LARAMIE, Wyo. — Beating its second Colorado opponent in as many weeks is big in more ways than one for a young Wyoming program that won just two games last season.
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen said wins against Air Force on Saturday and against Colorado State the previous week are important not only to the Cowboys program as a whole but to the many players on the Wyoming roster who hail from neighboring Colorado and may have not been recruited by the Colorado teams.
“Obviously there’s some heated tension, I guess, between us and Colorado teams,” said Allen, who threw for three touchdowns in leading the Cowboys over Air Force 35-26 Saturday.
Allen completed 15 of 27 passes for 173 yards for Wyoming (4-2, 2-0 Mountain West). He had TD passes of 17 yards to Tanner Gentry, 20 yards to Jake Maulhardt and 32 yards to Jacob Hollister.
After the game, Allen lamented a couple of missed throws to wide-open receivers that would have resulted in big gains.
“We played good enough to win even with those few mistakes that I made,” he said.
Allen also rushed for 74 yards, including a 34-yard run to set up a TD that iced the win in the final two minutes.
Falcons safety Weston Steelhammer said Allen is a “very dynamic quarterback both on the ground and through the air.”
“He made something out of nothing more than once,” he said.
Brian Hill contributed 92 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Cowboys, who more than tripled the 53 rushing yards Air Force had held its opponents on average in the previous four games.
Air Force (4-1, 1-1) was led by quarterback Nate Romine, who passed for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Romine was also intercepted three times after entering the game without having thrown an interception on the season.
“I just don’t think we were locked in, especially me,” Romine said. “That was probably my worst football I’ve ever played since I’ve been here.”
Wyoming’s defense held the Falcons to 149 yards rushing. The Falcons had been averaging 312.8 rushing yards a game.
AIR FORCE: The Falcons saw their hopes for starting the season 5-0 for the first time since 2003 dashed.
Falcons coach Troy Calhoun said Wyoming’s offensive and defensive lines had too much size.
“I thought it was pretty evident that they’re eating well,” Calhoun said.
WYOMING: The Cowboys have won four of the last six meetings between the two teams.
The defense has scored in three consecutive games. On Saturday, linebacker D.J. May picked up a fumble by Jacobi Owens on Air Force’s 15-yard line and jogged into the end zone. The Cowboys defense has scored four touchdowns off turnovers this season.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl attributed the opportunistic defense to better speed and athleticism in the unit this year.
“We’re ahead of the curve there, and we just got to keep it coming. I know it helps a lot,” he said.
Air Force received votes in last week’s AP poll after winning its first four games of the season, but the loss to Wyoming likely will result in voters losing interest in the Falcons.
AIR FORCE: The Falcons will host New Mexico on Saturday, but the game will be played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas as one of the college games during the annual Texas State Fair.
WYOMING: The Cowboys have a bye week before heading to Nevada on Oct. 22.