Cougars buck the Cowboys

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    By Ryan Hope

    Freshman Matt Berry has steadily improved as the quarterback for BYU.

    Against Wyoming on Saturday, Nov. 9, Berry threw for a career-best 360 yards in the Cougars 35-31 victory. But he also struggled throwing two interceptions and fumbling once.

    “He”s getting better,” head coach Gary Crowton said. “He”s going to be around for a while and he already has one come-from-behind win.”

    The Cougars (5-5) outgained Wyoming (2-8) 532 yards to 359 yards, and ran 25 more plays than the Cowboys, but a few critical mistakes kept the game close.

    On the last play of the third quarter, Wyoming junior safety Jacque Finn intercepted a Berry pass and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown to narrow the Cougars” lead to 28-23.

    On BYU”s next possession, an apparent touchdown pass from Berry to freshman running back Logan Deans was called back because Berry had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball.

    “If I threw it a second earlier it would have been a touchdown,” Berry said. “I also could have probably gotten the first down, but it”s all just part of the learning process.”

    The penalty forced BYU to punt, which led to a Wyoming go-ahead touchdown on a four-yard run by junior running back Derek Armah. A two-point conversion pass from junior quarterback Casey Bramlet to junior receiver Malcom Floyd gave Wyoming a 31-28 lead.

    With nine minutes remaining in the game, Berry led the Cougars on their winning drive.

    On a critical fourth on the Wyoming eight-yard line, Berry kept the ball and ran up the middle for a two-yard gain.

    Two plays later Berry hit senior tight end Gabriel Reid on a bootleg pass for a four-yard touchdown to give the Cougars the lead, 35-31.

    “Nobody on either side of the ball thought that we would lose,” Berry said. “It shouldn”t have been a come from behind win, but we made the plays when we needed to.”

    Wyoming got on the scoreboard first, on a three-yard touchdown run by Bramlet in the first quarter. Earlier in the drive, Bramlet connected on a 66-yard pass to senior receiver Brock Ralph on a key third down play.

    BYU did not score in the first quarter for the seventh time this season.

    BYU countered Wyoming”s touchdown on a four-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Marcus Whalen early in the second quarter. Whalen finished the game with 124 yards on 26 carries.

    The Cougars endured a scare when Berry went out with an injured shoulder in the second quarter, but Berry returned to connect with senior tight end Spencer Nead on a 15-yard pass. The touchdown gave BYU a 14-7 lead.

    But Wyoming responded when Bramlet hit Armah on a 36-yard pass up the sideline for a touchdown to tie the score at 14-14.

    BYU”s final scoring of the first half came on a six-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Lance Pendleton, to give the Cougars a 21-14 lead.

    “We”re five-and-five and that”s pretty good considering where we were,” Crowton said. “It feels good to win.”

    The Cougars need to win one more game to be eligible for a postseason bowl.

    BYU hosts New Mexico on Saturday and travels to Utah on Nov. 23.

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