Ohio defeated Wyoming 30-27 in overtime to win the Arizona Bowl on a game-winning touchdown reception in front of 27,691 fans Friday night at Arizona Stadium.
Ohio quarterback CJ Harris, who completed 20 of 33 attempts for 184 yards and two touchdowns, found tight end Tyler Foster in the back of the end zone over defender Shae Suiaunoa for the win.
“It was pretty huge. He (Wyoming kicker John Hoyland) was able to come down and get the field goal sending it to overtime. Emotions were high and I was feeling pretty confident in myself, then I saw a one-on-one matchup, and I said, ‘I’ve got to get here to my guy,’ Tyler came down with it and we celebrated in the end zone.”
Hoyland kicked a 45-yard field goal with eight seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Hoyland kicked a 29-yard field goal in the first possession in overtime, giving Wyoming a 27-24 lead.
The win gives the Bobcats its fourth 10-win season in school history.
“I’ve got to start by saying congratulations to coach Bohl (Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl), his staff, and his football team,” Ohio head coach Tim Albin said. “He’s a great leader. They battled to the end as our team did. We’re just fortunate to come out with a victory.”
Wyoming running back Jordon Vaughn, who finished with 67 yards and two rushing touchdowns, scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown to put Wyoming up 24-21 with 2:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.
He got the start because the Cowboys’ top four rushers were not in uniform.
Wyoming held a 17-11 lead over Ohio at halftime.
It took both offenses some time to find a rhythm to begin the second half, with four punts on the first four possession of the third quarter.
With 5:14 remaining in the third quarter, Ohio running back Sieh Bangura put the Bobcats up 18-17 with a 3-yard rushing touchdown. He had a 40-yard run on the play leading up to the touchdown.
On the following possession, Ohio’s defense forced Wyoming to punt after quarterback Andrew Peasley, who completed 18 of 30 attempts for 186 yards and a touchdown, was sacked by defensive end Shane Bonner for a nine-yard loss near midfield.
Ohio would punt on its next possession.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Ohio cornerback Torrie Cox Jr. intercepted a deep pass by Peasley.
The Bobcats and the Cowboys traded punts on the next two possessions.
With 4:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, Vakos kicked a 45-yard field goal to extend Ohio’s lead to 21-17.
Wyoming scored on the game’s first possession, methodically driving down the field on a 9-play 70-yard opening drive, capped off by a 17-yard rushing touchdown from Jordon Vaughn.
Ohio answered on its first drive when quarterback CJ Harris connected with Jacoby Jones on a 34-yard touchdown reception to finish a 58-yard drive.
After Major Brown caught a reception for a two-point conversion, Ohio was up 8-7 on Wyoming.
“It wasn’t really anything that we saw on film. It’s something that we’ve repped I really think for the whole year,” Albin said. “It just never really presented itself, and we thought, lets roll with it… There have been times it’s been called, and we changed it based on the look. There’s a lot of things that go into that, but running it at the right time is very critical, and it worked out for us.”
On the following possession, Wyoming punted from Ohio’s 44 yard-line. Cole DeMarzo recovered a muffed punt return, giving the Cowboys the ball on Ohio’s 17-yard line.
Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley found tight end Treyton Welch on a 17-yard touchdown pass on the next play to put Wyoming back on top 14-8 with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter.
Ohio opened up the second quarter with a 43-yard field goal from Nathanial Vakos to close the gap to 14-11.
The next scoring opportunity of the game came when Vakos missed a 53-yard field goal with 4:47 left in the second quarter.
The Cowboys and the Bobcats traded punts on the next two possessions.
Wyoming extended its lead to 17-11 at halftime after John Hoyland kicked a 53-yard with four seconds remaining in the second quarter.
The game on Friday night marks the third overtime game in the Arizona Bowl’s seven-game history, including 2017, when New Mexico State defeated Utah State, and Nevada’s win over Arkansas State in 2018.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.