ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Once Wyoming freshman quarterback
Karsten Sween stopped making mistakes, he had no trouble making
Sween made up for a bad first half with two second half
touchdown passes and the Cowboys rallied for a 14-10 win over New
Mexico Saturday night.
Sween, who fumbled and was intercepted twice in the first half,
got the Cowboys' offense rolling with TD passes of 12 yards to
Hoost Marsh midway through the third quarter and a 4-yard TD pass
to Michael Ford with 12:48 left in the game.
"Coming into the half I was really down for the opportunities
that we had wasted," said Sween, who was as solid in the second
half as he was shaky in the first two quarters. "We were able to
persevere, get a couple of touchdowns and get a win."
Wins have been rare for the Cowboys, who came in having loss
four straight, all by seven points or less. Included were an
overtime loss at Virginia, a 17-10 loss to nationally ranked Boise
State and a double-overtime 40-34 loss last week at Syracuse.
Wyoming (2-4, 1-1 MWC) won for only the second time in the last
12 games and the Cowboys broke a six-game losing streak against New
Mexico (2-4, 0-2).
Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said the difference this time was the
Cowboys' ability to shake off their first half problems.
"We took one series where we missed the ball, another series
where we threw it a little high. Our quarterback couldn't find his
rhythm too good. But he settled in and we got our running game
going. That helped him a lot," Glenn said.
Sween completed 19 of 32 passes for 204 yards and the Wyoming
backs combined for 114 yards rushing.
Wyoming could do little right in the first half and New Mexico
did just enough to take a 10-0 lead. But New Mexico's offense,
which struggled all night, stalled in the second half as neither
senior Chris Nelson nor freshman Donovan Porterie could move the
New Mexico's last scoring chance ended at the Wyoming 43 on
downs with 1:31 left.
New Mexico coach Rocky Long said the problems on offense were
"If we're making assignment errors, that makes it hard to do
it," Long said. "If we don't execute our assignment ... you don't
move the ball on offense. If you don't throw it very well, if you
don't catch it very well. There's a whole list of things that we
didn't do very well."
The Lobos' blitzing defense rattled Sween into three first half
turnovers and converted two of them into a 1-yard touchdown run by
Rodney Ferguson with 6:19 left in the first quarter and a 45-yard
Kenny Byrd field goal in the second quarter.
New Mexico had just three first downs in putting up the 10
points and the signs of the Lobos' struggles on offense were
Ferguson's touchdown followed a fumble by Sween at the Cowboys'
23. Byrd's field goal came after Lobo defensive back Quincy Black
picked off a deflected pass from Sween and returned it 35 yards to
the Wyoming 38.
Sween, getting his first start of the season after nearly
rallying the Cowboys to a win at Syracuse last week, was
intercepted on the Cowboys' opening drive which reached the Lobo
25. Sween tried to force a pass in the end zone and defensive back
DeAndre Wright made the easy pick.
Wyoming had a chance to score in the final seconds of the first
half when Ferguson fumbled at the New Mexico 24 and Wyoming nose
guard Fred Givens recovered. But kicker Aric Goodman's 41-yard
field goal attempt as time expired was wide right.
But with New Mexico's offense going nowhere, Wyoming took over
in the second half. Wyoming scored on its first possession on a
seven-play, 64-yard drive that included a 25-yard pass from Sween
to Tyler Holden to the New Mexico 28.
The Cowboys took the lead for good on the Sween to Ford pass
that finished off a nine-play, 78-yard drive. Sween hit tight end
Chris Sundberg with a 33-yard pass to the New Mexico 21 and two
plays later found Holden open for a 13-yarder to the Lobo 6.
"It was a heck of a catch," Sween said of his throw to
Sundberg that found its way between a pair of defenders to the
6-foot-5, 238-pound tight end. "It was open, but it wasn't wide
open. I put it up there and I saw the ball kind of get tipped. When
he showed up with the ball, I was like, `good God."
Three plays later he had Ford open in the middle of the end
Wyoming had 318 total yards to New Mexico's season-low 190.