The Wyoming Cowboys, (1−2), took the field with the hot UNLV Rebels ‚(2−1), at War Memorial Stadium hoping to earn a conference win early in their season, Saturday.
True freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels had his first start in college football and it also marked the first time the Cowboys have had a true freshman quarterback start since the 70s. A large amount of pressure was on the young-gun, being that the offense has struggled throughout the season so far letting their defense do all the work.
Right out of the gate, the Pokes put three points on the board after a UNLV fumble on their own seven-yard line, as freshman kicker Ian Watts made his first ever field goal attempt from 29-yards. Wyoming had failed to get into the end zone on their first five drives of the game with Carta-Samuels not playing to his full potential. The young quarterback was not connecting on any of his throws and it was beginning to look like another all defensive game for the Cowboys.
Trailing UNLV 6–13 with less than six minutes to go, Carta-Samuels drove his offense 80-yards where he connected a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Stewart for the Cowboys first offensive touchdown in 10 quarters, last time being the Weber State game earlier in the month. That touchdown must have been the motivation the team needed, because the offense exploded on the field after that drive.
Carta-Samuels went 24–37 passing with 3 touchdowns and 234-yards. The greenhorn quarterback managed to work out all of his freshman jitters early in the game and didnt look back once he gained up some confidence and figured out the Rebel defense.
[blockquote]Im kind of one of those quarterbacks where the first drive of the game is not always my favorite, I like the third or fourth, once you see what theyre coming out In I can adjust for it. stated Carta-Samuels. [/blockquote]
UNLV kept scoring, reclaiming the lead two more times in the second half, but Wyoming kept answering back with scoring drives of their own, eventually taking a 30–27 lead with 4:21 to go in the game calling on Watts for the third time. Watts went 3–3 kicking field goals with the game winner under his belt in just his first game.
The Rebels were unable to get in the end zone on their last possession and fumbled the snap for the potentially game tying field goal from 50-yards out with just 1:19 to go. The ball was recovered by Wyomings Corey Orth and UNLV was unable to get another chance.
Wyoming closed out UNLV 30–27 making Wyomings record 2–2 and 1–0 in the Mountain West Conference. UNLV dropped to 0–1 in the conference and 2–2 overall.
We just stepped up today, thats what we need to do every time, we need to progress up this game and continue to build, said wide receiver David Leonard who had 89-yards receiving and 1 touchdown.