LARAMIE – Craig Bohl has seen a lot in his nearly four decades on the sidelines.
The turn of events last Saturday – Wyoming let a 42-16 lead evaporate to a 43-42 deficit before taking a 50-43 victory over northern Illinois – was a particularly experience. stressful for Bohl.
“Frankly, I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of a game that rocked as fast as this game did,” Bohl said at his press conference on Monday. “Northern Illinois, thank you to them. They believed they could hang on and fight, which they did. They have made some progress. I thought we hit our toes and didn’t play as well as we could have.
“But the determination of our football team to come back and finish the game, both in attack and defense, has been really good the last couple of times.”
The Cowboys (2-0), who beat Montana State and NIU with clutch plates in the dying minutes to tie the program’s winning tally in 2020, are bracing for more #MACtion this week.
UW hosts the defending Mid-American Ball State Conference champion on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium (2:00 p.m., stadium).
The defense will look to finish stronger after allowing 33 points and 301 yards in the second half inside the hot and humid Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill..
“I really thought we were complacent,” nickel fullback Keyon Blankenbaker said. “We haven’t finished the game. That’s what I sort of saw from the defense in the fourth quarter. We wanted a victory. It’s all that matters.
“We are very proud, we have a huge test this weekend and we will bounce back for sure.”
Bohl credited NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi for avoiding the rush and running back Harrison Waylee for making big plays during the rally.
UW defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel said mistakes made by his unit can easily be corrected in training.
“From a training standpoint, the corrections aren’t overwhelming about what we need to do,” Sawvel said. “I think we were a bit about to let go a bit as a football team. You’re leading 42-16 and you haven’t completed some things like we had to.
Sean Chambers and the offense had the chance to drive the final nail into the Huskies’ coffin early in the fourth quarter when Bohl left them on the field for a fourth and one at the NIU 10-yard line.
Xazavian Valladay, who finished with 101 rushing yards and one touchdown, was knocked down in the backfield.
The Huskies took advantage of the wave of touchdown momentum in their next three possessions to take the lead with 4:56 to go.
“This is how football is. Things don’t always go the way you want them to and you will always face adversity, ”right-back Logan Harris said. “Credit to our attack and the way we have responded over the past two weeks to the adversity we have faced. “
Chambers completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Treyton Welch with 47 seconds left in the 19-16 win over Montana State and ran for a 9-yard touchdown on the third and the goal with 1: 35 to play to beat NIU.
“I think you see real maturity from Sean,” said Bohl, who was pleased with UW’s offensive balance (204 passing yards, 191 rushing yards). “We looked explosive.”
The Cowboys escaped with two spectacular wins and no notable injuries this season other than cold sores brought on by Bohl’s stress.
“I don’t know if I’ve had two back-to-back games that ended the way they did, and I’ve coached 38 years,” said Bohl. “It’s great to be 2-0.”