Cowboys rallied around each other in comeback win

Sep. 3—LARAMIE — A nearly two-hour lightning delay wasn't enough to slow down the University of Wyoming.

Neither was a 14-point spread in favor of Texas Tech.

The Cowboys erased an early 17-0 deficit, climbing all the way back and pulling off a staggering 35-33 upset win over the Red Raiders in double overtime. It would have been easy for UW to mail it in after getting down three scores in the first 11 minutes of the game, but that's not what this year's Cowboys are about.

"I feel like it's a huge (indication) of how close our team is," defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole said after the game. "We went through the ringer those first two drives. We had (two fumbles on offense), and we gave up a six-play drive that felt like 20 plays right off the get.

"We never pointed a finger. We were never blaming somebody else. We took that ownership and said, 'OK, what do we have to do?' We've been in this situation before, and I feel like we leaned on the offense, and the offense leaned on us going through that game. I feel like that's how we came out on top."

UW's response to getting down 17-0 was ripping off 20 consecutive points, including touchdowns from fullback Caleb Driskill and running back Sam Scott. The Cowboys allowed just three points in the final three quarters of the game, a tall task against a high-powered offense like Texas Tech's.

Tied 20-20 going into overtime, UW quarterback Andrew Peasley put the Cowboys up with a 5-yard touchdown run. After being knocked out of the game a handful of times after taking big hits, Peasley's return to the lineup was a major sparkplug for both UW's offense and defense.

"We've got some tough guys on this team," Bertagnole said. "That's our motto is, 'Cowboy Tough.' Quarterbacks are normally the ones that get a few bumps and they're complaining.

"Peasley's a super tough guy. Seeing him out there doing that definitely gave us huge fuel. We would see (him get hurt), and then we'd see him run for a first down right after, so we're like, 'All right, we've got a dog out there.'"

Frank Crum, UW's anchor on the offensive line, also looks at Peasley's resilience as a call for the offensive line to protect the quarterback better.

"I am extremely proud to call that man my quarterback," offensive lineman Frank Crum said. "This was an unproven O-line tonight, and I think they really stepped up. You can see some glimpses of life for some of these younger O-linemen. We just beat Texas Tech with two starting redshirt freshmen.

"Having to say your quarterback is so tough, and he's willing to keep getting up, that's on us to protect him. I take ownership in that room for sure."

Sam Scott emerges

It wasn't long ago Sam Scott was playing linebacker for the Cowboys. That changed last December, when he made the move to running back before UW's appearance in the Arizona Bowl.

Scott was listed as the No. 3 running back going into this weekend, but he emerged as one of UW's most reliable offensive weapons Saturday night. He led all running backs with 44 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, and caught three passes out of the backfield for seven yards.

Scott's biggest play of the night came in the second overtime period. With the game tied 33-33, Scott proved he'd earned his team's confidence, taking a handoff three yards into the end zone for a game-winning two-point conversion.

Scott also had a 16-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter, a score that tied the game 17-17.

Safe to say, Scott had a pretty good weekend.

"It meant the world to me," Scott said. "... I'm finding my place. Being able to show it this game and show up at the end there, it's just a dream come true."

Defense is legit

Giving up 431 yards on defense would normally be a pretty atrocious game. But against Texas Tech, the Cowboys were able to utilize a bend-but-not-break mindset to limit the Red Raiders to just 10 points in the final three quarters of regulation.

The Red Raiders ran for just 93 yards on 33 carries, for an average of 2.8 yards per attempt. UW's secondary also stepped up after the first quarter, finishing with nine pass breakups from eight different players.

Shae Suiaunoa had 22 missed tackles a year ago. He led the Cowboys with 12 total tackles against Texas Tech, including eight solos.

"I just trusted our coaches with the tackling techniques we used this past fall," Suiaunoa said. "I really just tuned into that. I just wanted to be a lot different from last year. I didn't really like last year's performance too much, but I'm here now."

Alex Taylor is the assistant editor for WyoSports and covers University of Wyoming athletics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @alex_m_taylor22.