Aug. 29, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys open the 2006 college football season hosting the Utah State Aggies on Saturday, Sept. 2 in a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. This season marks the 110th season of Cowboy Football and the 57th in beautiful War Memorial Stadium.
Wyoming has won all three previous home openers under the direction of head coach Joe Glenn. UW has also won 11 of its last 12 home openers -- the only loss coming in 2002 when Boise State defeated the Cowboys 35-13 to open the home schedule.
Glenn and his Cowboys have posted a 10-7 (.588) home record over the past three seasons. Against non-conference opponents at home, Glenn's Pokes have compiled a 5-1 (.833) record, with their only loss coming at the hands of Big 12 member Kansas in 2003.
Wyoming's opponent on Saturday, Utah State, hasn't visited War Memorial Stadium since 1978. The Aggies won that last meeting in Laramie by a touchdown, 20-13. Since that `78 meeting in War Memorial, Wyoming has won the past two meetings in Logan, Utah, by scores of 43-42 in 2001 and 48-21 in 2003. The Wyoming-Utah State series is a long one. From the early 1900s through the 1970s, the series was played almost every season, in fact this year's meeting will mark the 61st game in the series. Despite the fact that the series took a 23-year break from 1978 to 2001, the series remains Wyoming's fourth longest rivalry. The only three opponents that the Pokes have played more are: Colorado State (97 games), Utah (78 games) and BYU (72 games).
Leading the Cowboys on the field today are two seniors who were elected team captains by their teammates this past week. Senior offensive tackle Chase Johnson from Loveland, Colo., and senior strong safety John Wendling from Rock Springs, Wyo., will serve as team captains in 2006. The two have played in all 35 games over the past three seasons. Johnson has started all 35 games of his Wyoming career, while Wendling has started 24 of 35, including the last 23 consecutive. They will be joined by a special teams' captain each week. This week's special teams' captain is sophomore running back Devin Moore from Indianapolis, Ind.
Wendling is one of six defensive starters returning from one of the top defenses in the Mountain West Conference last season. The Pokes ranked No. 2 in the MWC in passing defense, No. 3 in scoring defense and No. 3 in total defense. Joining Wendling as returning starters on defense are: defensive linemen Aaron Robbins and Jake Mayes; and linebackers Luke Chase, Ward Dobbs and Austin Hall.
Johnson helps lead a Wyoming offense that is anchored by an experienced offensive line. His running mate on the O-line, center Jason Karcher, has, like Johnson, started all 35 games of his career. Fellow senior offensive tackle Hunter Richards has started all 23 games over the past two seasons, and sophomore offensive guard Kyle Howard returns after starting the final four games of 2005. Wyoming's offense ranked No. 4 in the MWC last season in passing offense, and the offensive line helped Wynel Seldon set a new freshman rushing record at UW, with 871 rushing yards. Seldon returns for his sophomore season as one of the top running backs in the Mountain West. He averaged 79.2 yards per game as a redshirt freshman in `05. That ranked him fifth in the MWC and 59th nationally.
Saturday's season opener will be broadcast live on radio through the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network. The pregame show will begin one hour prior to kickoff. Describing the action will be the "Voice of the Cowboys" Dave Walsh, who enters his 23rd season as the play-by-play voice of Cowboy Football. He will again be joined by longtime UW Media Relations Director and color analyst Kevin McKinney, who is in his ninth season announcing Cowboy Football games.
There is no television coverage of Saturday's game.