LARAMIE, Wyoming – Senior slotback Deonte Williams rushed for 187 yards and one touchdown, junior place kicker Bobby Zalud kicked what proved to be the game-winning field goal from 51 yards and senior cornerback Nico Molino clinched the win with a late interception as Cal Poly upset Wyoming of the Football Bowl Subdivision 24-22 Saturday afternoon before 21,728 in War Memorial Stadium.
Cal Poly earned its fourth win against an FBS school since 2003, its first under fourth-year head coach Tim Walsh and improved to 2-0 on the season. Wyoming fell to 0-3.
"Wyoming's a good football team," said Walsh. "They've played some tough opponents, but I thought our players came in with a lot of confidence. We thought we could compete, that's what I asked them to do and I thought they did it pretty well."
Williams (pictured at right) broke off a 65-yard touchdown run and scampered 74 yards to set up Cal Poly's second score, a nine-yard run by sophomore slotback Kristaan Ivory, as the Mustangs raced to a 14-0 lead in the first five minutes, seven seconds of the game.
Wyoming battled back for a 15-14 halftime advantage on a pair of one-yard runs by tailback Shaun Wick plus a two-point conversion pass.
Cal Poly regained the upper hand on a five-yard pass from senior quarterback Andre Broadous to Ivory 10 minutes into the third quarter.
Zalud made it 24-15 with his 51-yarder with 9:49 to play in the game.
Wyoming closed the gap to two points on Wick's third touchdown run of the game, a 14-yarder with 7:34 to play.
Cal Poly picked up one first down before it was forced to punt. Wyoming went three and out and punted with 3:58 to go.
Cal Poly garnered another first down on a key third-down pass from Broadous to sophomore wide receiver Willie Tucker for 11 yards before punting the ball back to the Cowboys with 1:37 to play.
Molino sealed the win with his interception on the next play, his third career theft as a Mustang.
"We had to be good and I challenged our team that we had to play fast," Walsh said. "If we could come out and get ahead in a game like this, you might get (Wyoming) out of their comfort zone and have to play in it. We did that in the first quarter and it paid big dividends."
Williams finished with a career-high 187 yards on 19 carries, his third career 100-yard game as a Mustang – he also had four as a freshman at Northern Arizona in 2008 – while junior fullback Akaninyene Umoh added 67 yards on 21 trips.
Broadous completed seven of 12 passes for 34 yards and one score. Tucker was the Mustangs' top receiver with three catches for 18 yards. Broadous threw his second career interception with 12 seconds to go in the first half.
Cal Poly's defensive leaders were senior linebacker Kennith Jackson with 10 tackles and sophomore linebacker Cameron Ontko with nine. Molino's interception was the lone turnover forced by the Mustang defense and there were no sacks.
Wyoming, which converted just two of 12 third-down plays and was held to 260 yards in total offense – the Cowboys averaged 435.5 yards of offense in their first two games – was led by Wick with 64 yards on 21 carries and his three scores.
Junior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard completed 15 of 23 passes for 123 yards and no scores with one interception. Jalen Claiborne caught four passes for 27 yards.
Cal Poly, which rushed for 323 yards in its season-opening 41-14 win over the University of San Diego two weeks ago, ran for 325 yards against Wyoming.
The Mustangs defeated UTEP in the 2003 season opener and beat San Diego State in both 2006 and 2008. Cal Poly has won four of its last 14 games against FBS schools and is 5-24 against such opponents since 1980.
Wyoming, which has lost its first three games for the first time since 2002, suffered its first loss in 10 matchups against FCS schools.
Cal Poly football, presented by French Hospital Medical Center, will host UC Davis in its first Big Sky Conference game and the renewal of The Horseshoe Classic on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.