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San Diego • As he was accepting the Poinsettia Bowl's offensive MVP award after rushing for 210 yards and a touchdown, senior Jamaal Williams called BYU's offensive linemen and tight ends and receiver Jonah Trinnaman up to the podium to share the honor with him.
And why not?
The Cougars' blockers paved the way for Williams to become BYU's all-time leading rusher during the season, and they were instrumental Wednesday night in helping him blow past Wyoming's defense time and time again.
The Cougars rushed for 216 of their 312 total yards to take the 24-21 win at Qualcomm Stadium, holding off Wyoming's fourth-quarter comeback when Kai Nacua sealed it with an interception inside the BYU 20 with 1:22 left.
"I love my linemen," Williams said. "They know I will do anything for them, and they for me. You gotta have respect for anyone who blocks."
It was the sixth time Williams has rushed for more than 100 yards this season, and 16th time in his career, breaking the school record for 100-yard rushing games held jointly by himself, Curtis Brown and Harvey Unga.
Williams also scored a touchdown in his first bowl game, the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl, in the same end zone at Qualcomm where so many great plays in BYU football history have happened.
"It just brought a whole bunch of memories from my freshman year," he said. "But honest, it was my offensive linemen doing the work, and [receiver] Jonah Trinnaman made the greatest block in the world."
Williams was referring to a Trinnaman pancake block on a Wyoming defensive back that enabled him to run untouched for a 36-yard touchdown that gave the Cougars a 24-7 lead and appeared at the time, early in the fourth quarter, to be the game-clincher.
Wyoming rallied back, though, and made it uncomfortable until the end for the Cougars, who improved to 9-4.
"Give credit to our opponents," head coach Kalani Sitake said. "Wyoming came back when we thought we had a good lead on them. … It was an entertaining game, and our guys just got it done at the end."
Williams finished his brilliant career with 3,901 rushing yards and five games with 160 or more rushing yards.
"I just feel really blessed," he said. "Blessed to have all these great teammates and coaches around me, helping me do it."