Allen’s arm abides
In his first action since Nov. 11, when he suffered a throwing-shoulder injury at Air Force, Wyoming junior quarterback Josh Allen appeared to all but pick up where he left off in the first quarter Friday. Though the Cowboys stalled on their first drive, they scored on their next four. Allen’s arm showed little rust, as he fired touchdowns to three difference targets, all in the first quarter.
The first was a 23-yard bullet across the middle to Jared Scott, who happened to be Allen’s last touchdown target before his injury. The second was a scramble and throw to Austin Conway on a third-down pass from 11 yards out. The third might have been Allen’s best deep ball of his Wyoming career, a 45-yarder dropped into the hands of a streaking C.J. Johnson. Allen threw for just 154 yards but had no interceptions and attempted just six second-half throws.
Defense wins bowl games
The Cowboys’ defense came into the game one takeaway behind Central Michigan’s for the nation lead, and apparently the Pokes wanted to take that title without leaving any doubt. Wyoming forced a program-record eight turnovers, four in each half, to break the record of seven it had set against New Mexico earlier this year.
Impressively, all eight Friday came on the defensive end, unlike the October game against the Lobos, who muffed two punts.
Wyoming held the Chippewas to 3-of-12 on third downs Friday. Central Michigan had no success on the ground, racking up just 18 yards on 27 carries, an average of 0.7. Running back Jonathan Ward scored two touchdowns, but he fell short of the 41 yards he needed to reach 1,000 this year. The Cowboys also had five sacks, their most all season.
The win gave the Cowboys their first bowl victory since 2009 (New Mexico Bowl over Fresno State). Wyoming celebrated its fourth trophy-game win of the year with a clear trophy filled with fake potatoes. Wyoming also won the Paniolo Trophy against Hawaii, the Bridger Rifle against Utah State and the Bronze Boot against Colorado State.
The Pokes are now 7-8 all-time in bowl games. They last reached consecutive bowls in 1987-88, which was also the last time they won eight or more games in consecutive seasons.
Wyoming broke its bowl record with 37 points, besting the 35 it scored in that 2009 win. The Cowboys also set a Potato Bowl record with eight turnovers forced.