Aug. 26, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2008 college football season is upon us, and it will be a season that will see a number of historic games played in Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium. Saturday's game, for example, is the 999th in Wyoming Football history. The Cowboys have played 466 home games, 518 road games and 14 neutral-site games entering the 2008 college football season for a total of 998 games.
This season will mark only the second time in school history that Wyoming has hosted seven home games in one season -- the other being the 1990 season. Among those seven home games will be contests versus conference rivals Air Force, Utah, San Diego State and archrival Colorado State.
This year's meeting against CSU will be the 100th meeting in the "Border War" rivalry versus the Rams. The CSU game will conclude the 2008 schedule on Saturday, Nov. 22 in Laramie.
Saturday's opponent, Ohio University, is making its first appearance in War Memorial Stadium. In fact, Wyoming and Ohio had never played in football until last season when UW traveled to Athens, Ohio, and defeated the Bobcats by one point -- 34-33. That first meeting started the series with a bang as the game went down to the wire. Wyoming quarterback Karsten Sween connected on a five-yard touchdown pass to former Cowboy Michael Ford with 2:02 remaining, which tied the game at 33. A successful Billy Vinnedge extra point gave the Cowboys a 34-33 road win. The Cowboys had to rally from a 23-6 deficit early in the third quarter.
Ohio will be the first of two Mid-American Conference (MAC) opponents for the Wyoming Cowboys in 2008. On Sept. 27, the Cowboys will host Bowling Green, also a MAC member.
Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn has posted an all-time record versus non-conference opponents of 71-28 (.717) as a college head coach. Saturday's game will mark the 100th non-conference game Glenn will coach in his 24-year career as a head coach. Entering this, his sixth season as head coach of the Cowboys, Glenn has posted a 12-9 (.571) record versus non-conference foes. Included in his 12 non-conference wins have been victories over: Mississippi twice (2004 and 2005), UCLA (2004) and Virginia (2007).
It is not often that two former high school teammates have the opportunity to continue their football careers at the same college, but it is even more unique for two high school teammates to start on the same college team. Saturday in Wyoming's season opener, sophomore free safety Chris Prosinski and redshirt freshman offensive tackle Clayton Kirven will live out that dream. The two high school teammates from Buffalo High School in Buffalo, Wyo., will both be making their first career starts. For Kirven, it will be the first college game he will play in after redshirting as a freshman last season. Prosinski was a key contributor to the Cowboy defense in his redshirt freshman season of 2007. Although he didn't start any games in `07, Prosinski ranked 12th on the team in tackles with 37. During the 2004 and 2005 seasons, Prosinski and Kirven helped lead Buffalo to a perfect 22-0 record and back-to-back Wyoming Class 4A State Championships in football.
Wyoming has an even more remarkable story entering Saturday's game. When the Cowboy defense takes the field for the first time today, brothers Marcell Gipson and Tashaun Gipson will be starting at the two cornerback positions on the Wyoming defense. As remarkable as that is to have two brothers starting for the same NCAA team, they aren't the only brothers currently starting together on the same college football team. As the 2008 season kicks off today, eight sets of brothers, including the Gipsons, were projected to start together on the same Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division IA) teams. Three of the brother tandems are twins. Below is the most recent listing of current brothers starting for the same college team.
School: Brothers (Positions)
Wyoming: Marcell Gipson (So., CB), Tashaun Gipson (Fr., CB)
California: Eddie Young (Jr., LB) and Sean Young (Sr., WR)
Ole Miss: John Jerry (Jr., OL) and Peria Jerry (Sr., DT)
Rutgers: Twin brothers Devin McCourty (Jr., CB) and Jason McCourty (Sr., CB)*
San Jose State: Carl Ihenacho (Jr., DE) and Duke Ihenacho (So., LB)
Temple: Twin brothers Elijah Joseph (So., OLB) and Elisha Joseph (So., DT)
Utah State: Twin brothers Caleb Taylor (Sr., FS) and Joshua Taylor (Sr., CB)
Virginia Tech: Cam Martin (Jr., OLB) and Orion Martin (Sr., DE)
Among the other Cowboys projected to make their first starts for Wyoming Saturday will be: junior outside linebacker Weston Johnson, sophomore quarterback Dax Crum and redshirt freshman middle linebacker Gabe Knapton.
On the opposite end of the experience spectrum for Wyoming are three seniors -- linebacker Ward Dobbs and offensive linemen Kyle Howard and Tim Bond. Leading the way among current Cowboys in career starts is Dobbs, who will be making his 30th consecutive career start Saturday. Howard is projected to start at right guard versus Ohio, which will mark the 29th consecutive start of his career on the Poke offensive line. Fellow senior Bond is scheduled to make his 23rd career start at center.
The Wyoming Cowboys are 70-39-2 (.640) in 111 previous season-opening games. They are 51-17-1 (.746) in season-opening games at home. Wyoming has won all five of its home openers under head coach Joe Glenn. The Cowboys have also won 16 of their last 20 home openers, dating back to the 1988 season. UW's last loss in a home opener came during the 2002 season, when UW lost 13-35 to Boise State.
Among the improvements fans will notice this season will be an experimental postgame tailgate party, referred to as the "5th Quarter." The "5th Quarter" will be similar to the pregame tailgate parties held in Wyoming's Tailgate Park located on the practice field south of War Memorial Field House. The tailgate function will include: various vendors, food booths and games available for children. The events will feature a family atmosphere, as there will be no alcohol served postgame in Tailgate Park. The 2008 football season will feature three "5th Quarter" tailgate parties this season -- Saturday following the Ohio game, following the North Dakota State game on Sept. 13 and after the Utah game on Oct. 11, which is Homecoming.
A check of this opening weekend of college football shows all nine Mountain West Conference teams in action. This weekend's schedule of MWC games are:
Sat., Aug. 30
Ohio at Wyoming, Noon (The Mtn.)
Southern Utah at Air Force, Noon
Utah at Michigan, 1:30 p.m. (ABC)
Northern Iowa at BYU, 4 p.m. (The Mtn.)
TCU at New Mexico, 4 p.m. (VERSUS)
Cal Poly at San Diego State, 7:30 p.m.
Utah State at UNLV, 8 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 31
Colorado vs. Colorado State, 5:30 p.m. (FSN)