The Washington State Cougars scored 28 unanswered points to win their season debut over the Wyoming Cowboys for a 41-19 victory Saturday in Laramie.

Gardner Minshew II threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns, while the Cougars defense held UW to 206 yards of total offense.

Cooper Rothe’s 30-yard field goal gave Wyoming a 19-13 lead just over six minutes into the second half. The Cowboys failed to score after that and had just four more first downs the rest of the game.

UW also hurt themselves with 13 penalties for 109 yards in the game.

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl talked about his team’s inability to pressure Minshew and praised the Cougars offensive line. He also spoke about the Cowboys’ struggles offensively with missed assignments and not finishing drives, and addressed the number of penalties his squad had.

Washington State (1-0) scored on its first two possessions. They took a 10-0 lead before a high snap on a punt turned into a safety when UW’s Jevon Bigelow tackled the punter in the end zone.

The Pokes capitalized on two takeaways. Garrett Crall striped the ball away from a Cougars running back at the Washington State 30-yard line. Five plays later Nico Evans scored on an eight-yard touchdown run.

After a Cougars field goal made 13-9, an interception by Antonio Hull near midfield got Wyoming the ball back. Four plays later, Avante’ Cox scored on a fly sweep from 23 yards out and gave the Cowboys their first lead at 16-13.

Wyoming (1-1) opened the second half with a lengthy drive. After 13 plays, UW settled for Rothe’s field.

The Cougars came right back with a 10-play drive capped by Minshew’s 6-yard TD pass to Max Borghi that gave Washington State the lead for good, 20-19, with 3:51 left in the third quarter.

Another Minshew TD pass of seven yards to Easop Winston, a Borghi touchdown run from 14 yards and a 3-yard TD run by James Williams finished off the Cougars 22-point win.

Nico Evans led the Wyoming rushing attack with 89 yards on 18 carries, but he left the game in the third quarter due to injury and never returned. Freshman Jevon Bigelow added 42 yards on 11 carries, mostly after Evans’ injury.

Quarterback Tyler Vander Waal was only 8-20 for 67 yards passing. He was sacked three times and threw one interception. Vander Waal admitted it was frustrating because they knew they had a chance.

Logan Wilson led the Wyoming defense with 12 tackles, which included one for loss. He knew penalties were a factor but said it came down to them not executing their game plan.

The Cowboys next game doesn’t get any easier with their first-ever meeting against the Missouri Tigers. They were picked to finish fourth in the SEC East Division race. Next Saturday’s game in Columbia, MO will start at 5 p.m., Mountain Time.

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