Cowboys Travel to Idaho to Face Vandals Saturday

Sept. 19, 2012


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The Wyoming Cowboys will travel to Moscow, Idaho, to face the Idaho Vandals this Saturday in a game that will kick off at 3 p.m., Mountain Time. Both Wyoming and Idaho come into Saturday's game looking for their first win of the 2012 season.

The UW football team hasn't played at Idaho, since the 1950 season. This will be the sixth meeting between the Cowboys and Vandals. UW leads the series 4-1, and has won the last four meetings between the two schools. The series dates back to 1921.

Winning close games was a hallmark of the Wyoming Cowboys' in 2011. UW won all five games it played that were decided by eight points or less. But to start the 2012 season, the Pokes haven't enjoyed the same success. Wyoming has lost two of its first three games by two points to Cal Poly and three points to Toledo.

The Wyoming Cowboys will be looking for their fifth road win in their last eight road games when they travel to Idaho this week.

Both teams have experienced similar seasons thus far in 2012. Each has lost its first three games, facing a Big Sky Conference team, a team from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and a Top 25 ranked squad.

For Wyoming, they lost at then No. 15 ranked Texas in the opening week of the season by a score of 17-37, then lost at home to MAC member Toledo (31-34) and last week lost to Big Sky Conference member Cal Poly (22-24).

Idaho began with a Big Sky opponent, losing to Eastern Washington (3-20) in its season opener, then lost on the road at Bowling Green (13-21) of the MAC. Last week, Idaho traveled to No. 3 ranked LSU and fell to the Tigers (14-63).

When Wyoming plays Idaho on Saturday, it will be the latest of many meetings against the Western Athletic Conference - a conference that Wyoming was a founding member of back on July 27, 1962. The University of Wyoming was one of six founding members along with Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, New Mexico and Utah.

The Wyoming passing attack has been among the best in the Mountain West this season. Wyoming is ranked No. 2 in the MW, averaging 247.0 passing yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Brett Smith is averaging 307.5 yards passing per game. Since missing last week's game versus Cal Poly, Smith hasn't played in the required 75 percent of the Cowboys' games to be ranked in the NCAA statistics this week. But his average would rank him No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 13 in the nation. His 347.5 yards of total offense per game would rank him No. 2 in the MW and No. 10 in the NCAA this season.

The Cowboys have three senior defenders who rank among the top four individuals in the Mountain West Conference in tackles and rank among the Top 40 in the nation. Linebacker Korey Jones leads the Mountain West and ranks 15th nationally (11.0 tackles per game). Defensive tackle Mike Purcell ranks No. 3 in the MW and No. 35 in the NCAA (10.0 tackles per game), and free safety Luke Ruff ranks No. 4 in the conference and No. 39 in the country (9.7 tackles per game).

In 2011, Wyoming's Blair Burns was named First Team Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. In 2012, he has continued to distinguish himself as one of the top defensive backs in the Mountain West and the nation. Burns has broken up six passes this season -- two each against Texas, Toledo and Cal Poly -- to rank No. 1 in the Mountain West and tie for No. 7 in the nation in passes defended.

Saturday's game will be broadcast live on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show at 2 p.m., Mountain Time.