Brian Hill’s 289 Rushing Yards Lead Wyoming To 42-34 Win Over Nevada

On the shoulders of Brian Hill’s career-high 289 yards on the ground, the Wyoming Cowboys pulled within one win of bowl eligibility in a 42-34 victory over the Nevada Wolfpack.

The battle everyone came to see heading into the game was Hill versus Nevada running back James Butler. Both were top 20 rushers nationally heading into the game with Butler coming into the game with 822 and Hill right behind him with 721 yards on the year.

Those roles flipped as Hill was unstoppable in rushing for 289 yards to break the 1,000 yard mark on the year and 3,400 yards for his career. Butler only managed 73 yards, his lowest output since a 38 yard performance versus Purdue earlier in the year. Hill, only a junior, is on pace for well over 5,000 yards rushing for his career. That would put him in the rare air of San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey.

Wyoming jumped out quickly with two early touchdowns by Hill to jump ahead 14-3. The Wolfpack responded with a ten play drive to pull within 17-10.

They were immediately matched by Wyoming as quarterback Josh Allen found paydirt from one yard out to extend the lead to 21-10.

With only 1:23 left in the opening half, Nevada quarterback Ty Gangi led the home team to the Wyoming 27-yard line with only :25 left in the half. Spencer Pettit was able to connect from 44 yards out to pull within 21-13. Somehow, the Cowboys used that spare :25 seconds to pull into field goal range. Cooper Rothe’s last second kick was no good, sending the game to intermission at 21-13.

The second half saw both teams score twice to bring the score to 35-27 with Wyoming holding the ball and the lead. Needing a drive to put away the pesky Wolfpack, Wyoming went back to Hill and the star running back responded with two punishing runs of 39 and 20 yards into enemy territory. Allen finished things with a seven yard scamper up the middle to extend the Wyoming lead to 42-27 with under three minutes left in the game.

Nevada was able to drive downfield one more time, scoring on a one-yard run from Butler to cut the deficit to 42-34 with :40 left in the game. The ensuing onside kick was bobbled by the Cowboys, giving new life to the Wolfpack. Two Wyoming players had their hands on the ball, but could not corral it.

Suddenly needing a defensive stop to hold on for the win, redshirt freshman linebacker Logan Wilson came up big in picking off the very first pass attempt of the drive to secure the 42-34 win.

With the win, Wyoming improves to 5-2 on the year and are only one game from punching a bowl ticket for the first time since a trip to the New Mexico Bowl in 2011. Their remaining schedule includes Boise State, Utah State, UNLV, San Diego State, and New Mexico.

Nevada falls to 3-5 on the year with their postseason hopes currently on life support. The good news for the Wolfpack is that it is completely possible for them to go 3-1 and salvage a 6-6 record. The bad news is that they have to beat New Mexico, Utah State or San Diego State, and UNLV to do so. To put it simply, Nevada will miss out on the postseason for the first time since Brian Polian’s first year taking over for legend Chris Ault in 2011.

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