Aug 14, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Featuring one of the most prolific offenses in school history, the 1996 Wyoming Cowboys found success - and the endzone - with regularity. In head coach Joe Tiller's last season, he guided the Pokes to a 10-2 season, one of just seven 10-win seasons in UW football history.
A big reason for that success hinged on the remarkable ability of the UW offense to move the ball and put up points. The Cowboys scored 40 or more points in seven of the 12 games, including 59- and 66-point outbursts, and averaged 359 yards per game. Over the season, the team averaged nearly 39 points per contest, thanks in large part to quarterback Josh Wallwork and wide receiver Marcus Harris. As part of the top passing offense in the nation, Wallwork tallied 4,090 yards and 33 TDs through the air, which set school single-season marks. Harris caught 109 balls for 1,650 yards, both team records. Harris won the Biletnikoff Award that season, given to the nation's top receiver, was a Consensus All-America honoree and finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Even the special teams were prolific, as Cory Wedel scored 108 points that season as a placekicker, one of only three instances of a player in triple digits in single-season scoring in UW history.
One of the most memorable moments from that season was "The Drive" versus Colorado State on Nov. 16. After racing to a 13-0 lead, the Pokes looked to be in control. But the Rams reeled off 24 unanswered and entered the fourth quarter with a 24-13 lead. UW proceeded to score the next 12 points, including the game-winning drive, which took 14 plays and spanned 96 yards in 6 minutes, 17 seconds. Running back Marques Brigham punched it in with 1:48 left in the game to give the Cowboys a 25-24 lead. CSU's last drive was ended when safety Brian Lee picked off a pass with 1:28 left, and the Cowboys ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
The 10 wins earned UW the Pacific Division crown in the WAC, and sent the Cowboys to the inaugural WAC Championship game on Dec. 7 versus BYU. The Cowboys had won 12 straight games earlier in the season, the longest streak in the nation. UW lost a heartbreaker to the Cougars, 28-25 in overtime, but still finished the season ranked 22nd in the final polls. In what Cowboy fans considered a major snub, no bowl bid was offered to the program.
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.
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