#120CowboyTough, 40 Days to Kickoff: Defense Wins Championships

July 23, 2013

LARAMIE, Wyo. -


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Defense Wins Championships

Led by the most successful coach in school history in terms of wins, the 1966 Wyoming Cowboys made defense their calling card. Head man Lloyd Eaton, a two-time WAC Coach of the Year honoree, still stands as the Cowboy all-time leader in wins (57), coaching from 1962-70. He was an accomplished defensive coach - not only was the team ranked fifth in total defense in 1966, but they also led the nation in rushing defense (38.5 yards per game allowed). In fact, the UW rush defense limited Wichita State to minus-85 yards rushing in one game. A big part of that success was thanks to defensive stalwart Mike Dirks. The talented defensive tackle was a part of a defense that twice led the nation twice in rushing defense in 1966 and 1967. Dirks was a First-Team All-American his senior season.

The Cowboys finished the '66 season with a 9-1 overall record and a WAC title. They were picked to face the Florida State Seminoles in the 1966 Sun Bowl. Early on, Wyoming's rush defense dominated, holding FSU to minus-21 yards rushing for the game. The Cowboys, however, racked up 229 yards on the ground thanks to a robust rushing attack from multiple formations. Tailback Jim Kiick's 135 rushing yards and two scores allowed the Cowboys to come away with a 28-20 victory. The 20 points scored by the Florida State Seminoles was the most allowed by the Cowboys all season.

The 1966 season began a streak of three consecutive WAC championships and posting a 27-5 overall record.

About the #120CowboyTough Countdown

The 2013 season will mark the 120th anniversary of Wyoming Cowboy Football. To commemorate that anniversary, we will be counting down some of the great memories and moments from Wyoming football history over the next eight weeks leading up to the Cowboys' season opener at Nebraska on Aug. 31.

The 2013 "Countdown to Kickoff" will take Wyoming fans through Cowboy Football history chronologically. The first week will highlight some of the memorable moments from the period from the first season in 1893 through the 1940s. Then each successive week, the countdown will recall great moments from the 1950s, `60s, 70s, 80, 90s, 2000s and the current decade.

Our countdown will only touch on some of the greatest moments, but we encourage you, the Wyoming fans, to share your favorite memories through the official University of Wyoming Athletics Twitter (@wyoathletics) and Facebook pages (Wyoming Cowboys). Fans are encouraged to use #120CowboyTough when sharing their memories.

Enjoy the countdown, and we look forward to seeing you in War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7 for the home opener versus the Idaho Vandals.