LARAMIE, Wyo. — Austin Fort’s first career reception took a while to arrive.

Fort missed the first five games of the season with a knee injury. In his first game back, he wasn’t targeted. The first four passes thrown his way Saturday at Boise State didn’t do the trick, either. One was thrown behind him, and another was intercepted.

But when he and Josh Allen finally connected, it was well worth it. It was a 20-yard touchdown pass that gave Wyoming the lead.

“It was a relief, because we kept trying to get the right look and make it happen,” said Fort, a junior. “So when I finally did, I felt good. It was my first career touchdown, my first career catch, so to have that behind me, now I can just move forward and have some experience.”

The Cowboys trailed 10-7 before Fort’s catch, which came with 17 seconds left in the third quarter of Wyoming’s 24-14 loss.

“It was a fun moment,” Fort said. “It was a good experience just to get my hands on the ball. I had five targets, so I was kind of keeping the faith, trusting that it was going to work out, and to finally get my hands on the ball felt really good.”

Allen had to work to get Fort the ball. To evade pressure, he rolled to his right and threw almost across his body to get the ball back to Fort, something he had a habit of doing last year with senior receiver Tanner Gentry.

“Well, after watching him last year, you know how he’s never going to let a play die, kind of the spots that you can get to,” said Fort, a Gillette graduate. “So I knew that even if he had a guy on him, he was going to get the ball out, so I just kept moving with him and just tried to get to a spot where he could put it up.”

Allen didn’t use his pointer finger to direct Fort to a specific spot like he so often did with Gentry, but he did use pump fakes.

“I think he was trying to move the defense a little bit,” Fort told the Casper Star-Tribune , “so I just tried to stay with him, and I kind of had a feeling of where he was going to put it.”

Allen’s first interception of the game was an overthrow of Fort that DeAndre Pierce returned 46 yards on the first play of the second quarter.

“I think he might have left it a little bit high,” Fort said of the throw. “I know that he had some pressure. I didn’t even see the guy out there. It’s kind of hard with the all-blue on the blue turf as well. We didn’t make it happen.”

Fort said he will likely have to wear a knee brace the rest of the season.

“I’m getting a little more used to it every day,” he said, “so I’ve just got to keep working with it.”

He appeared more comfortable Saturday. Even though just one of his targets resulted in a completion, the frequency with which he was open is a positive sign for a Wyoming offense that has had its struggles with getting separation.

“He’s a bigger dude, and he runs a little different than our other tight ends,” Allen said. “He’s a pass-catcher, and he’s able to do some good things in that situation. So we’re going to continue to incorporate him and try to find ways to get him the ball, because with the ball in his hand, he’s a dangerous dude. Because he’s big, he’s fast, and he can go catch. So we’ll continue to look for him.”


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com