LARAMIE — It had shades of Wyoming’s season-opening win.
UNLV started fast against the Cowboys’ defense with 10 points in the first quarter, but the Rebels didn’t score again until early in the fourth of Wyoming’s 53-17 rout Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium. It’s the most points in regulation for the Cowboys since scoring 56 in an overtime win against Hawaii in 2013, and nearly half of them came in a second quarter that changed everything.
“Everything was working. It certainly had a big, big impact going into halftime,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. “That second quarter, I don’t want to say it put the game away, but it pretty much changed the whole dynamic of the game.”
Wyoming took control by scoring 26 unanswered points in the quarter to turn a brief 10-7 deficit into a 23-point halftime lead. Quarterback Sean Chambers started the run with a 17-yard scoring scamper, and by the time he found Jackson Marcotte for a 20-yard score late in the quarter, Wyoming had scored on six straight possessions.
Of course, the defense had to get the ball back for the offense to make that happen. Wyoming did that by holding UNLV to 48 total yards and 0-for-4 on third down in the quarter. The Rebels entered Wyoming territory just once during those 15 minutes.
“That’s always the plan to get the ball to the offense and having them go down and score,” linebacker Cassh Maluia said.
It was a similar second-quarter onslaught the Cowboys used to take control against Missouri when they outscored the Tigers 27-3 to erase a 14-0 deficit in a 37-31 win. That game featured two first-half turnovers that led to 10 points for Wyoming, including a fumble recovery late in the second quarter. The Cowboys got another one in the second quarter Saturday from Logan Wilson, whose interception of Armani Rogers deep in UNLV territory set up Cooper Rothe’s chip-shot field goal.
“Obviously we gave up those 10 points in the first quarter, but in the second quarter, I think we played our type of ball that we’re capable of playing,” Wilson said. “And I think we showed that.”
The deficit forced UNLV to go from the more mobile Rogers to the more refined passer in redshirt freshman Kenyon Oblad in the second half. Wyoming knew what was coming and picked off Oblad twice to punctuate a game that was well in hand by halftime.
Career day for Swen
With Trey Smith (ankle) out for the foreseeable future and Xazavian Valladay still nursing a sore ankle, running back Titus Swen made his first career start. It ended up being a career day for the true freshman.
Swen needed just 14 carries to gain 136 yards. The first 100-yard rushing game of his young career included a career-long 59-yard scamper in the first half and a 44-yard touchdown run late. Swen, who combined with Chambers (102) to give Wyoming two 100-yard rushers in the same game for the second time this season, is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this season.
“I just came in, did my job, hope my teammates can trust me, and then when I get it, do what I can do,” he said.
Murry steps in at CB
With cornerbacks C.J. Coldon (season-ending injury), Tyler Hall (concussion) and Antonio Hull (personal matter) not available Saturday, another true freshman stepped in to help another position depleted by attrition.
Jordan Murry wasn’t on the two-deep at the beginning of the season, but the true freshman found himself in the starting lineup against UNLV and held his own. With five tackles, the 5-foot-10, 150-pound Murry tied fellow corner Azizi Hearn and linebacker Chad Muma for third-most on the team.
“He reminded me a lot of Tyler Hall when Tyler got thrown into the fire his true freshman year at Colorado State,” Wilson said. “He’s got confidence and a little swagger to him.
“For him to step in and be a corner for us on a day like today and we’re very dwindled at that position was huge.”
Patrick Arnold, who got the start at right guard for the injured Logan Harris, left the game after getting nicked up but missed just one play before returning to finish the game.
Bohl said he’s confident Hall will return to practice this week as the Cowboys enter an open date before traveling to San Diego State on Oct. 12. As for Hull’s status, Bohl declined to comment after the game.
After rejoining the team two weeks ago, Hull was arrested along with Hearn for traffic violations Wednesday. Hull didn’t dress out for Saturday’s game.
Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter