Aug. 30, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Now beginning its 111th season of college football, the Wyoming Cowboy Football program kicks off the 2007 season by hosting the Virginia Cavaliers of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) on Saturday at noon. It is rare that Wyoming hosts an ACC team -- in fact very rare. The only other time in history that an ACC football team has visited Laramie was back in 1961. That season UW hosted North Carolina State led by All-America quarterback and future NFL All-Pro Roman Gabriel. Wyoming defeated N.C. State by a score of 15-14 on Sept. 23, 1961. The legendary Bob Devaney was in his fifth and final year as head coach of Wyoming that season.
Not only is it rare for Wyoming to host an ACC team, but it is also rare that the Pokes play an Atlantic Coast Conference team at all. Saturday's game will be only the fifth time in UW school history that the Cowboys have played an ACC member. Wyoming has won three games and lost only one in its four previous meetings versus Atlantic Coast Conference teams. In the 1966 Sun Bowl, Wyoming defeated Florida State 28-20. Prior to N.C. State's visit to Laramie in `61, the Pokes traveled to Raleigh, N.C., in 1959 and defeated the Wolfpack 26-0. Last year in Charlottesville, Va., Wyoming lost its first game to an ACC member, falling by one point, 12-13, in overtime to Virginia.
UVa. also is in a rare situation traveling to Wyoming. This week's trip to Laramie will mark only the 14th time the Cavaliers have played west of the Mississippi River in their long history. Virginia began playing football way back in 1888. UVa.'s record west of the Mississippi includes four wins and nine losses.
Wyoming enters Saturday's 2007 season opener having won its last three consecutive home games dating back to Oct. 14, 2006, when UW defeated Utah 31-15 in Laramie. The Pokes followed that home victory with two more over Colorado State (24-0 on Oct. 21) and against San Diego State (27-24 on Nov. 4). The last time Wyoming lost at home was versus Air Force on Sept. 23, 2006, by a score of 24-31.
The focus of the UW Athletics Department for the 2007-08 athletic seasons is a return to tradition, including traditional school colors and a focus on traditions of the past. The theme for this year's athletic seasons is "Embrace the Tradition".
The Cowboys will wear the traditional school colors of brown and gold. The return to a brighter gold color worn throughout UW's history will be featured on Wyoming team uniforms. The new color, called "Gameday Gold", will replace the "Prairie Gold" of recent years. UW's mascot, Cowboy Joe the Pony, will be made more visible, leading the team on the field and appearing on the field after each Wyoming score this season. For the season opener versus Virginia, 10,000 Gameday Gold T-shirts will be handed out to the first 10,000 fans entering the gates at War Memorial Stadium.
"It's exciting to see our fans embrace the return to the traditional colors," said UW Athletics Director Tom Burman. "We are excited to incorporate those traditions that have meant so much to our alumni and fans throughout the history of our program. We want fans to not only embrace our past, but jump on board for the future."
The Wyoming Cowboys are 69-39-2 (.636) in 110 season-opening games. They are 50-17-1 (.743) in season-opening games at home, and are 19-22-1 (.464) in road games to begin the season.
Wyoming has won all four of its home openers under head coach Joe Glenn.
The Cowboys have also won 12 of their last 13 home openers, dating back to the 1994 season. UW's last loss in a home opener came during the 2002 season, when UW lost 13-35 to Boise State.
Both Wyoming and Virginia will feature father-son coaching combinations this week. Wyoming has head coach Joe Glenn and his son, Casey Glenn, who is in his first year as Wyoming's Director of Football Operations. Casey Glenn was a Little All-America offensive lineman at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., helping lead the Saints to the 2002 NAIA National Championship.
The Virginia Cavaliers have head coach Al Groh and offensive coordinator Mike Groh both on their staff. Mike Groh is in his seventh season at Virginia where he was an outstanding quarterback in the early 1990s.
Groh's offense is guided by sophomore quarterback Jameel Sewell. Sewell and Wyoming's starting sophomore quarterback Karsten Sween share many similarities. Like Sween, Sewell didn't begin the `06 season as the starter. Sewell took over as the starter in the last nine games for the Cavaliers. Sween became the Cowboys' starter in the final seven games of the 2006 season. Also like Sween, he was named an Honorable Mention Freshman All-American by the Sporting News. By the way, both sophomores are also left-handed.
Saturday's game will be broadcast on the 26-station Cowboy Sports Network. Dave Walsh is entering his 24th season as the "Voice of the Cowboys" and Wyoming Senior Associate A.D. Kevin McKinney will add color analysis for the ninth year on Cowboy Football broadcasts. The broadcast will begin one hour prior to kickoff with the pregame show.
The game will also be televised live by VERSUS.