TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Xazavian Valladay ran for 204 yards and scored two touchdowns, quarterback Levi Williams accounted for four scores and Wyoming rolled over Georgia State 38-17 in the Arizona Bowl on Saturday.
Wyoming (8-5) started slow before scoring two quick touchdowns late in the first quarter and early in the second. The Cowboys built a 14-point lead by halftime and racked up 524 total yards to win a bowl game after being left out of the postseason last year.
Williams made his first career start after Tyler Vander Waal entered the transfer portal but remained with the team for bowl practices. The freshman was poised under the bowl spotlight, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another.
Valladay had three catches for 91 yards and a touchdowns.
Georgia State (7-6) jumped to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter but had a hard time stopping the big-play Cowboys. The Panthers twice turned the ball over on downs deep in Wyoming's end in the second half.
Dan Ellington, who played with a torn right ACL, threw for 156 yards and a TD, adding 70 yards and a score rushing.
The Panthers got off to a fast start, marching quickly for Ellington's 4-yard TD run and going up 10-0 after a field goal.
The Cowboys took over from there, scoring two touchdowns in less than two minutes. Williams threw an 18-yard TD to Austin Conway and, following an interception thrown by Ellington, he found Valladay on an 8-yard score to put Wyoming up 17-7.
Early in the second quarter, Williams had an interception deep in Georgia State's end on an ill-advised back-foot throw. He made a similar throw just before halftime, but that one turned into a 51-yard touchdown when Ayden Eberhardt broke two tackles, weaved through Georgia State's secondary and broke another tackle diving into the end zone.
The Cowboys led 24-10 at halftime.
Williams and Valladay connected on a 63-yard pass to open the second half and Valladay scored on a 1-yard run the next play.
Georgia State responded quickly, pulling within 31-17 when Ellington hit Cornelius McCoy on a 44-yard TD.
Wyoming kept gouging the Panthers' defense, though. Valladay broke two tackles on a 62-yard run, setting up Williams' 6-yard TD run around the right end.
Ellington put in a valiant effort while playing injured, but Georgia State's defense gave up too many big-chunk plays.
Wyoming had a huge offensive day to cap a disappointing finish — 1-3 over its final four regular season games.
Wyoming loses four starters to graduation on offense and five on defense. Williams is a freshman and Valladay is a sophomore, giving the Cowboys two key skill players coming back.
Georgia State loses just two starters on offense and one on defense, so the Panthers should be in good shape to possibly set another school record for wins.
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