AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- It took one half of football for Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith to break records, achieve personal bests and run all over Air Force.
By the time both teams jogged into their respective locker rooms at halftime, Smith had tied his game-high in rushing yards with 140. He had also become the school's all-time leader in touchdown passes, surpassing Casey Bramlet with his 57th career touchdown pass.
He'd later tack on No. 58, 59 and 60.
In a 56-23 victory, Smith accumulated eye-popping numbers, and he only needed one half to do it.
The result wasn't always so assured. The early part of Wyoming's Mountain West opener at Air Force on Saturday night more closely resembled a track meet than a football game, as both quarterbacks wasted little time in breaking contain.
First, Air Force dual threat quarterback Jaleel Awini rolled out to his right and took off into open space, rumbling 33 yards into the end zone to give the Falcons an early 7-0 lead.
Not to be outdone, Smith took a few steps to his right on the Cowboys' first offensive play, before cutting back to his left and scampering 74 yards to the Air Force one-yard line. Two plays later, he hit Dominic Rufran on a seven-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
After Air Force added a field goal, the Smith-to-Rufran connection reared its head yet again, as Smith hit his favorite target on a seam down the middle and the junior from Colorado Springs did the rest, scampering 61 yards to the end zone.
Wyoming's previous two games yielded a total of zero first quarter points. The Cowboys and Falcons combined for 24 points on Saturday, as Wyoming came away from a 55-minute first quarter with a 14-10 lead.
The scoring didn't slow down in the next 15 minutes, as Wyoming sophomore running back Shaun Wick burst into the end zone from six yards out, and Smith later hit Claiborne on a 4-yard touchdown pass to extend the Wyoming lead to 28-10.
Air Force answered with a slow, deliberate drive, running the ball six times and covering 75 total yards, capped off by an Anthony LaCoste 6-yard touchdown run that narrowed the lead to 28-17.
At this point, the appropriate metaphor would be that "the floodgates opened."
The Cowboys capped off a 75-yard drive with a Smith six-yard touchdown run, the junior bursting untouched into the end zone on 4th and 3. After Air Force was forced to punt, the Cowboys maneuvered down the field again, with Smith hitting Robert Herron in the back of the end zone to extend the lead to 42-17 before halftime.
Pardon the repetition, but the name "Smith" wouldn't go away. In a half of football, he accumulated a game's worth of statistics.
Thirty minutes had been played, and the Wyoming offense had piled up a whopping 454 total yards. Smith had personally accounted for 411 of them.
At least offensively, could it have gone any better?
When the Falcons returned to the field for the second half, a large portion of their fans had left and flooded through the exits. Outside the bright lights of Falcon Stadium, the darkness was pierced by lines of red, as tail lights of departing cars made a straight path down Stadium Boulevard.
The staggering amount of bright red light drifting away from the stadium was a signal of surrender. According to the home fans, this one was over.
Turns out, they were right.
Wyoming scored again on its first possession of the second half, Wick putting the exclamation point on an 83-yard drive with his second touchdown run of the game. Senior running back Tedder Easton later got in on the act, plunging into the end zone from two yards out. Air Force would tack on a late touchdown, but it was far too little, way too late.
In the Cowboys' first conference win of the season, Wyoming broke new ground, scoring more points than it ever had against Air Force in 51 previous meetings.
And Smith, a week after throwing for only 264 yards in a sloppy performance against FCS Northern Colorado, broke the school record for total yards in a game. He finished with 511 total yards -- 373 passing and 138 rushing -- four passing touchdowns and a rushing score in the win.
As it turns out, his 74-yard run were a signs of things to come. From the very first time he touched the ball on Saturday night, there wasn't a Falcon that could stop him.