Wyoming vs. Texas Tech: Through the Team’s Eyes

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 11:55 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Texas Tech Red Raiders became the first Power Five team to play a game in Laramie since 2019.

The last? The University of Missouri, who returned to Columbia 0-1 on their season after a Wyoming comeback victory. Ultimately, the Red Raiders would go on to suffer the same fate.

”I knew there was going to be an explosion from the state of Wyoming, and they were excited for us to see what we can do and who we are as the 2023 Cowboys. So to see all those fans from all over the state come out and support, I think it was definitely an edge for us in that game,” sixth-year offensive tackle and Laramie native Frank Crum said.

“All summer, you know we talked about opening with Tech. They’ve got a really high powered offense... and throw the ball around a lot but have a good running back too. So we knew that we all had to be firing on all cylinders for that game,” sophomore nickel corner Wrook Brown said.

It’s hard to describe the feeling in Laramie after their season opener. The night would eventually earn a spot in many Wyoming fans’ hearts, but it didn’t start as magically as it ended.

“We did not start fast. Every check point that I did talk about in the pregame meal of things we’re going to need to, I was like ‘did these guys even listen?’ So there was certainly an amount of frustration, but the players worked through those mistakes and then good things started to happen,” head coach Craig Bohl said.

“John Hoyland stopped the bleeding there with that crazy field goal. So I think that was kind of the spark, and then the defense started getting some really big stops, and then we went on a couple long drives and started converting. But it all started with John Hoyland’s what was it, 56 yard field goal for sure,” Crum said.

Hoyland’s career-long field goal was the match, and the gasoline to reignite the team was Brown’s pick on the very next drive.

“I got to the top of the route, and we’d seen it on film. It’s something that we ran in practice, Coach Sawvel told us the route tree and said it’s a route they like to run. It’s called a K-route, and right at the top of the route I kind of had a hunch it was coming. So I got a good speed turn at the top,” Brown said.

The interception led to an Andrew Peasley touchdown pass to Thunder Basin grad Caleb Driskill, and just a seven point halftime deficit. However, in those first 30 minutes Peasley had taken some big hits and was struggling with the pain. Despite that, the QB knew there was no chance he wouldn’t play.

“I was hurting. Coach Bohl asked me how I was at halftime and I just said my body hurt. He said ‘can you run?’ And I said ‘yeah. Yeah I got you,’” Peasley said

The Cowboys only had one full offensive drive in the third quarter, but made it count. They chewed up seven and a half minutes off the clock, and then Sam Scott shook free to tie it.

“Things started to open up late in the quarter. They started to get a little tired, and we started to punch them in the mouth a little bit. So like that play-- the touchdown-- just green grass from our line being able to push things out and get me up the middle was amazing,” Scott said.

Both teams traded fourth quarter field goals to send it to overtime, as the Wyoming defense put on a masterful performance-- allowing just those three second half points.

“We never pointed a finger. We never were blaming somebody else, you know? We took that ownership and we were like ‘ok, well what do we gotta do?’ Like we’ve been in this situation before, and so I feel like we leaned on the offense, offense leaned on us,” junior defensive tackle and former Natrona Mustang Jordan Bertagnole said.

The Pokes took the ball first in overtime, and Peasley continued to gut it out running the ball. Eventually, he found the endzone.

“Man, he showed a lot of heart. I’m super proud of him. I mean that’s why he’s our quarterback, you know? He did his job, he did what he needed to do, and I’m just super proud of him,” junior linebacker Shae Suiaunoa said.

Even after the score, the battle was far from over. Texas Tech responded with a touchdown of their own, and another touchdown to open the second overtime period. A missed two point conversion left Wyoming an opening, but the game hung in the balance on fourth and seven.

“Based on our protection rule and the playcall, I knew exactly where I was going with the ball [on the game-tying touchdown in double overtime.] You know, we called that play before and I was a little late to [John Michael Gyllenborg.] I think it would’ve been a touchdown too. So I kind of just had an idea of what they were going to do because they were doing it all game. They brought the pressure, and I found my replacement which was J-Mike,” Peasley said.

“To be able to put it in for the [game-winning] two point conversion was a dream come true,” Smith said. “That was a surreal feeling. Crossing that goal line, chills all over my body.”

“Oh it was electric. I’m getting chills right now thinking about it. I don’t know, first instinct you just want to run somewhere, hug your teammates. And then the fans are piling onto the field, that was pretty cool to get to celebrate with the fans,” Brown said.

“Honestly I don’t even think it’s fully sank in. I mean I was walking off the field and I’m like ‘gosh, did we really just beat them?’” Bertagnole said. “Like they’re a great team, and we’re a great team. So it was definitely good to go out there and show the world what we’re capable of.”

“In that locker room we know what we are. So we just gotta go out there and prove it. It’s a lot of love, a lot of trust in there. So we know what we’re capable of, and [Saturday night] we did it,” Suiaunoa said.

“Going out there, I love this town, I love this state. This was my dream as a kid,” Crum said. “Like [Bertagnole] was saying, [The Wyoming natives on the team are] the ‘Wild Boys’. It means something to us. It’s different. So I take an immense deal of pride in this win [Saturday night], but this team, this state, that crowd, that was unbelievable. That was electric. It was probably the most fun I’ve had at a home game for sure.”