The afternoon started decently enough for the Wyoming Cowboys. The weather was beautiful, and their sixth-ranked defense forced the University of Utah to punt after three plays. Then a Karsten Sween fumble call was overruled via the upstairs booth, allowing the Cowboys to keep the ball deep in their territory on their first drive Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
From there, though, the highlights for Wyoming were non-existent until an interception in the Ute end zone by Julius Stinson just before halftime.
But Utah was already ahead 40-0 and hardly needed the score.
The Utes went on to beat the Cowboys 50-0, stuffing their bid to make themselves bowl-eligible this week and giving them myriad things to work on before hosting Mountain West unbeaten BYU next Saturday.
"Fifty-0 is up there with some of the worst losses of my career, so I'm hurting right now," said Stinson.
You've heard of shooting yourself in the foot? The Cowboys pretty well had shot off all of their toes by halftime with three first-half turnovers, a muffed punt, seven failed third-down conversions, ill-timed penalties, just 28 yards rushing and 59 yards of total offense.
They had given Utah possession on their own 28, 10, 33, 31 and 21 yard lines.
"It gets to you after four or five times you're defending it," said Cowboy defensive tackle John Fletcher. "It starts to wear on you after a little while, but we've just got to hang in there and do what we do, and we didn't do that."
Added Stinson: "Whatever situations you're put in, you have to rise to the occasion. They had short fields, and we didn't stop them. Put the blame on the whole team."
Wyoming coach Joe Glenn called the half-century whipping "about as bad as it gets." His team, of course, beat the Utes 31-15 in Laramie a year ago. That whipping and Glenn's guarantee of victory probably had a lot to do with Utah being so ready.
"They took off and did what they wanted to do," Glenn said. "They were really well-prepared and did a great job of coaching. Kids responded. Trick plays all worked. Did a great job."
Wyoming's trick play backfired when it tried a fake punt that gained only 3 yards from its own 25, giving Utah another one of those short fields that made the day easy.
"That was an audible on a player on our team. Probably shouldn't have used it," said Glenn, who said little about Utah using an onsides kick when it was already up 40-0, though it was clear he and his players found that insulting.
"Nah, it's what it is. It's football. Making a statement," Glenn said."They're up quite a bit. I don't know if it's called for or not," said Fletcher, "but that's what he (Utah coach Kyle Whittingham) did. He's probably mad about the guarantee deal, so that's probably why he did it."