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Wyoming squanders chances in 37-17 loss at Texas

Sep 2, 2012 - By The Associated Press

JIM VERTUNO,AP Sports Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Wyoming Cowboys had an early lead and a late chance to make a game of it against No. 15 Texas.

They squandered both before leaving with a 37-17 loss and questions of what might have been against the Longhorns.

Brett Smith passed for 276 yards and two touchdowns to Robert Herron, but also threw two second quarter interceptions that helped Texas turn a 9-7 deficit into a 24-9 lead by halftime.

Herron's second touchdown came early in the fourth quarter and pulled the Cowboys within 31-17 before a fumble by Texas gave them the ball inside the Longhorns' 35. The Cowboys drove inside the Texas 10 where Smith was stopped one yard short of a first down, ending any chance of an upset that could have been one of the biggest wins in program history.

After Wyoming turned the ball over on downs, Texas tailback Joe Bergeron ripped up the middle for 53 yards, then capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run with 8:48 to play.

"We were moving down the field and then I tried to run it and you know they're big and strong. I did my best to keep fighting for those extra yards," Smith said.

Herron's touchdown catches covered 82 and 22 yards for the Cowboys (0-1). The first came in the first quarter when he took a short pass and broke three tackles in a sprint to the end zone.

Bergeron finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns and Malcolm Brown added 105 yards and a touchdown for the Longhorns (1-0).

"The more the game wears on, those guys can make some plays by breaking tackles," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "You want to just keep bringing it."

Bergeron said he could see Wyoming wearing down during the game.

"You can see it in their body language," Bergeron said. "We have a stable (of running backs)."

Texas quarterback David Ash was 20-of-27 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Ash, who won the starting job over Case McCoy in training camp after those two shared starts in 2011, was efficient in a game plan that had him throwing mostly short passes to the sideline and to his running backs to keep drives alive. His only big mistake was a fumbled snap after Herron's second touchdown that gave Wyoming a chance to cut the Texas lead to a seven.

"It's my job to just go out there and operate and manage the game," Ash said. "I was trying to move the chains... get it in somebody's hands and let them make a play."

Texas needed some big plays from its defense. The Longhorns were scoreless on three of their first four possessions before the two interceptions flipped momentum.

Kenny Vaccaro's interception led to Ash's 16-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Shipley. Vaccaro then pressured Smith into making a bad throw that was picked off by Carrington Byndum to set up D.J. Monroe's 7-yard touchdown run.

"That's going to suck the air out of you," Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said. "You can't make mistakes like that and not have it affect you some emotionally."

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