Aug 27, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The long wait for college football fans ends this week as the 2013 college football season will kick off. For the Wyoming Cowboys, the season will open against 18th-ranked Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday, Aug. 31. Saturday's season opener is scheduled to kick at 6 p.m., Mountain Time (7 p.m., Central Time) from Nebraska's Memorial Stadium.
Saturday's game will feature two of the nation's top quarterbacks, as Wyoming junior Brett Smith and Nebraska senior Taylor Martinez were both selected to the 2013 Manning Award Watch List. Smith ranked: fifth in the nation in 2012 in points responsible for (20.2 points per game), 11th in passing efficiency (157.70 rating), and No. 16 in total offense (308.5 yards per game). Martinez is among the NCAA's active career leaders in three different categories. He ranks No. 1 among current Football Bowl Subdivision players in career rushing yards (2,858), is No. 3 in career total offense (9,449 yards) and ranks No. 9 in career passing yards among current FBS players (6,591 yards).
Smith enters the 2013 season having not thrown an interception in his last 174 pass attempts, dating back to Oct. 1, 2012. Smith is tied with Central Florida's Blake Bortles for the longest current streak entering the 2013 season. Smith is chasing former Wyoming quarterback Casey Bramlet for the all-time Mountain West record of 178 pass attempts without throwing an interception.
Wyoming and Nebraska will be meeting for the seventh time in history. The Cowboys will be looking for their first win in the series. The most recent meeting in the series was on Sept. 24, 2011, when the Huskers made their first appearance in Laramie, Wyo., and captured a 38-14 win over the Cowboys.
The last time Wyoming visited Lincoln, Neb., was Oct. 1, 1994. Wyoming scored 32 points versus Nebraska, the most of any opponent that season, and trailed by only three points, 32-35, with 9:09 remaining in the game. But UW was unable to pull the upset and fell to the eventual National Champion Huskers, 32-42.
The Cowboys will be looking for their fourth win in their last five games when they take on the Huskers on Saturday. UW won three of its last four to end the 2012 season. The last time UW won four out of five games was in the middle of the 2011 season. Wyoming won at home vs. UNLV, on the road at San Diego State, lost at home to TCU, won at Air Force and defeated New Mexico at home in 2011.
The Pokes are also looking for their third consecutive road win, dating back to last season. The last time UW won three straight road wins was back in 1999 when the Cowboys won at Air Force (10-7), at Louisiana-Monroe (38-20) and at Utah (43-29).
Nebraska will be the 13th top-25 ranked team that Wyoming has faced since Dave Christensen became head coach of the Cowboys in 2009. The Huskers enter this season ranked No. 18 in both the Associated Press media poll and USA Today Coaches' poll.
Of course you can't talk about the Wyoming-Nebraska series without mentioning legendary college football Coach Bob Devaney. Devaney was head coach at Wyoming from 1957-61. He is still the winningest coach in Wyoming history in terms of winning percentage. He won 75 percent of his games at Wyoming, posting a 35-10-5 record in five seasons. He led Wyoming to four conference titles -- two Skyline Conference outright championships in 1958 and `59 and two co-championships in 1960 and `61. His 1958 squad went 8-3 and captured the Sun Bowl Championship. In 1959, the Cowboys compiled a 9-1 record and ended the season ranked No. 16 in the final Associated Press poll. The 1960 Cowboy team posted an 8-2 record, and in 1961 the Pokes were 6-1-2 and concluded the year ranked No. 17 in the final United Press International poll.
Devaney took over as head coach at Nebraska in 1962. For the next 11 years, Devaney led the Cornhuskers to eight Big Eight Conference titles, a 101-20-2 (.829) record and back-to-back National Championships in 1970 and `71. After the 1972 season, Devaney retired with a 136-30-7 (.806) record as a head coach, making him the winningest active coach in the nation at the time he retired.
As the Wyoming Cowboys enter their 117th season of college football in 2013, the Pokes record in season openers stands at: 74-40-2 (.647) in 116 previous season-opening games. They are 55-17-1 (.760) in season-opening games at home, and are 19-23-1 (.453) in road games to begin the season. Against non-conference opponents, the Cowboys are 60-24-1 (.712) in season-opening games. That breaks down to 46-10-1 (.816) at home against non-conference foes, and 14-14-0 (.500) on the road.
The Cowboys Sports Network will carry Saturday's game live over its 25 radio affiliate stations, beginning with the pregame show one hour before kickoff. Dave Walsh, "Voice of the Cowboys", enters his 30th season announcing Wyoming football. He will be joined by color analyst Kevin McKinney, who will begin his 16th season on Cowboy Football broadcasts, and sideline reporter Reece Monaco, who is entering his third season.
The game will also be televised live on the Big Ten Network. Check with your satellite or cable provider to see if you have the Big Ten Network (BTN). BTN is carried on DIRECTV Channel 610 and DISH Network Channel 439.