10:45 PM ET, December 23, 2004
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The Wyoming Cowboys simply refused to lose another bowl game.
Corey Bramlet drilled a 12-yard touchdown pass to John Wadkowski with 57 seconds left Thursday night to give Wyoming its first bowl win in 38 years, a 24-21 victory over favored UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.
"I couldn't be happier for our whole team, and I think it is a shot of spirit for our whole state," second-year Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said.
After beating Florida State in the 1966 Sun Bowl, the Cowboys lost their next six bowls and hadn't even been invited to one since 1993.
Glenn said a letter from Tom Frazier, a friend of his, helped inspire the Cowboys.
"Since 1966, we hadn't won a bowl game, and the captain of that team (Frazier) wrote our team a great letter," Glenn said. "He said that there's nothing like standing on the field looking at the scoreboard, walking away as a senior and winning a bowl game in your last year.
"Now our guys can do that."
Bramlet finished 20-of-34 for 307 yards and two touchdowns. He took the Cowboys 72 yards to the winning score on a drive that began with 4:02 remaining, after UCLA's Justin Medlock missed a 45-yard field goal.
Bramlet kept the final drive alive with a quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-1 at the UCLA 27. A pass-interference call against UCLA cornerback Matt Clark moved the ball to the 12, and Bramlet found Wadkowski open across the middle.
"I knew what the coverage was and what they were giving us, and I knew it was there. John was thinking the same thing," Bramlet said.
Jovon Bouknight had five catches for 107 yards and threw a touchdown pass for Wyoming (7-5).
Trailing 21-10, the Cowboys closed within four points on a trick play early in the fourth quarter, with Bouknight throwing a 22-yard scoring pass to J.J. Raterink off a reverse.
Bramlet rallied the Cowboys after UCLA reserve quarterback David Koral threw two touchdown passes to put the Bruins ahead.
Koral, a junior college transfer who hadn't thrown a pass for UCLA, took over when Drew Olson went down with a sprained left knee 4:47 before halftime and the Bruins trailing 10-7.
Koral's second college pass went for a 17-yard touchdown to Craig Bragg with 1:50 left in the half, then he connected on a 25-yarder to Bragg midway though the third quarter to build the lead to 21-10.
Maurice Drew ran for 126 yards on 25 carries for UCLA.
"We played a lackluster football game," second-year UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "They (the Cowboys) fought every inch of the way. They made plays at the end of the game and that was the difference."
The Bruins (6-6) beat New Mexico 27-13 in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl, the only win in their last five bowl appearances.
Koral finished 7-of-12 for 89 yards and the two touchdowns. Olson, who was 6-of-12 for 96 yards and one TD, twisted his knee on a sack by John Flora.
"Watching on the sidelines was the hardest thing I've had to do ever," Olson said. "It's a helpless feeling."
Koral said, "It's amazing to get an opportunity to make something happen. I wish the outcome could have been different, that just kills me."
Wyoming took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter before the favored Bruins began to come back.
UCLA closed the gap to 10-7 in the second quarter on Olson's 29-yard scoring pass to Junior Taylor. Koral, who had appeared in two games and taken only five snaps for UCLA, put the Bruins up 14-10 with his first TD pass to Bragg.
Bragg later made a spectacular leaping grab and got his feet down just inbounds in the end zone for the third-quarter TD that gave the Bruins an 11-point lead.
Deric Yaussi's 39-yard field goal got the Cowboys on the board with 5:57 left in the opening quarter.
|3rd Down Conversions||4-14||5-15|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-1|
|FG||5:57||DERIC YAUSSI 39 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||4:11||TYLER HOLDEN 10 YD PASS FROM COREY BRAMLET (DERIC YAUSSI KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 29 yards.
|TD||7:58||JUNIOR TAYLOR 29 YD PASS FROM DREW OLSON (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 56 yards.
|TD||1:50||CRAIG BRAGG 17 YD PASS FROM DAVID KORAL (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 30 yards.
|TD||7:11||CRAIG BRAGG 25 YD PASS FROM DAVID KORAL (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||12:50||J.J. RATERINK 22 YD PASS FROM JOVON BOUKNIGHT (DERIC YAUSSI KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 63 yards.
|TD||0:57||JOHN WADKOWSKI 12 YD PASS FROM COREY BRAMLET (DERIC YAUSSI KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 72 yards.