LARAMIE, Wyo.-Siince the start of this month, each University of Wyoming football win has been one significant step after another in terms of the improvement and advancement of the program.
But what the Cowboys did Saturday night was a giant leap.
Wyoming defeated No. 13 Boise State 30-28 in front of 24,023 fans at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium for its fourth straight win this season.
The Cowboys (6-2 overall, 4-0 Mountain West) are alone in first place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with four games left in the regular season. They beat Boise State (7-1, 3-1) for the first time in 11 games.
Wyoming beat a ranked opponent at home for the first time since 2002. Boise State turned out to be the second-highest ranked team the Cowboys have ever defeated, and just the ninth win in 66 games against a ranked team when Wyoming was unranked.
"When you look back on wins that help define a program, this is one of them," said third-year coach Craig Bohl, who previously was the head coach who helped North Dakota State win three of its first five FCS national titles.
Fans stormed the field after the final seconds, and Bohl said he may have sprained his ankle getting through the chaos.
But I think Bohl-who took some extra time to savor the scene-will be fine. That pain probably never felt so good.
The Cowboys trailed by 14 points two different times in the first half. An interception on a tipped ball resulted in a Boise State touchdown, and Wyoming also gave up the ball on downs at the Boise State 1-yard line. The Broncos scored a touchdown after that.
When Bohl talks about resolve with this team, it isn't just lip service.
The Cowboys scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter, to cut Boise State's lead to 21-17 at halftime.
Both defenses buckled down more in the second half, but Wyoming's allowed just one touchdown and 145 yards.
The game-winning points came from senior nose tackle Chase Appleby, who is listed at 6-foot and 268 pounds. He forced a fumble from Boise State sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien, and the ball went out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Wyoming sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard joked that Appleby is pushing it being listed at 6-foot and 268 pounds. Wingard also said Appleby epitomizes what this UW team is all about.
"He's out there mugging offensive linemen against 13th-ranked Boise State, and that's the culture we are building," Wingard said. "We are blue-collar, go out and punch you in the mouth. That's what made us successful tonight."
Added Bohl about Appleby: "He has a heart as big as the state of Wyoming."
Appleby had a 55-yard interception return in Wyoming's 38-17 win at Colorado State on Oct. 1 to begin this impressive, and to some, improbable run at success.
Wyoming is going into the final month of the regular season in first place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. Has that really sunk in yet?
The thing is, the season is far from over. Next week's home game with Utah State now is the Cowboys' biggest game of the season. After that, the next game will be, etc.
But you know what, enjoy this ride because it's been fun, a little nerve-wracking and often times eye-popping and head-scratching.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen said he thought this team would be special going back to spring ball. He's looking smarter by the day with those words.
Bohl said this win ranked right up there with any during his 14 years as a head coach, and that includes the three national titles at NDSU.
"What you find is when you get in games like this is they are enjoyable, but what has to occur is thinking you're a pretty good team," Bohl said. "Maybe some guys don't know or don't think we're in this position. When you got guys like (junior running back) Brian Hill or Josh Allen or Andrew Wingard, they're about winning. I knew we were going to have a heckuva shot. I knew we were going to match up well and our guys would play well."
The day ran the gamut of emotions for Bohl and many close to Wyoming football and athletics. There was a groundbreaking ceremony five hours before kickoff for the $44 million Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center. Bohl got emotional when talking about Wyoming taking a chance on him, as did many others who spoke and were responsible for helping such a project occur.
That facility is the heart of how Bohl wants to run this program.
Nearly nine hours later, Wyoming won its biggest and most important football game in two decades.
Whew! Time for a deep breath after all that.
Bohl said numerous times since he was hired the "calvary is coming," meaning more guys that will help Wyoming football win more games on a consistent basis.
At the end of his 11-minute session with the media, Bohl was asked if the cavalry had finally arrived.
He smiled and simply said, "yes."