Sept. 1, 1988
War Memorial Stadium
Wyoming 24, BYU 14
On this date the University of Wyoming hosted the first night game at War Memorial Stadium against conference rival BYU. 28,847 fans were in attendance for the season-opener, along with a national TV audience, as the Cowboys and Cougars took the field at 8:48 p.m.
At 9:12 in the first quarter, Wyoming was the first to score with an eight play, 83 yard drive that ended in a 17 yard touchdown run by Cowboy quarterback Randy Welniak. At the end of the quarter Wyoming led BYU by a score of 7-0.
The second quarter began with a rushing touchdown by BYU to tie the game at 7-7. Wyoming came back to take the lead with another touchdown at 9:19 left in the quarter to bring the score to 14-7. UW's second touchdown was a 40 yard pass from Welniak to flanker Freddie Dussett. Dussett finished the game with four catches for 97 yards and that touchdown. With only :21 seconds left in the first half, Welniak would give the Cowboys a big lead with a nine yard scoring pass to tight end Tom Kilpatrick. The half time score was Wyoming 21, BYU 7.
BYU recorded a passing touchdown from Ty Detmer in the third quarter to pull within seven points, 21-14, the only scoring by either team in that quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys nearly had another touchdown when Welniak threw to Dussett at the goal line, but it fell incomplete. Wyoming place-kicker Sean Fleming then attempted a 34 yard field goal, which was good, bringing the score to 24-14 in favor of the `Pokes. That would bring an end to the scoring and would hold as the final score, ending the first night game ever held in War Memorial Stadium, with a win for the Wyoming Cowboys.
Welniak ended the game with 172 passing yards, two touchdown throws and one rushing touchdown.
Scoring by the Cowboy offense was only half of the story on that night, as the UW defense gave BYU fits all game. The Cowboy `D' forced seven Cougar turnovers and recorded nine sacks. Wyoming was led by future UW Hall of Fame member Pat Rabold with 11 tackles and Dave Edeen with five sacks.
"Obviously, a super good way for us to start the season. It was an important game because it was the league opener against the team picked to win," said Cowboy head coach and UW Hall of Famer Paul Roach.
The game was an important win for the `Pokes on their way to an 11-2 record, a WAC Championship, a top-20 ranking and an appearance in the Holiday Bowl. It was a memorable game that will forever be in the Cowboy's history of firsts.
Note: Known as the "Wizard of Ord," UW's quarterback Randy Welniak from Ord, Neb. will be inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame this Friday, Sept. 7th on the UW campus. Welniak was selected as an All American in 1988, and is one of Wyoming's top ten quarterbacks in career passing yards, and rushing touchdowns. Among his many accomplishments, Welniak is a two-time first team Academic All-WAC, was selected as the WAC Player of the Year in 1988, and he became only the third quarterback in NCAA history to gain 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in a single game.
(Content contributions: Jeff Franks, Kenzie Kotby, Lyndsey Lewis)