It wasn’t the pristine Southern California conditions either team wanted, but once the rain let up in San Diego, Jamaal Williams and BYU powered their way to a lead and then held on for a 24-21 win over old rival Wyoming on Saturday in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The Cougars tailback started the night out in a discouraging manner by fumbling for just the second time in his college career but rallied to finish the game with 210 yards and a touchdown. Outside of Williams, yards were relatively hard to come by on a night where the wet conditions played a key role in slowing down both offenses. Quarterback Tanner Mangum found the end zone once on the ground and once through the air off a crazy tip-drill touchdown catch, but otherwise was unable to move the ball consistently with his arm (8-of-15 for 96 yards, one interception).
Wyoming didn’t have much more luck as signal-caller Josh Allen (207 yards, two scores, two picks) struggled to get things going in the passing game until coming alive in the fourth quarter on two touchdown drives. Tailback Brian Hill sat out the first quarter as a result of a coach’s decision but managed to be the focal point for the Cowboys offense after entering the game and finished with 93 yards and a score.
It wasn’t meant to be however, despite a late rally to make things more interesting on the scoreboard that came to a close with a Kai Nacua interception to end the threat and preserve the Cougars’ fourth win in eight one-score games.
The sloppy victory also helped cap off a terrific debut season for BYU’s rookie coach Kalani Sitake. The team finished with nine wins this year and won their eighth straight against Wyoming in one of the older rivalries out West that was broken up due to conference realignment but found new life in a bowl game.