LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The first road trip of the Wyoming Cowboys' 2014 season takes place this week when the 2-0 Cowboys travel to Eugene, Ore., to face the No. 2 ranked and 2-0 Oregon Ducks. Saturday's game will kick off at Noon, Mountain Time (11 a.m., Pacific Time) from Oregon's Autzen Stadium.
Wyoming enters Saturday's game leading the Mountain West and ranked No. 20 in the NCAA in scoring defense. The Cowboys are allowing opponents only 12.5 points per game, giving up 12 points to Montana and 13 to Air Force. But the Cowboy defense will face a new challenge versus Oregon. The Ducks are ranked No. 6 in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 54.0 points per game. Oregon scored 62 in their season opener versus South Dakota, and followed that up with a 46-point performance vs. then No. 6 ranked Michigan State last week.
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl will be on ESPN Radio's SVP and Russillo on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., Mountain Time to preview the Cowboys vs. Ducks game Saturday.
Cowboy senior Jordan Stanton was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week this past week for his 13-tackle performance in the 17-13 win over Air force. Stanton became the second Poke linebacker to earn the award in as many weeks. Fellow senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha earned the honor in Week 1 of the 2014 season.
In addition to Wyoming leading the Mountain West in scoring defense, the Cowboys defense is much improved in many areas including: being ranked No. 3 in the MW and No. 29 in the nation in rushing defense (96.5 yards per game), leading the Mountain West and ranking No. 42 in the NCAA in pass defense efficiency (109.4 rating) and ranking No. 2 in the MW and No. 42 in the country in total defense (315.0 yards per game).
Oregon, which is ranked No. 2 in this week's Associated Press Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota at quarterback. Mariota earned multiple National Player of the Week honors last week, including being named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week. He threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another 42 yards in the 46-27 win over Michigan State.
The Ducks rank No. 8 in the country in total offense (582.0 yards per game), No. 13 in passing offense (349.0 yards per game) and No. 28 in rushing offense (233.0 yards per game).
The Cowboys and Ducks will be meeting for the first time in the two schools' histories. Oregon is one of only two current PAC-12 schools that Wyoming has never played - the other being Stanford. Wyoming is the only current Mountain West member that Oregon has never faced.
Wyoming Football has a large senior class this year, with 25 seniors on the roster. In last week's win over Air Force, Wyoming's senior class had quite a day. Nine of Wyoming's Top 10 tacklers in the game were seniors. Junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough was the only non-senior in the group. Three Cowboy seniors recorded double-figure tackle games. Senior linebackers Jordan Stanton and Devyn Harris led the way with 13 tackles each. Senior free safety Darrenn White added 12. Stanton and Harris forced the two Air Force fumbles, and White and senior defensive tackle Patrick Mertens recovered those fumbles. White and Mertens also had UW's two pass breakups in the game, and Stanton and Mertens recorded Wyoming's two sacks in the game. On offense, senior wide receiver Dominic Rufran caught six passes for 119 yards -- the seventh 100-yard receiving game of his career. He also moved up two spots on Wyoming's career receiving yardage list, and now stands in eight place with 2,035 career receiving yards. Senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard had the best day of his career, throwing for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Jalen Claiborne and senior tight end J.D. Krill caught the two TD passes from Kirkegaard. Senior place-kicker Stuart Williams was 1 for 1 in field goals, connecting from 33 yards out, while also converting both of his extra-point attempts.
First-year Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl has the Cowboys playing very disciplined football two games into the 2014 season. Wyoming has committed only three total penalties for a combined 19 yards, and five of those yards were on an intentionally taken delay of game penalty to set up a punt. Wyoming is No. 1 in the country in fewest penalties (1.5 penalties per game), and is No. 1 in the country in fewest penatly yards (9.5 yards per game).
With 171 rushing yards through the first two games of his junior season, Wyoming running back Shaun Wick enters this week with exactly 1,500 career rushing yards as a Cowboy. He has 294 carries in his college career, and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry at Wyoming. Wick is 624 yards away from reaching the Wyoming Career Top 10 list in career rushing.
The Cowboys won their 300th home game in program history last week. UW now holds an all-time home record of 300-187-18 (.612) in 505 home games. With last week's Mountain West Conference victory, Cowboy head coach Craig Bohl not only won his Mountain West debut, but he recorded his 50th conference win as a head coach. His conference record at North Dakota State was 49-24. Bohl's record in conference games now stands at 50-24 (.676) in 12 seasons.
Bohl and his coaching staff at NDSU won their last 24 consecutive games before he accepted the Wyoming head-coaching position last December. With two wins to start his tenure at Wyoming, he and the members of his staff who came with him to Laramie have now won the last 26 straight games they have coached.
Saturday's game will be carried, as always, on radio over the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show one hour prior to kickoff, or 11 a.m., Mountain Time this week. The game will also be televised on the PAC-12 Networks.