3:00 PM ET, November 4, 2006
3:00 PM ET, November 4, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) -- San Diego State owned the first half, but Wyoming stole the second.
The Cowboys overcame a 14-point deficit in beating the Aztecs 27-24 on Saturday.
Joseph Harris ran in consecutive touchdowns to tie the game, then Karsten Sween threw a 5-yarder to Wade Betschart for the touchdown that pushed Wyoming (5-5, 4-2 Mountain West) past San Diego State (1-7, 1-3) early in the fourth quarter.
It was a hard-won reversal after San Diego State scored a touchdown on the second play of the game and powered ahead 17-3 in the second quarter.
The key, said Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, was not panicking while behind.
"I think we all felt like, 'Let's just keep sawing wood," he said.
At the same time, he didn't question his players' enthusiasm heading onto the field.
"I don't need to head-butt lockers and cut my face open to get these guys fired up," he said. "These guys play for pride. We were ready to play, no doubt about it. But they made some plays on us. You've got to give the other team credit, too."
Not only could San Diego State not stop the Cowboys as they began putting drives together, the Aztecs also committed 11 penalties, costing them 98 yards.
"We didn't do well in the penalty area," coach Chuck Long said. "That is something that has really hurt us through the season."
Harris' touchdowns, for 2 and 1 yards, occurred late in the second quarter and midway through the third. They tied the game at 17.
Betschart grabbed Sween's pass just inside the end zone corner to put Wyoming up 24-17.
On San Diego State's next possession, Michael Medina intercepted a pass from Kevin Craft and returned it 10 yards. The Cowboys couldn't move the ball any farther, but freshman Aric Goodman kicked a 52-yard field goal -- his longest he'd ever kicked, in college or high school -- to make it 27-17.
Goodman said the ball seemed to hang for an eternity before dropping just a couple feet inside the upright. "It kind of blew a little bit and then it got there," he said.
With a minute and a half left, Brett Swain caught a 66-yard touchdown pass to pull San Diego State within 27-24. But Wyoming recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock on the game's final possession.
"We hung together and we fought until the end," Long said. "We had a chance there late with an onside kick, but we just have to hang in there and keep fighting."
It was Wyoming's best rushing game this season. The Cowboys had 222 yards rushing, including 131 by Devin Moore for his first 100-plus game.
Moore said Wyoming might have suffered early by planning to "skunk" San Diego State.
"That's what really what we were planning for. We wanted to lay a goose egg," he said. "The coaches did a good job of getting us on line and keeping us on track."
The Aztecs took an early lead on the second play of the game when Chaz Schilens caught a pass from Craft for a 60-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Wyoming got on the board on a 32-yard field goal by Jake Scott. But the Aztecs widened their lead when Garrett Palmer kicked a 35-yard field goal and T.J. McKay returned a Wyoming fumble 23 yards to score, making it 17-3.
San Diego State had 192 yards passing but just 40 yards rushing.
The win puts Wyoming one win away from being bowl eligible. The Cowboys beat UCLA 24-21 in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl, but stayed home in the postseason last year after losing their last six games.