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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily
It has been quite a week since the big announcement. And I use that term very loosely, because I had no idea of the great response and volumes of best wishes that would come my way after making the decision I made. And all very much appreciated.
And now, after many conversations with so many great fans, friends and family, time marches on. But before we head into the present and the future, I thought I’d answer the question that I have been asked most over the past week or so:
What Cowboy football or Cowboy basketball game was your most favorite?
So, what particular Cowboy game, which broadcast over the last 38 years — and there have been about 1,500-plus — comes to mind first? Right?
First of all, naming one particular game, in Cowboy football and basketball over the last nearly four decades, that stands alone as THE number one, is impossible. There have been so many that were so important at the time, bowl games, NCAA post-season games, and big-reward games. To name just one, a clear better-than-all-others, I cannot do.
But how about a top 10? Those seem to be popular these days, and it gets me off the hook to pick just one. I can do that! It has to be a top 10 in both sports by the way. Oh yes, it was easy to come up with a top 10 in each sport.
So here goes! And we’ll start with Wyoming Cowboy football. Here are the first 10 Cowboy football games over the past 38 seasons that came to mind.
The first big games that I remembered did just happen to be Wyoming victories in bowl games. The first one I remember was Wyoming’s victory over the PAC-12’s UCLA Bruins in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl. I have a vivid memory of my pre-game walk of the field and seeing UCLA’s Maurice Jones Drew, the rock-like running back, Marcedes Lewis, the cut-out-of-granite tight end, and offensive and defensive linemen, all massive and very Oakland Raider-looking. I remember worrying about the 17-point underdog Cowboys, and their chances in this one. Well, Joe Glenn’s Pokes, led by Wheatland’s Corey Bramlet, would beat the mighty Bruins in Las Vegas, 24-21.
The other bowl win that comes to mind immediately was the Cowboy victory over Fresno State in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl. Dave Christensen’s Cowboys beat the favored Bulldogs, and it took two tremendous Wyoming goal-line defensive stops to win in two overtimes.
There were a number of victories over teams in the Big 5 conferences that I recall fondly. Especially Cowboy victories on the road, in those big-time stadiums. Like the win at Ole Miss, out of the SEC, in the rain in 2005. And the Wyoming win at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Pokes beat the Tennessee Volunteers there in 2008. Both wins came with Joe Glenn at the helm.
I’ll go back to the Dennis Erickson year, 1986, when the Cowboys played at legendary Camp Randall Stadium and beat the Wisconsin Badgers. It was Wyoming’s first win over a Big 10 team, and it still is the only Wyoming win over a Big 10 team.
Another memorable Wyoming win came over a team from the so-called “big time”just a few seasons ago. Craig Bohl’s 2019 Cowboy team opened the season in a crowded War Memorial Stadium with thrilling victory over Missouri.
And, of course, some of my best memories would come in conference games as well. Wyoming’s huge come-from-behind victory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, over Air Force in 1988, just might be one of the most memorable by a soon-to-be Hall of Fame Cowboy football team. The Pokes came from way behind to beat the Falcons. The Cowboys, under Paul Roach, would go on to win 11 games, after starting out 10-0, and go a perfect 8-0 in league play, to win a Western Athletic Conference championship.
Any win over Brigham Young was huge. And to beat the Cougars in Provo is rare. The Cowboys did just that in 1987. It was Paul Roach’s first year as head coach, and the Pokes would come from behind to beat the Cougars. Wyoming had lost the last 5 games there, and that win in Provo, 35 seasons ago, was the last win in Provo for the Cowboys. Wyoming, who will play BYU in Provo this season, has lost the last 9 games against the Cougars in Provo.
Do you remember the phenomenal shootout between the Cowboys and the San Diego State Aztecs in War Memorial Stadium in 1990? The Cowboys won the game when they stopped a two-point conversion try by the Aztecs with two minutes to play, 52-51. That final score is correct. Wyoming’s Tom Corontzos threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another. San Diego State’s Dan McGwire, Mark McGwire’s 6-foot, 8-inch brother, would throw for 415 yards and five touchdowns.
And no top 10 list of Wyoming wins would be complete without a Cowboy victory over the arch-rival Colorado State Rams. The one that comes to mind first in that category has to be the lopsided 44-0 Wyoming victory over the Rams in War Memorial Stadium in 2010. Alvester Alexander scored a bunch of touchdowns, and it was just the third win of the season for the Pokes. But it was the season finale, vs. CSU, in the War.
So there it is. I couldn’t come up with just one. But a top 10 is even better!
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