Wyoming forces 7 turnovers, routs New Mexico 42-3
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming is one of the best teams in the nation in turnover margin, while New Mexico is one of the worst. But few expected the spate of giveaways, seven by the Lobos including five in the first half that turned this one into an early rout.
Josh Allen passed for four touchdowns — two to Austin Fort, who also ran for another — and Wyoming defeated New Mexico 42-3 on Saturday night.
The Cowboys (5-3, 3-1 Mountain West) converted the first five turnovers into touchdowns in building a 42-0 lead at halftime.
New Mexico (3-5, 1-4) entered the game as the 17th-best rushing team in the nation, averaging 251.6 yards per game, but finished with 115, after gaining only 26 in the first half. Last year, the Lobos piled up 568 yards rushing, and Wyoming was focused on avenging a 56-35 defeat in Albuquerque, and slowing the New Mexico ground game.
“I know last year was last year, but that didn’t set well with us,” Cowboys coach Craig Bohl said. “We were focused, came out fast and played an explosive second quarter.”
Fort had TD catches of 4 and 11 yards and added a 2-yard scoring run. Allen, who had a 1-yard sneak for a score, also threw to John Okwoli for a 19-yard touchdown and C.J. Johnson for a 38-yarder. Allen completed 16 of 28 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
“We talked about last season quite a bit, and this coaching staff hadn’t defeated New Mexico in the last three years,” Allen said. “We preached that all week.”
Jason Sanders’ 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter averted a shutout for the Lobos, who suffered their third-straight loss.
Tevaka Tuioti completed 8 of 17 for 47 yards with three interceptions for New Mexico. The Lobos’ Richard McQuarley led all rushers with 43 yards.
New Mexico’s secondary was depleted. Starting free safety Bijon Parker broke his arm in the last game. And against Wyoming, strong safety Jacob Girgle was ejected for targeting in the second quarter and the Lobos also lost Stanley Barnwell Jr. to injury.
Lobos linebacker Alex Hart said the injury-forced lineup switches led to confusion, “but guys weren’t as locked in as they should have been on their guys and what was going on. That goes for offensively and defensively.”
New Mexico coach Bob Davie had never coached a team that gave up five turnovers in one half.
“I’d never seen it where it broke down to that point where it was like, ‘Oh my God. What’s going to happen here?’ It was a numb kind of feeling.”
Andrew Wingard had two of Wyoming’s five interceptions. The Lobos also muffed two punt returns.
“Last week after coming off a game with no takeaways, the coaches really preached turnovers and running to the ball,” Wingard said. “When we simplify the defense and everyone can do their jobs quick, you are able to make those plays.”
Carl Granderson, Marcus Epps and Tyler Hall also had interceptions for the Cowboys.
New Mexico: The Lobos return home to face Utah State on Saturday.
Wyoming: The Cowboys host Colorado State on Saturday.
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