College Football

Hoyland’s kick wins Arizona Bowl, sends Wyoming Coach Bohl out with victory


A field goal by kicker John Hoyland as time expired lifted the Wyoming Cowboys over the Toledo Rockets 16-15 in front of 30,428 for the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium in Tucson on Saturday.

Wyoming won the coin toss and elected to defer. On the opening kickoff, running back Jacquez Stuart muffed the kickoff at Toledo’s one-yard line, recovered the ball at the five-yard line and returned it 28 yards to the 33-yard line. The Rockets took the next three plays for four yards and were forced to punt after only 54 seconds.

Rockets punter Emilio Duran booted the ball 57-yards to the Wyoming six-yard line where the Cowboys took possession. They marched down the field on 13 plays for 77 yards over the next 7:26. Running backs Harrison Waylee, Sam Scott and Jamari Ferrell combined for four rushes and 50 yards during the drive, which ended with a 34-yard field goal by Hoyland with 6:31 remaining in the opening quarter. Wyoming led 3-0.

Toledo began the drive on their 23-yard line. Running the no huddle offense, quarterback Tucker Gleason hit wide receiver Jerjuan Newton for 14 yards, and then Jacquez Stuart for four more on the next play. It was 3rd-and-10 with the ball on the Wyoming 29-yard line when Gleason threw a pass, which was deflected off the hands of the Toledo running back and caught by center Devan Rogers for an apparent touchdown. However, because the ball was deflected by an offensive player and Rogers was an ineligible receiver, they nullified the touchdown and penalized Rogers for an illegal touch. Gleason heaved another long pass towards the end zone on the next play which Wyoming safety Isaac White intercepted at the two-yard line, ending a nine play, 43 yard drive by Toledo.

The Cowboys made 10 plays for 63 yards in the next 5:54, including a 34-yard strike from quarterback Andrew Peasley to tight end John Michael Gyllenborg, but the drive stalled on the Toledo 35-yard line. Hoyland kicked his second field goal of the day, a 52-yarder which hit the center crossbar, to give the Cowboys a 6-0 lead with 11:20 left in the half.

The Rockets stayed in a no huddle offense. Gleason completed a 10-yard pass to tight end Anthony Torres, and a 23-yard completion to wide receiver Junior Vandross III, before rushing for 24-yards on his own to put the ball deep into Wyoming territory. After Stuart rushed for one yard, Gleason threw two incomplete passes. Kicker Luke Pawlak capped the 10-play 60-yard drive with a 33-yard field goal with 8:36 left in the half. The score was now 6-3 in favor of the Cowboys.

It didn’t stay that way for long. Wyoming went five plays for 22-yards over 2:59 on their next possession. On 4th-and-1 at the Wyoming 45-yard line, punter Clayton Stewart booted a kick to the Toledo 20-yard line, which was fair caught by wide receiver Adam Beale.

On the first play from scrimmage, Jacquez Stuart broke open for an 80-yard rushing touchdown. After Pawlak’s extra point, the Rockets now led 10-6 with 5:12 remaining in the half. Both teams were forced to punt during the remainder of the half.

As the third quarter began, Wyoming ran six plays for 26 yards, but the Cowboys were forced to punt. Toledo fared no better. They ran five plays for 45 yards and also had to punt, a 34-yard boot by Emilio Duran to the Wyoming six-yard line.

The Rocket defense became a formidable foe for the Cowboy offense. Linebacker Dan Bolden hit Jamari Ferrell for a one-yard loss. Peasley connected with tight end Treyton Welch but he was chased out of bounds by linebacker Terrance Taylor for a four-yard gain. Peasley, operating out of the shotgun formation, was hit by defensive tackle Esean Carter for a strip sack. The ball went out of the back of the end zone giving Toledo two points for the safety. The Rockets now led 12-6 with 6:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Hoyland kicked off to the Toledo 15-yard line, which Jacquez Stuart returned for 35 yards to midfield. Gleason completed a pair of 16-yard passes to Vandross and Newton during the 11-play 35-yard drive that chewed 4:19 off the clock. The drive ended with a 33-yard field goal by Pawlak to extend the Rockets lead to 15-6 with 2:04 left in the third quarter.

It appeared that the luck was about to change for the Cowboys when Bolden, the Toledo linebacker, was ejected for targeting. However, on 3rd-and-10 from near midfield, Peasley was sacked by linebacker Deshawn Holt for a seven-yard loss, which forced the Cowboys to punt with 13:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Toledo ran four plays for 20 yards and only took 47 seconds off the clock before punting back to the Cowboys.

Wyoming took over at their 27-yard line. Waylee rushed up the middle for 18 yards to the 45-yard line. Peasley then connected with Waylee for four yards and Welch for three yards to get into Toledo territory. He then hit wide receiver Alex Brown for 10 yards before striking slot receiver Wyatt Wieland for 19 yards to the Toledo 19-yard line.

Peasley then ran for a dozen yards to the Toledo 7-yard line but was temporarily sidelined while being checked for an injury. Quarterback Evan Svoboda replaced Peasley in the lineup and immediately rushed for a six-yard gain off the left side, having been pushed out of bounds by Toledo safety Andre Fuller just short of the pylon. Svoboda then rushed up the middle for the one yard needed to reach the end zone for a Cowboys touchdown. After Hoyland’s extra point, Toledo led 15-13 with 8:37 remaining in regulation.

Sensing a momentum switch, Hoyland drove the kickoff 55-yards to the Toledo 10-yard line, but it went out of bounds to give the Rockets the ball at the 35-yard line. Over the next 4:26, the Rockets ran nine plays but only managed to pick up 25 yards. It appeared that the Rockets would get into field goal range but Cowboys defensive end Sebastian Harsh broke through the offensive line and stuffed Gleason for a three-yard loss in the backfield. Toledo elected to punt on 4th-and-12 on the Wyoming 40-yard line with 4:11 remaining. Duran punted for 34 yards to the Wyoming six-yard line.

Peasley came back in for one play, a 26 yard completion to wide receiver Ayir Asante, but Svoboda then replaced him for the duration.

After three rushing plays that totaled nine yards, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl elected to go for it on 4th-and-1. Svoboda pushed forward for a three-yard gain to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive.

Quarterback Jayden Clemons came in for one play, a keeper that resulted in a two-yard loss. Svoboda came back in and passed to Wieland for a 16-yard gain to the Toledo 42-yard line. However, cornerback Ronald Delancy III was hit with a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, which placed the ball on the Toledo 27-yard line.

Wyoming, having faith in their kicker, could now run out the clock as Toledo took their last two timeouts. Facing 3rd-and-6, Svoboda rushed to the left for what looked like would be a first down, but the ball popped out of his hands for a fumble. It then went out of bounds at the 10-yard line. It was now 1st-and-10 as Cowboy fans let out a collective sigh.

Svoboda rushed to the right for a three-yard gain, being careful to protect the ball. As the clock ticked down to four seconds, Bohl called a timeout to give his field goal unit a chance to win the game.

The kicker walked out to the field and lined up on the right hash mark. The ball was snapped and Hoyland nailed the 24-yard field goal kick through the middle of the uprights for the 16-15 victory as time expired. His teammates lifted him up and carried him off the field on their shoulders. Hoyland was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2024 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl.

“I never really liked lifting up the kicker onto the shoulders just because we kind of finish it off,” said Hoyland. “There’s a whole lot of work. There’s a bunch of big guys hitting people to get me into that spot. Honestly, it all goes back to them.”

Regarding the kick, Hoyland said, “You just try to win the game and send some of the seniors out the right way, and obviously send Coach Bohl out the right way. I knew that Evan [Svoboda] coming in would just lead us down the field and put me in position to try and do my best to win the game. That’s all you can hope for in a kicker.”

For Wyoming, Peasley went 20-for-25 for 168 yards in the air, and rushed nine times for 16 yards on the ground. Harrison Waylee led the Cowboys with 18 rushes for 91 yards. Wyoming had 170 net rushing yards on the day. Wyatt Wieland led Wyoming with five receptions for 55 yards. John Michael Gyllenborg added four receptions for 44 yards and Treyton Welch chipped in 22 yards on four receptions.

“Every game is going to have some adversity. We had to use three quarterbacks in that drive. That certainly wasn’t scripted but all three guys came in and played really well. We had great confidence in John [Hoyland],” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. “We knew we were in field-goal range once we got the additional penalty yardage. We certainly wanted to get down there a little closer and we were able to do that with some of the things that Evan [Svoboda] and other guys did on that drive. John had the ice running through his veins on the kick. Big, big win. We worked the clock down to zero for the walk off.”

Toledo was led by Tucker Gleason’s 14-for-34 for 184 yards passing with one interception. He added seven rushes for 42 yards. Jacquez Stuart rushed nine times for 99 yards. In receiving, Jerjuan Newton grabbed five receptions for 74 yards and Junior Vandross III caught three passes for 53 yards.

“It’s not the finish we wanted. It’s not like we got embarrassed. These are close nip and tuck things and you have to be good in situational football,” said Toledo Rockets head coach Jason Candle. “You have to be great in converting downs and be really good in the red zone. We have to look at the tape and address those two things, in my opinion, and find out how to convert third downs at a higher rate.”

“I’m disappointed that our senior class didn’t get a chance to win their last football game, but [we] had a great year and am looking forward to what the offseason brings and how we move this thing forward,” he added.

This was the final head coaching game for Bohl, who announced his retirement a month ago. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Nebraska in 1981. After two decades as an assistant at Nebraska, North Dakota State, Tulsa, Wisconsin, Rice and Duke, Bohl was promoted to his first head coaching position at North Dakota State. He led the Bison with a 104-32 overall record over 11 seasons including three consecutive FCS championships.

Bohl was hired by Wyoming before the 2014 season and led the Cowboys to a 61-60 overall record over his 10 seasons at the helm. They tied for first in the Mountain West Conference once, and appeared in six Bowl games – the Poinsettia Bowl (2016); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (2017, 2021); and the Arizona Bowl (2019, 2022, 2023), losing twice – the Poinsettia in 2016, and the 2022 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, which ended with an Ohio Bobcats touchdown in overtime.

When asked where this win ranked in his career, Bohl said, “It’s special because it’s the last one for me. I’ve been coaching for 42 years and I haven’t had to go to work a day in my life yet. This is a tremendous profession and it’s great to go out with these guys. I have a real sense of peace about moving on. It was time for this Cowboy to ride off.”

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