of its losses to top 25 teams.
It’s also 0-3 in the Mountain West Conference, and all three of
those setbacks were to ranked squads.

Utah improved to 6-0, 3-0 and extended its winning streak over
UW to four games in likely the last game between the two schools
for a while as Utah moves to the Pac-10 next season.

The Utes entered the game ranked 10th nationally in total
defense and 15th in scoring defense. They held UW to 183 yards, 3.3
yards per play and to single-digits in points for the third time
this season.

Ninety-two of those yards came in the first quarter when it
looked like UW would make this a game. But mistakes and lack of
execution cost the Cowboys a chance at that.

On the first possession, Wyoming attempted a pass in punt
formation that went incomplete. A big play that forced the punt was
a 15-yard penalty on an illegal chop block by sophomore running
back Alvester Alexander.

On the second, and on a second-and-five play from the Utah
11-yard line, UW tried some razzle-dazzle and senior receiver
Travis Burkhalter, who caught an 18-yard pass two plays earlier,
fumbled on a reverse and lost 15 yards. On the next play, sophomore
quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels threw a backwards pass that went
out of bounds and lost five yards.

To make matters worse, sophomore kicker Ian Watts missed a
48-yard field goal. A holding penalty on Utah gave Watts another
chance from 38 yards, and he missed that, too. Both misses were to
the left.

“It’s tough when you don’t capitalize on opportunities like
that,” said Carta-Samuels, who started after missing last week’s
game at No. 4 TCU with an injury.

“Penalties were big and we had some miscues, and when you have
those things, especially in the red zone, it’s not going to

UW went three-and-out on in its next three possessions, and had
only four yards in the second quarter.

Utah scored its 16 second-quarter points in less than a
nine-minute span. It came into the game outscoring teams 101-7 in
the second quarter.

“I thought there was an area there in the second quarter that we
just didn’t compete well,” UW coach Dave Christensen said. “We had
guys not going full speed on certain plays, and it only takes one
guy. We are capable of playing better than we played.

“At this point and time we have to play flawless
football when we’re playing top 10
and top 25 teams to have a chance.”

Added Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on what his defense did well
after the first quarter: “We

See UW, page B2

Continued from B1

weren’t playing square up front. We weren’t playing with good
technique. We settled down and started playing like we’re capable
of playing. That was the difference.”

The Cowboys scored their first points in nine quarters going
back to the Toledo game Oct. 2 when senior backup quarterback Dax
Crum found senior receiver David Leonard on a 10-yard scoring pass.
It was their first fourth-quarter points of the season.

Crum replaced Carta-Samuels early in the fourth quarter with
Utah ahead 30-0. Crum drove the team 42 yards after an interception
by junior cornerback Tashaun Gipson, the Cowboys’ third
interception of the game.

Utah rolled up 431 yards, got 109 yards from senior running back
Matt Asiata, two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Jordan
Wynn and 122 kickoff and punt return yards from senior Shaky

UW needs to win four of its last five games to become bowl
eligible, and as of now there are not ranked teams left on the
schedule. The Cowboys play at Brigham Young (2-5, 1-2) at noon this
coming Saturday.

Extra points

UW’s three-game home losing streak is its longest since a
three-game skid during the 2005 season. … Eight of Christensen’s
11 losses as the Cowboys’ coach has come against top 25 teams. …
The Cowboys have been outscored 180-33 in their five losses to
ranked teams this season. … UW is 41-42-3 in homecoming games,
and 36-23-2 in homecoming games in War Memorial Stadium. … The
Cowboys held the Utes to their second-lowest point total this
season. Utah’s low was in their season-opening 27-24 overtime home
win against Pittsburgh.