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

By Robert Gagliardi

rgagliardi@wyosports.net

LARAMIE – The opportunities were there.

The

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

second.

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

Stadium.

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

work.”

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

Smithson.

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.