LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) Playing defense in football comes down to attitude, San Jose State coach Ron Caragher says.
”Our defensive guys have a great attitude,” Caragher said after his Spartans beat Wyoming 27-20 in overtime Saturday thanks to a defense that gave up just 11 first downs.
Offensively, Joe Gray passed for two touchdowns, including a 4-yard TD pass to Tyler Winston in overtime, and ran for another.
After the Spartans scored on their overtime possession, the San Jose State defense stopped Wyoming on downs when linebacker Christian Tago dropped running back Shaun Wick at the 19-yard line for a 1-yard loss on fourth and 3.
Tago led the Spartans with 13 tackles.
”I’m so proud of our guys, the resiliency and determination to finish and finish strong,” Caragher said of the defensive stand to end the game.
The victory was the first road win this season for San Jose State (3-3, 2-1 Mountain West) and its first road win following a bye week since 1993. It was the first home loss this season for the Cowboys (3-4, 1-2).
”It’s a huge boost for us to get a win on the road because of that confidence,” Caragher said. ”When you never quit or give up and always compete, good things happen.”
The Spartans defense, which entered this week ranked 18th in the nation, held Wyoming to 277 yards total offense, including 119 yards passing.
”They have the No. 1 defense in the league and it was going to be hard moving the ball,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said.
Wyoming had just four first downs and 73 yards total offense through three quarters.
One of Wyoming’s scores came from its defense when cornerback Blair Burns took the ball from San Jose State running back from Limihai Hifo, who was stacked up in a scrum after a short gain, and raced 63 yards untouched to the end zone.
Gray completed 33 of 45 passes for 322 yards as San Jose State compiled 31 first downs.
In addition to his TD pass to Winston, Gray connected with Hansell Wilson on a 13-yard score and scored on an 18-yard run.
Tyler Ervin rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries for San Jose State.
Austin Lopez had two field goals, including a 50-yarder to tie the game at 20 with 42 seconds remaining in regulation.
Wyoming had a chance to win in regulation but a 46-yard field goal attempt by Stuart Williams with 2 seconds left hit the right post and bounced back onto the field.
The Cowboys were led by Shaun Wick, who rushed 16 times for 96 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown scamper through the middle of the Spartans defense on fourth and 1 in the fourth quarter.
Wick, who entered game averaging 6.42 yards per carry and having rushed for over 100 yards four times in the first six games, had just 18 yards on eight carries through the first three quarters.
Bohl said he was OK with Wyoming’s play calling in overtime.
”We are a running football team, even though we hadn’t run it great during the majority of the game,” he said. ”At the end, I thought it started to come together, and we felt comfortable with the call.”