LINCOLN, Neb. – Wyoming coach Dave Christensen knew if his team was still in the game in the fourth quarter, it had a chance against 18th-ranked Nebraska.,
The four-touchdown-underdog Cowboys were in it all right. They just couldn't finish in a 37-34 loss Saturday night.
Wyoming converted two Nebraska turnovers into touchdowns to cut a 16-point deficit to three with 1:32 left and had the ball when time ran out.
"The 92,000 out there didn't expect us to win," Christensen said. "The pressure's all on them. We got it where we wanted it. We just didn't take advantage and make enough plays to get it done."
The Cowboys generated 602 yards, with Brett Smith completing 29 of 43 passes for 383 yards and four touchdowns. Dominic Rufran caught 11 of his passes for 120 yards, and Shaun Wick rushed for another 101.
"It came down to the final seconds. We put up better numbers," Smith said. "I'm proud of our guys but, shoot, it hurts. You want to forget that you lost but you want to remember it, too, because of how you feel.
"You have to look at the good things and take as many good things as you can from it. That's how you get better."
Nebraska's Taylor Martinez completed 17 of 22 passes for 155 yards. Ameer Abdullah ran for 114 yards and Imani Cross for 105 and two touchdowns.
Nebraska needed all 530 of its total yards because Wyoming was able to put up alarming numbers against a defense that had to replace eight defensive starters.
The Huskers never could get comfortable, not even after Ciante Evans' interception at the Nebraska 10 with his team leading by 16 points with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
The Cowboys got the ball back when Blair Burns intercepted Martinez, and Smith's 29-yard touchdown to Jalen Claiborne pulled the Cowboys within 37-27 with 6:02 to play. The Cowboys' 2-point try failed when Smith was sacked by Josh Mitchell.
After Marqueston Huff recovered Martinez' fumble at the Wyoming 38, Smith found Herron along the right sideline for another TD that stunned the crowd on a sweltering night at Memorial Stadium.
Wyoming got the ball back with 1:07 to play but couldn't get past midfield.
The Huskers looked like they would take control after going into halftime ahead 17-14.
Cross scored his second touchdown after he took a handoff, slipped up the middle, bounced off linebacker Jordan Stanton and spun around twice before finishing his 31-yard touchdown run for a 24-14 lead.
Nebraska went 67 yards in 15 plays on its next series, with Martinez lofting a 3-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Enunwa. Officials ruled Enunwa didn't get his foot down inbounds, but the call was overturned on video review.
Wyoming pulled to 31-21 when Brandon Miller caught a short pass from Smith and battled his way into the end zone for a 22-yard TD.
Nebraska has won all seven meetings with Wyoming and is 33-2 against current members of the Mountain West Conference.
The Cowboys went 64 yards in six plays on their second possession to take the early lead. Wick ran 37 yards down the sideline before Smith hit Claiborne with a 6-yard touchdown pass after getting flushed from the pocket.
Another big run, this one a 47-yarder by Smith, helped the Cowboys go up 14-10 early in the second quarter. Harvey Jackson made the touchdown-saving tackle on Smith, but Wick bulled into the end zone from 6 yards three plays later.
Nebraska regained the lead with 5:59 left in the half after Abdullah broke a career-long 62-yard run. He eluded Huff's diving tackle attempt before making it to the corner. He accelerated past Stanton and would have scored if Darrenn White, who had an angle on him, hadn't knocked him out of bounds at the Wyoming 18.
Cross went up the middle for 17 yards and fumbled, but receiver Quincy Enunwa recovered, and Cross went ran into the end zone on the next play for a 17-14 lead.
The game drew a school-record attendance of 91,185, made possible by a 6,000-seat addition to the east side of Memorial Stadium.