Cowboys Face Off With Boise in MW Opener at War Memorial Stadium

From the desk of Tim Harkins

LARAMIE — The Wyoming Cowboys host Boise State in their Mountain West Confernece opener on Saturday in a matchup of the past two MW Mountain Division champions. The Cowboys are 2-2. Boise State(2-1) is ranked 25th in the Amway Coaches Poll.  Saturday’s game will kick off at 5 p.m., M.T., from Jonah Field and War Memorial Stadium.  It is Family Weekend at UW. 

Over the past two seasons, the Cowboys and Boise State have been the top two teams in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference.  Wyoming won the 2016 MW Mountain Division title in large part due to a 30-28 home win over Boise State in Laramie.  In 2017, the Cowboys led Boise State 14-10 entering the fourth quarter in Boise, but the Broncos came back to win the game 24-14.  Boise State went on to win the Mountain Division title in 2017. 

The Last Two Meetings in the Wyoming-Boise Series have been Classics

The home team has won each of the past two meetings in the series.  In both games, the home team has had to come from behind to win.  Wyoming’s 30-28 win in Laramie in 2016 was fueled by a late touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Allen to wide receiver Tanner Gentry and a two-point conversion from Allen to receiver Jake Maulhardt to tie the game.  That was followed by Cowboy nose tackle Chase Appleby forcing a Boise State safety to give the Cowboys a thrilling 30-28 win on way to the 2016 Mountain Division title.

Last year in Boise, the Cowboys were the team to take a 14-10 lead into the fourth quarter before the Broncos staged their own come-from-behind victory, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 24-14 win.

Showcase of Talent in Wyoming-Boise State Game

If you look at the 2018 Mountain West Conference Preseason predictions by conference media members, this year’s Wyoming-Boise State game will showcase a great deal of talent.  Included among the talented players from both teams will be all three players selected Mountain West Preseason Players of the Year in voting by MW media.  The Mountain West Preseason Defensive Player of the Year selection was Andrew Wingard, Wyoming’s senior strong safety.  Boise state senior quarterback Brett Rypien was the MW Preseason Offensive Player of the Year choice; and the Special Teams Player of the Year selection was Avery Williams, a kick and punt returner for the Broncos.

Wyoming also returns defensive end Carl Granderson and defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan, who like Wingard, were 2017 First Team All-MW selections, 2017 Second Team All-Conference linebacker Logan Wilson returns for the Pokes and Honorable Mention kick returner Tyler Hall.  Boise State’s Rypien and Williams were both 2017 Second Team All-MW honorees.  The Broncos also return 2017 First Team selections Curtis Weaver on the defensive line and Tyler Horton at cornerback, Second Team selections Jabril Frazier and David Moa on the defensive line and Kekoa Nawahine at safety and seven Honorable Mention honorees.

Cowboys Have Won Four of Their Last Five Mountain West Openers

The Cowboys have won 4 of their last 5 Mountain West openers, and 3 of 4 in the Craig Bohl era.  The 2018 season marks the 20th season of the Mountain West Conference, and this year’s Wyoming-Boise State contest is the first conference game of the year for both the Cowboys and the Broncos.  Wyoming is 10-9 (.526) in Mountain West opener, 7-5 (.583) when opening at home, and 3-4 (.429) when opening on the road.

This year’s MW opener will mark the first time that the Cowboys have opened Mountain West Conference play against Boise State.  The Broncos joined the Mountain West for the 2012 season, and are entering their seventh year as MW members.

Wyoming Continues Home Success

The Wyoming Cowboys have been very successful at home over the last four seasons, most recently defeating the Wofford Terriers for their 13th home win in their last 17 home games. 

Wyoming’s 13 home wins during this stretch began with the last game of the 2015 season (a 35-28 home win over UNLV); all six of its 2016 regular-season home games against Northern Illinois, UC Davis, Air Force, No. 13 Boise State, Utah State and No. 24 San Diego State (in the regular season); its 2017 home wins over Gardner-Webb, Hawai’i, Texas State, New Mexico and Colorado State; and its 2018 home victory over Wofford.  The Cowboys had won seven consecutive home games before losing a close 24-27 game to San Diego State in the 2016 Mountain West Conference Championship Game played in Laramie. 

The Cowboys only four losses during this stretch included only two conference losses to San Diego State in that 2016 MW Championship Game and in 2017 to eventual MW West Division Champion Fresno State.  The two non-conference losses came at the hands of Pacific-10 member schools Oregon in 2017 and Washington State earlier this season. 

Radio and Television Coverage

This Saturday’s game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.  As with all Cowboy Football games, the game will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network.  The radio pregame will begin at 4 p.m. this Saturday.