LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Conference play begins this week for the Wyoming Cowboys as they host the Air Force Falcons on Saturday in the Mountain West opener for both teams. The Cowboys and Falcons both enter this weekend's game with 1-0 records. Saturday's game will kick off at 8:15 p.m., Mountain Time.
It will be the 53rd meeting between the two Front Range rivals, and will mark the 35th consecutive season the two have played.
The Cowboys have already taken on the style of play that first-year head coach Craig Bohl and his staff were so successful with in the past, utilizing a strong running game on offense combined with a physical defense. In last week's 17-12 win over Montana, Cowboy running backs Shaun Wick and D.J. May rushed for 134 and 96 yards, respectively. The Wyoming defense held the Grizzlies to only 42 rushing yards and 253 total yards.
Wick is tied for 24th in the NCAA in rushing, and both he and May rank among the Top 10 in the Mountain West this season. Wyoming's defense ranks No. 13 in the nation in rushing defense, ranks No. 27 in total defense and No. 30 in scoring defense.Senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week this past Monday for his performance versus Montana. He led the Cowboys with 12 tackles, including eight solo tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and three pass breakups.
Air Force rushed for 539 yards last week in its 44-16 win over Nicholls State, which places the Falcons atop the nation's rushing stats after Week 1. Running back Jacobi Owens gained 233 of those yards on the ground to lead the Mountain West and rank fourth nationally.
Stopping the run was also a strength for the Falcons in their season-opening victory. Air Force ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West in rushing defense behind the No. 1 ranked Cowboys. Air Force gave up only 63 rushing yards a week ago. Overall, the Falcon defense ranks third in the Mountain West, giving up 263 yards last week to Nicholls State. Wyoming is No. 2 in the MW in total defense.
Last weekend's Wyoming crowd of 25,243 was the best opening-day crowd for a Cowboy Football home game since 2007, when 31,620 fans turned out to watch the Cowboys defeat the Virginia Cavaliers by a score of 23-3.
Wyoming will be looking for its 300th home win this weekend. The Pokes have posted a home record of 299-187-18 (.611) over their 118 seasons of college football.This week's MW opener will mark the eighth time in the 16 seasons of the Mountain West that the Cowboys have opened conference play against Air Force. Wyoming has opened MW play more times versus the Falcons than versus any other opponent. The Cowboys captured a 56-23 win last season at the Air Force Academy.
Six current Cowboys hail from the Colorado Springs, Colo., area, including three who are starters. Senior linebacker Devyn Harris is from nearby Fountain, Colo., south of Colorado Springs where he played at Fountain-Fort Carson High School. Senior wide receiver and team captain Dominic Rufran played at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, and sophomore punter Ethan Wood played at Liberty High School. Redshirt sophomore fullback Jordan Ellis (Palmer High School), redshirt freshman defensive tackle Dalton Fields (Pine Creek High School) and freshman fullback Matt List (Pine Creek High School) are the other Cowboys from Colorado Springs.
Tickets for Saturday's game are available for purchase online at: GoWyo.com/tickets or by calling 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or 307-766-4850.
Saturday's game will be televised by ESPNU, and will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliates of the Cowboys Sports Network. The radio broadcast will begin one hour prior to kickoff.