LARAMIE, Wyo. — Craig Bohl said after Wyoming’s blowout loss to Oregon that the Cowboys needed to cut out the costly penalties that he felt were a sign of a losing team.

Tyler Hall had one of those costly penalties Saturday, but he also did what he could to make sure his team wasn’t a losing one.

Hall was called for roughing the kicker on what would have been a go-ahead field goal by Hawaii. Instead, with a new set of downs, Hawaii scored a go-ahead touchdown the next play.

“I felt like it was a play where I could’ve made a play, but I felt like my angle was off a little,” said Hall, a sophomore cornerback. “I could’ve gone flatter on the play, and I hit the kicker’s foot, but you know how the kickers, they’re going to play it off and get the flag. When that flag came out, I knew that I had to make a play, and I knew the kickoff return’s going to be my opportunity.”

Hall took the subsequent kickoff 97 yards to tie the game at 14. Wyoming went on to win the game 28-21 in overtime.

“The first kick return I had, I felt that their containment wasn’t really there,” Hall said. “They were squeezing in. And when (running backs coach Mike) Bath called the middle return, I knew the outside was going to be open. So I just hit it vertical, and I had to beat one man and just use my speed to (outrun) them.”

It was Wyoming’s first kick return touchdown since Devin Moore returned one Nov. 23, 2007, at Colorado State.

“We’d given up a touchdown, and that’s just a guy sparking a team,” safety Andrew Wingard told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/2k0csTU). “That really sparked the team. That was kind of a turning point in the game, so that was huge. I love to see a kickoff return for a touchdown without any holding calls. So that was good. Really good job by the special teams unit.”

Wyoming had four personal foul penalties in its 49-13 loss to Oregon, including one by Youhanna Ghaifan that extended a drive.

“I know this: young men are going to go out there, they’re going to play hard,” Bohl said. “Sometimes they’re going to make some errors. It’s not because of a lack of effort, and it was great to see him come up with a kickoff return. That’s hard to do. To return a kickoff for a touchdown is a hard play.”

Wyoming had a hole at kick returner left by linebacker D.J. May, who was named second-team all-conference as a senior in 2016 after averaging 27.9 yards per return, ninth in the nation. But even May never had a kickoff return touchdown at Wyoming — at least, not one that wasn’t called back on a penalty.

Hall is one of just 16 Football Bowl Subdivision players who have returned a kickoff for a touchdown this year. He returned the ball some in high school, but never had a return touchdown. He did play wide receiver and had receiving touchdowns.

“When I had the ball in my hands, it just felt like I was going back to high school,” he said. “Just playing backyard pickup football. I just lived in the moment, not to get carried away or get nervous. Just have fun and go compete.”

After costing his team four points, it was exactly what his team needed.

“Everybody knew I messed up on the penalty,” Hall said, “and (cornerbacks coach John Richardson) came up to me and said, ‘That’s how you come back, and that’s how you compete. Just stay in the game.’ That was my main focus. I knew I messed up, but I just had to keep the right mindset and stay in the game.

“… I felt like I had to change the momentum of the game and help my team out. So that was my main focus was just scoring a touchdown, getting to the crib.”


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com