Just ask Virginia about their trip to the plains of Wyoming back in September.
Whether it's the altitude, the rowdy fans, or some other x-factor, Wyoming has playing at home down to a science. Going into Saturday's game between BYU and Wyoming, the Cowboys were 4-1 at home on the year, including the win over then-top-ten Virginia.
Leave it to the Cougars to spoil any hopes of an upset.
BYU broke into Laramie, and walked away with a 35-10 beating of the Cowboys. The in-conference win-streak now stands at 14 for BYU, who didn’t even let the Cowboys make it interesting.
QB Max Hall went 26-37 for 331 yards and three TDs with no picks, and didn’t play for most of the fourth quarter. Hall's efforts were complemented by another stellar performance from freshman RB Harvey Unga, who chipped in 110 yards on the ground, two TDs, and 61 yards receiving.
Traveling to Wyoming can be a daunting experience—but the Cougars, led by Hall and Unga, delivered a knock-out punch the Cowboys couldn’t shake off.
In addition to Hall’s brilliant performance through the air and Unga’s powerful attack on the ground, WR Austin Collie and TE Dennis Pitta also had outstanding afternoons. Collie reeled in eight of Hall's tosses for 103 yards, and Pitta snagged four passes for 58 yards, including an acrobatic 23-yard catch in the endzone.
The performance further shook the confidence of the Cowboys, who left Salt Lake City last week with a 50-0 loss at the hands of the Utes.
Unfortunately for Wyoming, the Cougars picked up right where the Utes left off. With the Cowboys on their heels from the opening whistle, the Cougars didn’t take long to simply overpower Wyoming’s shaky defense.
With the lopsided victory, the Cougars finally broke into the top 25, jumping up to #23 in both the AP and USA Today polls. While the ranking is a few weeks overdue, the Cougars are finally where they belong—among college football’s top teams.
With the Wyoming game now under their belt, the Cougars are able to turn all their focus to Saturday’s showcase against arch rival Utah.
BYU has already clinched at least a share of the conference title. While the Cougars control their own destiny within the Mountain West, anyone who knows anything about their rivalry with the Utes will realize this game goes far beyond the conference crown.
But, that’s a story for later in the week.