Wyoming Cowboys Run Over New Mexico, 31-3
Xazavian Valladay ran for career-highs of 192 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wyoming Cowboys past the New Mexico Lobos 31-3 Saturday in Albuquerque.
Wyoming (6-6, 4-4) won its fourth straight game to get bowl eligible. Now the Cowboys will have to wait to see if they get to go bowling.
In a released statement from the university, UW head coach Craig Bohl said,
“I couldn’t be prouder of our football team today, it was a convincing win. Our guys came out with great focus and we play well in all three phases of the game. I thought today was the best we have played all season.”
Nico Evans overcame an ankle injury and added 142 yards rushing and a touchdown. This was the fourth game this season that UW had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game. For Evans, it was his seventh 100-yard game of this season.
Bohl added, “Our offensive line did a great job man on man and the rushers found the creases. We felt we had good matchups with our guys up front. Both runners did a great job. We exposed some things on their blitzes that helped.”
Andrew Wingard had five tackles, which included a sack, in the game. That ties him for the Mountain West's all-time leader in career tackles with 454. He’s tied with former New Mexico linebacker Carmen Messina, who played from 2008-2011.
Wyoming controlled the game from the start. They out-gained the Lobos 407-to-83 in total offense.
The Cowboys got a big 37-yard run from Evans on the game’s first possession. That set-up Valladay’s first TD run from 21-yards out. That made it 7-0 just over two minutes into the game.
Evans raced in from 30-yards out midway through the second quarter for a 14-0 lead. A dropped snap on a punt led to New Mexico’s lone score. They took over at the Wyoming 31-yard line. A field goal from 25-yards away by Andrew Shelley made it 14-3. That was the score at halftime.
With five minutes left in the third, Cooper Rothe drilled a 37-yard field goal, which made it 17-3. Early in the fourth quarter, with Ayden Eberhardt at QB, Austin Conway took an option pitch 11-yards for a touchdown and a 24-3 lead. Valladay capped his big day with a 20-yard touchdown run with 9:24 left for the final margin of 31-3.
The Cowboys ran for 366 yards. Tyler Vander Waal had an off-day and was just 4-17 passing for 41 yards. He was sacked three times.
Defensively, Logan Wilson led the way with six tackles, including a sack and tackle for loss. Carl Granderson added five tackles, including a sack and three tackles for loss. Tyler Hall had his first interception of the season in the win, as well. Overall, UW’s defense had four sacks, nine tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, had an interception, and broke up seven passes.
New Mexico (3-9, 1-7) was held to 83 yards on offense. They ran for 49 yards and threw for 34 on 3-17 passing. The Lobos lost their seventh straight to end the season.
Wyoming is now bowl eligible but must wait to see if they receive an invitation to a bowl game after next weekend’s championship games.