Courtesy Troy Babbit, UW

Wyoming Cowboys Take On #19 BYU Saturday Night

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By Tim Harkins, University of Wyoming

The Wyoming Cowboys and Brigham Young Cougars will renew an old rivalry this coming Saturday when the two teams meet for the 79th time. 

Wyoming will bring a 3-1 overall record and a 1-0 record in the Mountain West Conference into the game. 

BYU is 2-1 on the season and is ranked No. 19 in this week’s Associated Press media poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Sports AFCA coaches poll.  The game is scheduled to kick off at 8:15 p.m. from LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo,Utah.

Wyoming brings a three-game winning streak into this week’s game.  The Cowboys have wins over Tulsa of the American Athletic Conference (40-37 in 2OTs), Mountain West opponent Air Force (17-14) and Northern Colorado (33-10). 

The Cowboys’ lone loss was at Big Ten member Illinois (38-6) to start the season.  BYU began the season with wins over South Florida of the American Athletic (50-21) and Big 12 member Baylor (26-20) before losing to Pac-12 member Oregon (41-20) last week in Eugene, Ore.

Where to Watch and Listen

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network.  Announcers are Reece Monaco, Play-by-Play (1st year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (25th year) and Erick Pauley, Sideline Reporter (1st year).  The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Saturday’s Wyoming-BYU game will be televised on ESPN2.  Announcers will be Brian Custer (Play-by-play), Dustin Fox (Color Analyst) and Lauren Sisler (Sideline Reporter).

History of the Wyoming-BYU Series

For the better part of a century, the Wyoming Cowboys and Brigham Young Cougars played each other in football on an annual basis. 

From 1921 through 2010, Wyoming and BYU were members of the same conference, first as members of the Rocky Mountain Faculty Athletic Conference (1921-37), then as founding members of the Skyline Conference (1938-61). 

Both schools were also founding members of the Western Athletic Conference (1962-98) and the Mountain West Conference (1999-2010). 

But since 2011, when BYU left the Mountain West Conference to become an FBS independent in football, the two long-time rivals have played only once — in the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, Calif.  BYU won that game 24-21.

Wyoming trails in the overall series vs. BYU.  UW has 30 wins.  BYU has won 45 and there have been three ties.  The last time Wyoming defeated BYU was in 2003 in Laramie by a score of 13-10. 

The two teams first met in 1922 when they played each other twice as members of the Rocky Mountain Faculty Athletic Conference (RMFAC), with BYU winning 7-0 in Provo on Nov. 14, and Wyoming winning 13-0 in Laramie on Nov. 30.

From 1929 to 1942, the two teams played every season.  After the series was interrupted during World War II, the two teams renewed the rivalry, playing every year from 1946 to 1992.  The only interruptions in the series from 1946 to 2010 came in 1993 and ’94 due to the WAC adding a 10th team in Fresno State.  Because of the 10-team league, UW and BYU didn’t meet those two seasons.  And in 1997 and ’98 due to the expansion of the WAC to 16 teams, the two old rivals didn’t play.

Cowboys Coming Off Biggest Win

From their first possession of Wyoming’s game against Air Force on Friday, Sept. 16, the Cowboys showed they were determined to play their best football of the season and they did just that, winning their third straight game by capturing a 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten Air Force Falcons.

The Cowboy offense out gained the Falcons on both the ground and through the air.  Wyoming accounted for 180 rushing yards to Air Force’s 171.  The Cowboys threw for 162 yards to Air Force’s 101.  Wyoming also converted 6 of 11 third-down attempts and won the all-important time of possession battle when playing the Falcons, holding the ball for 30 minutes and 34 seconds to Air Force’s 29 minutes and 26 seconds.

Facing an Air Force rushing attack that entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation, averaging 508.5 yards per game, the Cowboy defense held the Falcons to 171 rushing yards — 337.5 yards under their average.

“Great team win,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl.  “We’ve always had very competitive games against Air Force.  I felt like this was Air Force’s best football team since I’ve been our head coach.

“Our guys had a great week of practice.  We are an emerging football team.  We are a young football team in a lot of spots, and a lot of those guys are growing up fast.  I really think our coaching staff did a great job composing a game plan and the players went out and executed it.”

Wyoming Sitting Atop Standings

With its 17-13 victory over Air Force last Friday, Wyoming finds itself holding the best record in the Mountain West at 3-1 overall and 1-0 in league play.

The win was the Cowboys third victory in a row this season, which is the longest current streak of any Mountain West team. 

Last Meeting Between Wyoming and BYU Came in the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl

It has been six years since the Cowboys and Cougars last played one another.  That meeting in the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, Calif., saw Wyoming come back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to draw within three points at 10-7 following a four-yard touchdown run by Cowboy running back Brian Hill with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter.  BYU extended its lead to 17-7 late in the third quarter and built that lead to 24-7 with a touchdown at the 14:07 mark of the fourth quarter. 

But the Cowboys came storming back, led by sophomore quarterback Josh Allen.  Allen threw two fourth-quarter TD passes to his favorite target, wide receiver Tanner Gentry.  The first was a nine-yard touchdown strike at the 7:35 mark and the second went for 23 yards with 2:11 remaining in the game.

Wyoming’s defense forced BYU into a three-and-out series on its next possession, highlighted by a sack for 11 yards from Cowboy defensive end Kevin Prosser that put the ball back at the BYU 10-yard line.  After a BYU punt, Wyoming took over at the Wyoming 49-yard line with 1:35 remaining in the game.  The Cowboys had one final opportunity to win the game.  On first down, Allen connected with running back HIll on a 19-yard pass completion down to the BYU 32.  It looked like the Cowboys might pull off the comeback after all, but on the second play of the series Allen’s pass was picked off at the BYU 11-yard line by Cougar Kai Nacua.  He returned the interception 20 yards  to the BYU 31.  The Cougars ran out the last 1:20 and the final score was 24-21 in favor of BYU.

Cole Godbout

Wyoming’s junior nose tackle Cole Godbout has been a standout for the Pokes the last four seasons.  From the 2019 season through this season, Godbout has appeared in 34 games and started 26.  He has made a total of 19.0 tackles for loss over his career, and he is now within striking distance of the career Top 10 list in Wyoming history for tackles for loss. 

Wyoming Career Tackle for Loss Leaders         Career Tackles for Loss

1.   Eddie Yarbrough, 2012-15                               39.0

2.   John Fletcher, 2005-09                                    36.0

3.   Carl Granderson, 2015-18                               35.5

4.   Logan Wilson, 2016-19                                    35.0

5.   Josh Biezuns, 2008-11                                     31.0

6.   Zach Morris, 2001-04                                       26.5

7.   Andrew Wingard, 2015-18                                25.0

8.   Ward Dobbs, 2005-08                                      24.0

9.   John Flora, 2004-05                                         23.5

10. Gabe Knapton, 2008-11                                   22.5

      Cole Godbout                                                 19.0

(Tackles for Loss didn’t become an official NCAA statistic until 2000.)

On Target — Cowboy QB Andrew Peasley’s Consistent Play Has Helped Fuel Wyoming’s Early Success  Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley played another exceptional game for the Cowboys in UW’s 17-14 win over Air Force on Friday, Sept. 16.  He completed 18 of 23 passes for a 78.3 completion percentage, 162 yards, threw one touchdown pass and one interception. 

It marked the third consecutive game this season that Peasley completed over 60 percent of his passes.  He completed 20 of 30 passes (66.7 percent) in a win over Tulsa and 19 of 30 passes (63.3 percent) against Northern Colorado in a home victory.  That was the first time a Cowboy quarterback had completed over 60 percent of his passes in three consecutive games since Cameron Coffman accomplished that in 2015 against Washington State, New Mexico and Appalachian State.

Comeback Cowboys

This year’s Wyoming Cowboys have shown an amazing ability to come back to win games.

In Wyoming’s home game vs. Tulsa on Sept. 3, the Pokes trailed 34-24 with 14:52 remaining in the contest.  John Hoyland kicked a career best 55-yard field goal and Cowboy quarterback Andrew Peasley connected with wide receiver Joshua Cobbs on a 51-yard TD pass to tie the game at 34-34 and force overtime.  Wyoming would win the game in double overtime 40-37.

Against Air Force on Sept. 16, the Cowboys faced a 14-10 deficit with 9:58 remaining in the game.  Peasley led the Wyoming offense on an eight-play, 75-yard drive with running back Titus Swen finishing off the drive with a five-yard TD run to regain the lead for good on way to a 17-14 victory.

Punter Clayton Stewart

Wyoming’s junior punter Clayton Stewart is becoming a weapon for the Cowboys.

Stewart currently is averaging 44.5 yards per punt this season to rank No. 3 in the Mountain West and No. 25 in the FBS.

He averaged a career high 51.5 yards per punt on four punts in helping Wyoming secure a 17-14 home win over Air Force last Friday night.

Stewart connected on a career long 66-yard punt in the second quarter that bounced out of bounds at the Air Force three-yard line.

After Stewart’s punt pinned the Falcons back on their three-yard line, the Falcons went three-and-out on their next offensive series.  The Falcons punted at the end of that series, and Wyoming started its next drive at the Air Force 42-yard line.  That field position allowed the Cowboys to score a touchdown three plays later.

Stewart had another punt of 43 yards to the Air Force 27-yard line in the second quarter, and he punted 46 yards to the Air Force 28-yard line that forced a fair catch in the third quarter.  His final punt in the fourth quarter went for 51 yards for a touchback.

The Falcons’ average starting field position after Stewart’s four punts was the Air Force 19 and 1/2 yard line, with starting field positions at their own three-yard line, 20-yard line, 27-yard line and 28-yard line.

AFCA Coaches Unite Again to Raise Awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,

15th Annual Coach To Cure MD Sept. 22-24, 2022

College football is bigger than ever, and this week rival coaches are all on the same team. It’s Coach to Cure MD, the annual sideline charity initiative that unites football coaches across America.

An initiative of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), Coach to Cure MD was launched with the American Football Coaches Association in 2008 and now includes most college coaches in all divisions.

“Football coaches are dedicated to the development of young people, and our coaches are always proud to stand with the brave individuals battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Todd Berry, Executive Director of the AFCA. “Fans will see AFCA coaches wearing the Coach to Cure MD logo patch on the sidelines, educating fans about the cause on their social media, and inviting individuals battling Duchenne to their campuses.”

“Our 15-year partnership with football coaches is making a difference in raising awareness, to help keep moving us closer to a cure for Duchenne,” said Pat Furlong, Founding President & CEO of PPMD. “The Duchenne community appreciates having hundreds of football coaches on our side.”

Duchenne is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood, primarily affecting boys. People with Duchenne develop progressive muscle weakness that eventually causes loss of mobility, wheelchair reliance, and a decline in respiratory and cardiac function. Currently, there is no cure for Duchenne. Life expectancy can extend to age 30.

Fans engage with Coach to Cure MD by using the hashtag #TackleDuchenne to spread the word on social media, by texting the word “CURE” to 501501 to give $25, or by donating in honor of their favorite coach on the CoachToCureMD.org website.

Next Up

After Saturday’s game at BYU, Wyoming will return home to host Mountain West opponent San Jose State on Saturday, Oct. 1.  That game will kick off at 5:30 p.m., M.T., from Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

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