Sep 4, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys, coming off a near upset of No. 18 ranked Nebraska last week, will open their 2013 home football schedule this Saturday, hosting the Idaho Vandals. The game is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m., Mountain Time from Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.
Wyoming's offense may be one of the most exciting in the nation in 2013. It was definitely one of the most productive in the nation in its three-point loss (34-37) at Nebraska in Week 1. The Cowboys generated 602 yards of total offense to rank No. 9 in the nation entering this week. Only seven other teams had ever accumulated 600 yards of total offense in a game against the Huskers. UW threw for 383 yards, which ranks No. 10 in the NCAA this season, and rushed for another 219 yards to rank 36th in the country in that category. UW's 35 first downs against Nebraska leads the NCAA.
The Cowboy offense was led by All-America candidate Brett Smith. The junior quarterback, accounted for 475 yards himself - 383 passing and 92 rushing - and threw four touchdown passes. Smith ranks No. 2 in the nation in total offense, No. 5 in points responsible for (24.0 points per game) and No. 8 in passing offense. His 475 yards of total offense was the fourth highest total ever by an individual Nebraska opponent.
The receiving quartet of Dominic Rufran (11 receptions for 120 yards), Robert Herron (4 catches for 91 yards and 1 TD), Jalen Claiborne (7 receptions for 88 yards and 2 TDs) and running back Brandon Miller (5 catches for 63 yards and 1 TD) displayed the balance that the 2013 Wyoming receiving corps possesses.
Sophomore running back Shaun Wick (12 carries for 101 yards and 1 TD) and Smith (8 carries for 92 yards) led the rushing attack, which averaged an impressive 7.3 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Cowboys forced two turnovers and recorded eight tackles for loss against the Huskers. Both forced turnovers led to Cowboy touchdowns on the following possessions. Senior free safety Marqueston Huff had 18 tackles, and is ranked No. 1 in the nation in that category. Huff also forced a fumble, which he recovered to earn Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors. The other forced turnover for the Pokes was courtesy of junior cornerback Blair Burns, who intercepted the sixth pass of his career and returned it 33 yards.
On special teams, freshman punter Ethan Wood averaged 52.2 yards per punt, and is ranked No. 1 in the country in punting average.
The Idaho Vandals come to Laramie after opening their season on the road last week, losing 40-6 at North Texas. Idaho is led by first-year head coach Paul Petrino, who is in his first year as a college head coach. Petrino has been a successful assistant coach at Louisville, Arkansas and Illinois. He also spent one year as an assistant coach with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
A year ago, the Cowboys and Vandals had one of the most exciting games of the college football season. Wyoming captured a 40-37 overtime victory as Smith and Claiborne connected on the winning touchdown.
Saturday's crowd for the 2013 home opener is expected to be a large one, so fans are encouraged to arrive early.
The game will be televised live by ROOT SPORTS and will be carried on both ROOT SPORTS Rocky Mountain and ROOT SPORTS Northwest.
The Cowboy Sports Network will once again broadcast all Cowboy Football games on radio, beginning with the pregame show one hour before kickoff (or 1 p.m. this Saturday). Dave Walsh enters his 30th season calling Cowboy Football games. He will be joined by color analyst Kevin McKinney, who is also being inducted into the University of Wyoming Athletics Intercollegiate Hall of Fame this weekend. Reece Monaco will serve as the network's sideline reporter for the third season.