Far West Roundup : Wyoming Wallops Utah, 31-7

From Times Wire Services

Wyoming Coach Paul Roach says he questioned his decision to kick off against Utah Saturday, but it paid off when the kickoff was fumbled and the Cowboys recovered on the Utah one-yard line.

Steve Bena crashed into the end zone on the next play and the Cowboys went on to crush Utah, 31-7, at Salt Lake City and remain atop the Western Athletic Conference standings.

Roach said he regreted his decision to kick off rather than receive, but only until Utah fumbled. "The fumble on the kickoff gave us a big lift," he said.

Utah, held scoreless until the game's closing seconds, never recovered.

Wyoming is 8-2 overall and 6-0 in WAC play. Wyoming can wrap up the conference championship next Saturday when it plays Texas El Paso, which lost to Brigham Young Saturday. BYU is 6-1 in conference play; UTEP and Air Force are 5-2.

Utah fell to 5-6 overall and 2-5 in the WAC.

Wyoming, which rushed for 301 yards, led, 21-0, after the first quarter.

Bena scored three touchdowns for the Cowboys, with one coming on a 56-yard run. Wyoming's Gerald Abraham rushed for 172 yards.

Utah Coach Jim Fassell said: "We were really asleep out there today, especially in that first quarter. A lot of our problems early on were because we were just lining up wrong. We didn't give ourselves a chance. We made a lot of mistakes. You just can't go out and perform like that against a team that's going for the championship."

Air Force 73, New Mexico 26--The Falcons scored 35 points in the first quarter and went on to whip the winless Lobos in a WAC game at Albuquerque, N.M.

The Falcons, who went into the game averaging 364 yards rushing per game, finished with 646 yards.

The 73 points are the most allowed by New Mexico since it lost, 75-12, to Texas El Paso in 1967. The National Collegiate Athletic Assn. record for points by a team in a quarter is 49, shared by Houston and Davidson.

Junior halfback Anthony Roberson scored on runs of 7 and 40 yards in Air Force's early assault. The Falcons needed only 19 offensive plays to put 5 touchdowns on the scoreboard.

Air Force, out of the running for the WAC title but hoping to lure a bowl bid, is 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the conference. New Mexico, which has given up 132 points in its last two games, is 0-9 and 0-7.

Brigham Young 37, Texas El Paso 24--Sean Covey passed for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Cougars won at El Paso, Tex.

UTEP led, 17-3, at halftime. But quarterback Pat Hegarty was sidelined in the second half with a jaw injury, and BYU scored 34 straight points.

Covey completed 6 of 19 passes for 61 yards in the first half but improved dramatically in the second half, at one point completing 9 straight. He finished completing 18 of 32 attempts.

The game's turning point came at 8:20 in the third quarter, when Covey and David Miles hooked up on an 80-yard touchdown pass play to pull the Cougars within 17-10. Less than three minutes later, Covey threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Darren Handley.

Brigham Young, 7-3 overall, is 6-1 in the WAC and a game behind Wyoming. UTEP, enjoying its first winning season in 17 years, dropped to 7-3 and 5-2.

San Diego St. 26, Colorado St. 12--Todd Santos passed for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, as the Aztecs defeated the Rams at San Diego.

Santos, who last week set the NCAA Division I-A record for career passing, increased his mark to 11,052 yards as he completed 29 of 40 passes. It was his 16th game with 300 or more passing yards, leaving him one game short of the NCAA record of 17 set by Jim McMahon of Brigham Young.

San Diego State is 4-7 overall and 3-4 in the WAC. Colorado State fell to 1-9 and 1-6.

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