Brett Smith's record-breaking night leads Wyoming past Air Force 56-23

Brett Smith set the Wyoming school record for career touchdown passes and total yards in a game in the Cowboys' 56-23 pummeling of Air Force on Saturday night.

Smith threw for 373 yards and four TDs and added 138 yards on the ground in leading the Cowboys (3-1, 1-0 Mountain West) to their highest scoring output ever against Air Force (1-3, 0-3) in a heated series that dates to 1957.

Smith's 511 total yards broke the school record of 482 set by Josh Wallwork against Idaho in 1996. Smith completed 35 of 41 passes and his first TD throw was the junior's 57th, breaking Casey Bramlet's record of 56 set a decade ago.

The Falcons had no answer for Smith or the Cowboys' spread offense that piled up 454 yards by halftime. By then, Smith had his third four-TD performance of the young season plus a 6-yard touchdown run.

Smith took the Cowboys' first snap and swept around the left sideline for a career-long 74-yard scamper before defensive back Jamal Byrd spun him down him at the 1.

No matter.

All that did was set up Smith for the record breaker, and he found Dominic Rufran all alone in the end zone for his 57th career TD pass.

Rufran was wide open again later in the quarter, and he turned a pass over the middle into a 61-yard touchdown that gave Wyoming the lead for good at 14-10.

Linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo put a wicked hit on Falcons returner Anthony LaCoste after Shaun Wick's 6-yard TD run, Devyn Harris recovered the fumble and Smith threw a 4-yard scoring strike to an uncovered Jalen Claiborne to make it 28-10.

LaCoste atoned for his turnover with a 6-yard TD run, but Smith replied with a 6-yard TD of his own on fourth-and-3 when the Cowboys once again spread out the defense with five receivers and Smith sliced through a gaping hole in the line.

He wasn't finished, quickly moving the Cowboys downfield in the final minute and finding Robert Herron for a 10-yard TD that put Wyoming ahead 42-17 at the half.

Smith completed 23 of 26 passes in the first half and was 9 for 10 on Wyoming's opening drive after halftime, one that Wick capped with a 3-yard run to make it 49-17.

That surpassed the Cowboys' previous high against Air Force in 1988, when they won 48-45.

The Falcons lost for the seventh time in nine games, the worst stretch in coach Troy Calhoun's six-plus seasons at the service academy.

Coming off consecutive blowout losses to Utah State and Boise State by a combined 54 points, the Falcons struck first when quarterback Jaleel Awini capped the opening drive with a 33-yard TD keeper.

After the touchback, Smith nearly scored from 75 yards out, and the tone was set.

This marked the third straight time the visiting team has won in the series.

Last year, the Falcons squeaked out a 28-27 win in Laramie, after which Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was suspended a week and fined $50,000 for confronting Calhoun on the field and accusing the Falcons of faking an injury to their starting QB so they could set up the next play without a timeout.

Both coaches said earlier this week that they had moved on from that confrontation and didn't feel it would have any effect on Saturday night's game.

This time, it was Smith who dressed down the Falcons.


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