LARAMIE, Wyo. — Bohl-ball is now the official brand of Wyoming football.
“This is going to be a new brand of football,” new coach Craig Bohl said after Wyoming ground out a 17-12 win over Montana on Saturday behind a methodical pro-style, ball-controlling offense and a stingy, swarming defense.
Shaun Wick rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown, D.J. May added 96 yards and a score and the Cowboys defense held Montana to 253 yards total offense. Wyoming (1-0) has beaten Montana, a Football Championship Subdivision school, in all 14 of their matchups.
Of the 301 total yards gained by the Cowboys against the Grizzlies, 209 came on the ground.
The Grizzlies (0-1) were led by quarterback Jordan Johnson, who completed 24 of 45 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown.
Bohl was hired last December after leading North Dakota State to three consecutive FCS national championships.
Bohl’s style of football is completely opposite from the quick-strike, high-scoring offense and a worn out, porous defense that resulted in few wins for Wyoming in recent years under former coach Dave Christensen.
Wyoming’s offense averaged 31.2 points and 472.8 yards per game last year, while the defense gave up 36.7 points and 482 yards a game.
Bohl, on the other hand, stresses “field position” football and running the clock down.
“The ultimate deal is to win the game, it doesn’t count on style points,” he said.
On Wyoming’s last offensive series of the game, the Cowboys drove down to Montana’s 9-yard line with 1:23 left, but chose to run time off the clock rather than trying to score. The Grizzlies only had 2 seconds left when they got the ball back after Wyoming turned it over on downs on the Montana 16 yard line.
The new offense did its job on Wyoming’s first possession of the game, driving 57 yard in 12 plays for a 41-yard field goal by Stuart Williams.
But the Cowboys had two other drives into Montana territory ended by an interception in the end zone and a fumble on a quarterback sack — one of four sacks by the Grizzlies in the first half.
Montana took a 6-3 lead into halftime on a 26-yard TD pass from wide receiver Josh Janssen to Ryan Burke on a trick play. The extra point failed.
“When we did get down, nobody on the sideline really panicked,” Wyoming defensive end Eddie Yarbrough said. “We knew our time was coming.”
That time came in the third quarter when Wyoming scored both its TDs — a 5-yard run by Wick and a 58-yard run by May.
Johnson connected with Mike Ralston on a 16-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies couldn’t muster any more drives against the Cowboys defense.
“You come and play an FBS team like Wyoming or any of them and certainly want to put your kids in a position where they get an opportunity to win the game, and we did that and played very well in a lot of instances,” Montana coach Mick Delaney said. “We wore down and broke down in the second half.”
The game was delayed twice by lightning for a total of about an hour, but players and coaches from both teams said it didn’t affect how each team performed.
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