Mustangs Hold Off Challenge From Plainsmen
Matt Benardis threw for four touchdown passes and the second-ranked Natrona County Mustangs topped the Laramie Plainsmen, 43-27, Friday night at Deti Stadium.
Natrona got a late first half touchdown pass from Benardis to Duke Beddes that put the Mustangs up 27-17 at half. N-C added a Cody Wilkinson 48-yard field goal and a five-yard t-d run by Marc Feraud that stretched the lead to 37-17 in the third quarter.
Plainsmen head coach Chuck Syverson said,
"A ten point swing's big against anybody; it doesn't matter who you're playing. Then you throw it on a good team like this, that jumps up by ten on top of what they had, it just makes it that much tougher to dig back from."
Feraud added a 57-yard run with 3:24 left that sealed it for Natrona.
Laramie trailed 20-7, but fought back with a Will Atencio 33-yard field goal and an eight-yard scoring run from David Corliss. That cut the Mustangs lead to 20-17 with three minutes left in the half. However, the Plainsmen failed to score again until midway through the fourth quarter.
Benardis threw for 176 yards and the four scores. Two of them went to Wes Richner, while Wilkinson also snagged a t-d toss. Feraud added 152 yards on the ground.
Natrona (3-0) finished with 434 total yards and won its 10th straight game in the series.
The Plainsmen produced a season-high in yards and points with 373 and 27, respectively. Taylor Dodd accounted for 325 yards of offense. He ran for 130 and threw for 195 with a touchdown pass and a pair of interceptions.
Syverson said, "Taylor, obviously threw the ball way better tonight than he has the first couple games. I talked to him at halftime and said where's this guy been for the last two weeks; that's the guy I was expecting all year. That's the guy I expect him to be."
Carless Looney led the defense with 24 points. He also had a t-d run.
Syverson added he was proud of how his team competed.
"It was a tough, tough week of practice bouncing back from that game last week. It really would have been easy for us to kind of fold up the tent... but we came out and played hard."
Laramie (0-3) will return to action next Friday, when they host the Evanston Red Devils for Homecoming. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.