Nov 022003
 
Authors: Steve Latuda

With 42 seconds left in the second quarter and the Rams leading

the Cowboys 21-14, Bradlee Van Pelt bobbled a snap from center Mark

Dreyer on the Cowboys 2-yard line and lost the ball in a pile of

pads. When the pile cleared, Wyoming strong safety Jay McNeal not

only recovered the fumble, he also captured the momentum needed for

Cowboys to pull off one of team’s biggest upsets in recent

years.

“I think that the fumble at the end of the first half was huge,”

said head coach Sonny Lubick. “We were in scoring position, and we

fumbled. That gave them momentum going into the half.”

On a drive that began on the Rams’ 21, Van Pelt and company

looked determined to add another seven points to the board and take

a 14-point lead into the locker room.

On the first play of the drive Van Pelt found Chris Pittman for

a 24-yard completion. On the next play, Van Pelt took off down

field running over and past Wyoming defenders with ease to the

Wyoming 9-yard line. Next, senior running back Rahsaan Sanders took

a Van Pelt hand-off and carried the ball down to the two.

But on the next play, a bad exchange between Van Pelt and Dreyer

cost the Rams seven points, and possibly the luxury of smooth

sailing for the rest of the game.

“That (touchdown) would have been big,” said H-back Joel

Dressen. “We take the center-quarterback exchange for granted

because we do it a thousand times in practice, but the momentum

went the other way after the first half.”

In the third quarter, the Rams’ offense made an attempt to

regain its form from the first half, but the Cowboys’ defense

stopped CSU’s first drive after seven plays.

That’s when the Wyoming took the momentum and ran with it.

On their first drive of the third quarter, the Cowboys churned

out an 18-play, 87-yard drive that saw senior quarterback Casey

Bramlet’s 1-yard run produce seven points and tie the game at

21.

In all the Cowboys outscored the Rams 14-0 in the third

quarter.

“They had all the momentum in the first half, and going into the

half down two touchdowns was a big concern for us,” Bramlet said.

“But the defense made a big play, and saved us.”

In all, the Rams had two lost fumbles, a roughing the punter

penalty that gave the Cowboys a first down to allow the Cowboys to

score their first seven points of the game. But it was the fumble

at the end of the first half that seemed to be the key to the

game.

“It was huge,” said Cowboys’ wide receiver Ryan McGuffey of the

fumble. “The defense has been making big plays all year when we

need them to. They bend, but do not break.”

The last time the Rams lost in Wyoming was in 1991, by a score

of 35-28.

“This will feel good for a long time,” said Cowboys head coach

Joe Glenn.

 

 

 

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