AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Josh Allen paved the way for Wyoming’s latest win, and his teammates closed it out after he went down with an injury.
Allen passed for one touchdown and ran for another before being sidelined, and Wyoming’s stout defensive play helped it weather the loss of its quarterback in a 28-14 win over Air Force on Saturday night.
The Cowboys (7-3, 5-1 Mountain West) scored 21 of their points, including Kellen Overstreet’s 9-yard touchdown run that capped the scoring with 8:51 remaining, off three Air Force (4-6, 3-3) turnovers. Allen completed 8 of 11 passes for 70 yards, including a 17-yard scoring pass to Jared Scott before being injured early in the third quarter. He also had a 2-yard touchdown run.
“We felt confident we were going to win with or without Josh,” said Wyoming running back Trey Woods, who ran for a touchdown and helped set up the Cowboys’ final score. “Having him on our team is a big plus, but when he’s not out there we know we can win it for him.”
There was no immediate word on the nature of Allen’s injury though he was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Allen walked off the field and was cradling his right arm before going into a medical tent on the sideline to be examined.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl did not elaborate on Allen’s injury following the game but indicated the quarterback faced further medical evaluation.
“We’ll find out. We’ll know a lot more tomorrow,” Bohl said. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Garrett Crall’s recovery of a fumble by Air Force quarterback Arion Worthman at the Wyoming 33 set up Overstreet’s score. Nick Smith, who replaced the injured Allen, completed a 38-yard pass to Woods to the 19 and, one play later, Overstreet bulled his way up the middle for the touchdown.
“We knew what we had to do. We knew we had to score again,” Smith said. “That was a big part of our game. We had to finish out that fourth quarter and that’s what I feel like we did. We didn’t let it take control of us.”
Wyoming’s defense did its part, too, fending off the Falcons the rest of the way.
“If you had to pick one factor, it definitely was the turnovers,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “It leads to short fields including their very first touchdown. We didn’t protect well. We didn’t handle the ball well.”
Trailing by 14 points, the Falcons narrowed the gap with Taven Birdow’s 10-yard touchdown run with 9:35 left in the third quarter. But the mistake-prone Falcons could not sustain their comeback bid.
Air Force broke through for its initial score with just seconds left in the second quarter, pulling to within 21-7 at halftime on Worthman’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Bennett. The Falcons wide receiver beat double coverage and caught the ball in stride as he crossed into the end zone.
Wyoming bolted to the early lead, capitalizing on Falcons mistakes for their first two touchdowns of the game. Safety Marcus Epps, roaming the middle of the field, picked off a Worthman pass and took it back 33 yards to the 24. Four plays later, Woods dove into the end zone from a yard away for Wyoming’s first score. The Cowboys made it 14-0 on Scott’s TD catch, a possession that began with Logan Wilson hitting Birdow, forcing a fumble. Jalen Ortiz recovered the loose ball for the Cowboys at the Air Force 34. A pass interference penalty against Air Force got the Cowboys closer and Allen then connected with Scott for the score. Allen capped a 69-yard drive by running 2 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback sweep, putting the Cowboys up 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
Wyoming: The Cowboys won their third straight game and have victories in six of the past seven but the loss to injury of Allen creates some offensive uncertainty. Depending on the severity of the injury, the Cowboys may have to lean on a defense that is among the most opportunistic in the nation, coming up with 26 takeaways this season.
Air Force: The Falcons, coming off a shutout loss to Army a week ago, again struggled to score. The Falcons were down 21-0 before finally getting a touchdown and their productivity continues to be stymied by turnovers.
Wyoming: Returns home to host Fresno State next Saturday.
Air Force: Visits conference powerhouse Boise State next Saturday night.