4:00 PM ET, August 30, 2003
War Memorial Stadium (WY), Laramie, WY
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) -- A defense that was much maligned last year turned into a savior as Wyoming opened its season under new coach Joe Glenn.
The Cowboys defense forced five turnovers as Wyoming beat Division I-AA Montana 21-10 Saturday.
"Our defense kept making great plays," Glenn said. "We forced five turnovers. That's incredible."
Glenn was hired away from Montana to take over a Wyoming team that had won just five games in the last three years, including a 2-10 record last year.
His first challenge was to improve a defense that had surrendered an average of 31 points and 491 yards a game last year.
The Cowboys (1-0) gave up 353 total yards to Montana State but forced five turnovers, including four interceptions off Bobcats quarterback Travis Lulay, who entered the game with only two interceptions in his last 136 attempts.
Glenn said the measure of his team's defense was how hard they played with their backs to the wall.
"We got our backs to the wall, made some interceptions down deep in the end zone, held them out when we had to," he said. "Tells you a lot about your football team. They don't give up. There's a lot of fight in these kids."
Montana State (0-1) was led by David Mayfield, who rushed for 101 yards on 26 carries. Lulay completed 18 of 40 passes for 223 yards.
"We had our chances," Lulay said. "We moved the ball well, but we just have to do it when it counts. ...We can't turn the ball over like this and beat a good team."
Wyoming grabbed the lead early when Austin Hall blocked a punt after the Bobcats' first possession of the game and Derrick Martin picked the ball up at the 6 yard line and dove into the end zone. It was Martin's first collegiate play.
"The ball was just bouncing around forever, it seemed like," Martin said.
"I just felt it in my hands and went for it," he said.
The Cowboys went up 14-0 in the first quarter on Derek Armah's 2-yard TD run. The score capped a 72-yard drive keyed by a 29-yard screen play from Bramlet to Armah.
Montana State answered with a 20-yard TD pass from Lulay to Scott Turnquist and a 20-yard field goal by Nate Cook to pull within 14-10 at the 11:40 mark of the third quarter.
But three of the Bobcats' next four possessions ended with interceptions inside Wyoming territory.
"We had turnovers that killed us," Montana State coach Mike Kramer said. "We just couldn't get an edge."
Chris Dixon, Roderrick Jackson and Marcial Rosales all recorded their first college career interceptions. Dixon and Jackson are seniors and Rosales a redshirt freshman.
"We just came out to play, we was relentless, we was running after the ball, responsibilities were executed the way they was supposed to be executed, and we just went out there and just played like the best that we could," Jackson said.
Armah, who had five catches for 52 yards, finished with 92 yards total offense for the Cowboys. McGuffey had six catches for 78 yards.
Mayfield caught four passes for 33 yards to finish with 132 total yards for Montana State, which has not beaten a Division I-A team since 1984. Brandon Roosevelt caught six passes for 56 yards.