Sean Chambers Vows He Isn't Done; Cowboys Show They Still Have Ability to Win
On the third play from scrimmage in Wyoming's season opening game at Nevada on Saturday night, quarterback Sean Chambers called his own number on a 3-and-1 from the Wyoming 34.
Not only was he thrown for a two yard loss, but Nevada's Dom Peterson twisted Chambers, whose foot caught in the worn turn at Mackay Stadium. And for the third year in a row, Chambers' saw his season end prematurely.
For the second year in a row, on the next-to-last Saturday in October, in a game against Nevada, Chambers suffered what is most likely a season-ending injury, and for the second year in a row it was against the Wolf Pack, the weekend before Halloween.
No trick. Definitely no treat.
"We will find out a lot more later, but I'd say it is probably in that category," said head coach Craig Bohl.
And Chambers made it clear on Instagram, he hasn't given up:
- I’ve been trying to put into words of how I’ve been feeling for the past 24 hours. I simply can’t. When you put your all into something and you get nothing in return but pain and misery it makes you question and doubt yourself. I don’t know why this keeps happening. I don’t know what keeps making it happen, but what i do know, is I know that this isn’t the last of me. This isn’t the last time you’ll hear the name Sean Chambers. I WILL be back and the comeback story will be one that’s talked forever. Believe that.
Nobody said it was going to be easy, and it certainly wasn't for the bulk of Saturday, but the bright part was that the Cowboys' didn't quit on themselves. They didn't feel sorry for themselves. And they regrouped in the second half.
"They were willing to fight and stayed controlled," said Bohl. "There are things we have to do better. We can't get in that deep of a hole. ... We were out of kilter."
Now, in the waning minutes of the third quarter, the Cowboys finally snapped out of whatever state of shock they were in. With his co-quarterback Levi Williams shaking off a first-half funk, in the final 18 minutes and 47 seconds of regulation, he took the Cowboys on four scoring drives that wiped out a 28-6 deficit, leading to a late-game statement of what the team is capable of.
"I was proud our guys didn't panic," said Bohl. "We can learn from this. We can get better. Our guys tried hard. We just have to play smarter."
Oh, the Cowboys lost 37-34 in overtime when they had the first possession and had to settle for a field goal. Nevada, meanwhile, answered with a touchdown to claim the victory.
There was, however, a definite growth moment for the Cowboys, particularly a youthful defense that was an easy victim for Nevada in the first half of the game. And there was a realization that the Cowboys still had the ability on the field to make what remains of the eight-game regular season a time for Cowboy fans to remember.
"A lot of it was being confident in ourselves," said wide receiver Gunner Gentry. "We came out at halftime and said, `We're going to keep fighting.' Coach (Craig) Bohl preached that at the half."
Now, that's not to brush off the loss of Chambers.
He has that karma about him.
He has that team-first mentality.
It was obvious as his second half appearance on crutches, on the sideline, encouraging Williams and the rest of the Cowboys every step of the way in a comeback that fell short in results but went a long way in stressing the potential of this Cowboy football team.
And that was no surprise. That was Chambers being Chambers.
"It goes to show the kind of person Sean is," said Gentry. "He is a big `Team 1st Guy.' He will serve others before he serves himself and it goes to show, the way he came out even though he was in pain and hurting. He was vocal. He was energized.
"Losing him early, seeing him go down, especially after the way he ended last year, it was heartbreaking for me to see. He's one of my best friends. He's my roommate."
And the respect transcends the offensive and defensive units.
'He came back and he rallied for us," said linebacker Chad Muma. "He was really there for us as a captain. He did a really good job motivating our defense and offense at the same time."
That's not to overlook the ability of Williams, whose potential is strong enough that Bohl and offensive coordinator Brent Vigen, for the first time in their time together that dates back to North Dakota State came into the season with a dual quarterback situation.
Chambers was 1, and Williams, a year behind Chambers, was 1-A.
Now Williams is the guy. His backup will be a freshman, either Gavin Beerup, a 6-foot-5, 190-pounder from Camarillo, Calif., or preferred walk-on Hank Gibbs, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder from Fayetteville, Ark.
Neither of them, however, was even on the trip. They have been in quarantine along with the rest of the freshman after several of them came down with COVID-19.
"We went in with two quarterbacks," Bohl said of Chambers and Williams. "We had a make-shift receiver going go in (if a need arose) and he hadn't take one snap offensively."
Turned out another quarterback wasn't needed. Williams was given an early season test of his presence, and he made an strong impression.
It wasn't perfect.
The Cowboys didn't get a win on the scoreboard.
But with their second half surge, showing they had the toughness and ability to turn what had the makings of a rout into a hard-fought game, they won over many fans, who saw the signs of a promising 2020.