Kirkegaard’s Heroics Lift Wyoming Past Air Force, 17-13
Colby Kirkegaard tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to J.D. Krill with 58 seconds left to help the University of Wyoming Cowboys defeat the Air Force Falcons 17-13 Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
That play capped the first game-winning drive of Kirkegaard's career and helped the Cowboys to a victory in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.
"We didn't have any doubt (on the sidelines). I mean, it was a different mentality going in to that last drive... We just made plays; things opened up; we were just opportunistic."
Kirkegaard was 6-7 for 73 yards on the winning drive, and he connected with five different receivers.
For Krill, it was his first career touchdown reception in a Cowboys uniform.
He said, "I can't even put words to it. I'm incredibly happy right now. My first college touchdown couldn't have come at a better time. Just winning it for my team, there's no better feeling than that."
Air Force had taken a 13-10 lead on a 32-yard field with 3:25 remaining. That completed an 18-play scoring drive that lasted nearly eight minutes of the fourth quarter.
Wyoming (2-0, 1-0) never led until that game-winning t-d. They fell behind 10-0 before Kirkegaard connected with Jalen Claiborne on an 11-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone with 4:11 left in the first half.
The first turnover of the game led to the Cowboys tying the score at 10 early in the fourth quarter. The Falcons went for it on fourth down at their own 42. Jordan Stanton stuffed Air Force fullback Broam Hart and force a fumble that was recovered by Patrick Mertens.
The ensuing drive resulted in a 33-yard Stuart Williams field goal.
Both defenses slowed down the opposing team's ground attack. The Falcons were held to 151 yards, while Wyoming was limited to 51.
That led to more of an aerial attack from both squads. Wyoming's Kirkegaard finished 23-37 for 282 yards and the two scores, while Air Force's Kale Pearson was 17-32 for 226 yards.
Cowboy head coach Craig Bohl said, "I've always heard about great games between Air Force and Wyoming, and this certainly was one of those. It was a hard fought game; lots of ebbs and flows during the course of the game; and we're certainly pleased that we won."
It won't get any easier for the Pokes. They go on the road to face the 3rd-ranked Oregon Ducks next Saturday at noon.