Sept. 11, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys return to War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 15 to host the Cal Poly Mustangs from San Luis Obispo, Calif. Saturday's game is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m., Mountain Time.
The Cowboys are looking for their first win of 2012. UW lost a hard-fought 31-34 game at the hands of the Toledo Rockets last week in the home opener for the Cowboys. The Pokes were forced to finish that game without starting quarterback Brett Smith due to injury. Smith's status for this week's game is doubtful according to head coach Dave Christensen, but he said Smith will continue to be evaluated as the week progresses.
Wyoming and Cal Poly will be meeting for the first time in the two schools' histories. The Mustangs are in their first year as members of the Big Sky Conference in football. They have played only one game this season, defeating the University of San Diego 41-14 on Sept. 1.
Wyoming's passing game has been very effective through the first two weeks of the 2012 season. The Cowboys lead the Mountain West Conference and rank No. 20 in the nation in passing, averaging 309.0 yards per game. The Cowboys threw for 276 yards against then No. 15 ranked Texas on Sept. 1. Against Toledo on Sept. 8, Wyoming completed 20 of 28 passes for 342 yards.
Smith is leading the Mountain West and ranks in the Top 20 in the nation in four statistical categories. He ranks No. 9 in the NCAA in total passing yards (615), No. 13 in total offense (347.5 yards per game), No. 14 in average passing yards per game (307.5 yards per game) and No. 19 in passing efficiency (165.8 rating).
If Smith is unable to go on Saturday, junior Colby Kirkegaard or true freshman Jason Thompson will lead the Cowboy offense. Christensen said if Smith is not cleared to play by team doctors, he may not decide on a starter until Saturday.
Cal Poly has been playing football at the NCAA Football Championship (FCS) level, formerly Division I-AA, since 1994. Cal Poly is Wyoming's only FCS opponent this season, and Wyoming is Cal Poly's only Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent for 2012.
The Mustangs, who run an option attack similar to the Air Force Academy, have a talented quarterback of their own in senior Andre Broadous. Broadous led Cal Poly in both rushing and passing in their season-opening win over the University of San Diego. He rushed for 113 yards and passed for 135 yards.
Wyoming's first two opponents of the 2012 season were both quality teams. Texas was ranked No. 15 in both national polls when the Cowboys lost to them on Sept. 1 in Austin, Texas. Texas has risen to No. 12 in this week's USA Today Coaches' Poll and is No. 14 in the most recent Associated Press poll.
Toledo is coming off a 2011 season that saw them post a 9-4 record and defeat Air Force, 42-41, in the Military Bowl. The Rockets began the season with a 17-24 overtime road loss at Arizona in the opening week of the season. Despite losing to the Wildcats in Tucson, that road loss to Arizona looked more impressive this past week when the Wildcats broke into the national polls after defeating then No. 19 ranked Oklahoma State, 59-38, in Tucson. Arizona is ranked No. 24 in this week's Associated Press poll and is ranked No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.
Wyoming is looking to get back on the winning track at home this week. UW bounced back very well last season after a couple of home losses. After losing to No. 9 ranked Nebraska (14-38) in Laramie on Sept. 24, 2011, the Pokes came back to defeat UNLV (41-14) in its next home game. Later in the 2011 season, UW lost at home to TCU (20-31), but defeated New Mexico (31-10) in its next home outing.
There is no television coverage of Saturday's game, but as with all Wyoming Football games the Cowboy Sports Network will broadcast the game live on its 25 affiliate stations, beginning with the pregame show one hour prior to kickoff.