Sept. 19, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The opening of the 2006 Mountain West Conference season will take place in Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium this coming Saturday when the Wyoming Cowboys host the Air Force Falcons. The '06 season marks the eighth season of the Mountain West Conference. Wyoming and Air Force will kick off at 2:30 p.m. There is no television coverage of Saturday's game.
Both the Cowboys (1-2, 0-0 in the MWC) and Falcons (0-1, 0-0 in the MWC) are coming off strong performances versus Top 25 ranked teams in their last outings. Wyoming held current No. 25 ranked Boise State to only 17 points and 246 yards of total offense a week ago. That was 26.5 points and 171 yards below the Broncos season averages.
In their only game this season, Air Force traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., where it lost a one-point game, 30-31, to current No. 15 ranked Tennessee. The Falcons scored their final touchdown with 1:35 remaining in the game, and chose to go for the win, but their two-point conversion failed.
This year marks the 45th meeting between the Cowboys and Falcons and the 27th consecutive year the two Front Range rivals have played. Wyoming and Air Force first played in 1957. That game ended in a 7-7 tie. Since 1980, the two schools have played every season without interruption.
The long-standing rivalry is one of the closest series for both schools. Air Force holds a one-game lead in the overall series with 21 wins, while UW has won 20 and there have been three ties. Since the beginning of the MWC, Wyoming holds a 4-3 advantage in the conference series. The Cowboys have won the last two meetings, winning 29-28 a year ago at the Academy, and defeating the Falcons 43-26 in 2004 in the last meeting in Laramie. The Pokes have also won two straight at home in War Memorial Stadium versus Air Force.
Wyoming enters Saturday's game as one of the top defensive teams in the nation. UW is ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense, allowing opponents only 193.7 yards per game. The Cowboys are one of only four teams in the country to hold 2006 opponents under 200 yards of total offense per game. LSU leads the nation, allowing 170.0 yards to opponents, while Missouri ranks second (171.0 yards per game), Wyoming is third and the Pokes' opponent a week ago, Boise State, ranks fourth, giving up only 198.7 yards to its opponents.
The Cowboy defense is also ranked in the Top 20 in the nation in six different defensive categories, including ranking No. 7 in passing defense and No. 16 in rushing defense.
UW's offense has out-gained each of its first three opponents this season, in terms of total offense, but some key turnovers have overshadowed the offensive efficiency. The Pokes' offense ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference in time of possession, and is No. 3 in the league in first downs. Junior quarterback Jacob Doss ranks No. 4 in the conference in both passing yards (177.3 yards per game) and total offense (189.3 yards per game), while junior wide receiver Michael Ford is fifth in the league in pass receptions (5.67 catches per game). The Cowboys' leading rusher is sophomore Wynel Seldon, who is averaging 64.7 yards per game to rank fifth in the league.
Air Force leads the Mountain West and is No. 3 in the nation in rushing offense, rushing for 281 yards in its one game this season at Tennessee. The Falcons are also second in the league in total offense (408.0 yards per game), and rank 29th nationally.
While there is no television coverage of Saturday's game, as always the game will be broadcast on the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show one hour before kickoff. All radio broadcasts of Cowboy games are also available on a subscription basis through the official University of Wyoming Athletics website: www.wyomingathletics.com. Just click on Wyoming All Access on the right-hand side of the home page to subscribe.