LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) -- Special teams, big defensive plays and a
little razzle-dazzle carried Wyoming to its first victory over a
Southeastern Conference team.
Josh Barge returned a punt 87 yards and caught a 69-yard pass
from receiver Jovon Bouknight, and the defense forced five
turnovers in Wyoming's 37-32 win over Mississippi on Saturday.
"Jovon made a great throw and I was off to the races," Barge
said. "I'm pretty happy that I was able to run away from some good
Wyoming coach Joe Glenn saw his team take a major step in his
bid to resurrect a program that has not had a winning season since
"As a longtime coach, this is one of my most gratifying wins
ever," he said. "This was a great test of our mettle and we had
to compete every second to get it done."
Wyoming, which never trailed in improving to 2-1, was 0-8 vs.
the SEC from 1951 to 2002. All the losses were on the road.
Ole Miss dropped to 1-3, the Rebels' worst start since 1988.
"We shared the loss across the board," Mississippi coach David
Cutcliffe said. "I'm really disgusted with the penalties. We are
not that kind of football team."
The Rebels were penalized 14 times for 97 yards. Wyoming had six
penalties for 44 yards.
Vashon Pearson rushed for a career-high 139 yards on 21 carries
for Mississippi, which had 221 yards on the ground. Mario Hill had
a personal-best eight catches for 142 yards.
Joseph Harris rushed for 121 yards and a score for the Cowboys
after stepping in for injured Ivan Harrison. Harris credited his
blockers for the team's first 100-yard day by a rusher since the
sixth game of last season.
"My performance today was due in part to our line stepping it
up 110 percent from what they did the week before," he said.
"Everyone got their assignments done."
Wyoming had 158 yards rushing and 239 passing for 397 total.
Mississippi piled up 567 yards, including 346 through the air. But
the Cowboys intercepted Ethan Flatt four times, including twice in
the end zone, and Jacob Bonde forced him to fumble the ball away
One of the biggest plays for UW was a pick by Derrick Martin in
the deep right corner of the end zone on a pass to Hill with 12:39
left and Wyoming clinging to a 30-22 lead.
"I had no help over the top so I had to force him outside," he
said. "I was able to lean up against him, force him toward the
sideline. I jumped up over the top of him and was able to catch
Flatt tested Martin repeatedly, but the cornerback broke up
seven passes and had nine tackles along with his interception.
"I had a bad first half," Martin said. "We had a scheme that
wasn't working. We switched up our schemes on them. I was able to
press, get physical with them, and that's when I'm at my best."
Flatt, who completed 19 of 44 passes for 284 yards, felt like he
let his team down.
"Obviously, being responsible for four turnovers, I feel like
it's my fault," he said. "My teammates played well and I thought
our team played well, especially at the end. We've just got to get
back to the practice field and get better."
Micheal Spurlock, who began the season as the Rebels' starter
but was benched last week, drove Ole Miss 80 yards to cut Wyoming's
lead to 37-32 with 1:38 left.
After Mike Espy recovered an onside kick, Mississippi had one
last chance, but Spurlock misfired on three passes, including a
fourth-and-7 when Wyoming's Terrance Butler knocked the ball away
Spurlock, who was 7 of 12 for 62 yards, wouldn't say whether he
staked a claim to the starting job.
"I leave it up to the coaches," he said. "I'm just going out
there and still competing. If it's my turn to go, it's my turn to
Jonathan Nichols' fourth field goal, from 43 yards, drew
Mississippi within 30-25 with 6:45 remaining.
But three plays later, Bouknight took a handoff on a reverse and
hit Barge in stride for the 69-yard TD, putting the Cowboys up
Brandon Jacobs scored from a yard out with 1:38 left -- his
second score -- to draw Ole Miss within 37-32 before the Cowboys
snuffed out the Rebels' last chance.
Corey Bramlet completed 15 of 31 passes for 170 yards, including
a 14-yard TD to Bouknight on Wyoming's first drive, set up by John
Wendling's interception in the end zone.
Bouknight, who had six catches for 68 yards, moved into a tie
with Steve Martinez for eighth on UW's career receptions list with