CHEYENNE – Facing a daunting task lining up against the top rushing defense in the country, the University of Wyoming held its own against San Diego State University on Saturday night.
But a late touchdown was the difference.
San Diego State quarterback Ryan Agnew hit Daniel Bellinger for a 12-yard touchdown with just over 2 minutes left in the game and Luq Barcoo intercepted a Sean Chambers pass to cap a 26-22 victory at SDCCU Stadium.
The bye week proved beneficial for UW, but it would have to wait to see the benefits.
After a sluggish first quarter, the Cowboys flashed the new and improved passing attack early in the second quarter after giving up a long field goal.
True freshman quarterback Sean Chambers decided to show off his arm strength late in the second quarter when he heaved a 45-yard pass to Gunner Gentry to set up the Pokes with a first-and-goal from the Aztecs’ 5-yard line. Three plays later, Chambers kept it himself for a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Cowboys a 7-3 lead with 13 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first half.
Chambers wasn’t done; he was just getting started.
Entering Saturday night’s game, San Diego State had yielded just two rushing touchdowns on the season.
Chambers scored his second rushing touchdown of the night on a quarterback sneak from 1 yard out to give the Cowboys a 14-3 lead with 5:03 left before the intermission.
The Aztecs allowed 45.4 yards rushing per game coming into Saturday’s contest. The Cowboys registered 129 yards on the ground by halftime and enjoyed a 14-6 lead after a late 32-yard field goal off the foot of Matt Araiza – his second field goal of the half.
Xazavian Valladay led the Pokes with 61 rushing yards on 12 carries in the opening 30 minutes, while Chambers ran seven times for 51 yards and two scores.
UW didn’t escape the first half healthy, however. Six-foot-5, 354-pound left guard Eric Abojei suffered a lower-leg injury and was carted off the field. Abojei was rulled out for the rest of the game at halftime.
The Aztecs struck midway through the third quarter to pull within a point.
Quarterback Ryan Agnew fired a dart to running back Juwan Washington for a 15-yard touchdown to make it a 14-13 Cowboys lead with 7:48 remaining in the quarter.
The home team then regained the lead.
On fourth-and-3 from the Cowboys’ 25-yard line, Agnew hit receiver Jesse Matthews for a 25-yard completion that set up a 10-yard counter touchdown run by Washington to make it 19-14 Aztecs with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
After three straight three-and-outs, the Cowboys’ offense finally came to life.
Chambers hit Raghib Ismail Jr. for a 19-yard touchdown strike to give the Cowboys a 22-19 lead with 6:49 left in regulation.
San Diego State outgained UW 329-266 in total yards, while UW racked up 157 yards on the ground.
UW (4-2 overall, 1-1 Mountain West) hosts New Mexico at 1 p.m. Saturday.