2000 Cowboy Football Informational Press Release And Game Notes

Sept. 26, 2000

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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The Wyoming Cowboys (1-3, 0-0 in the MWC)                  vs.The New Mexico Lobos (2-3, 0-0 in the MWC)Sept. 30, 2000, at 2:00 p.m., M.T.To Be Televised by SportsWest TelevisionKGWN-TV of Cheyenne, Wyo., is the SportsWest Affiliatefor the State of Wyoming

Game No. 5: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2000, 2:00 p.m., M.T.Gamesite: University Stadium (31,218), Albuquerque, N.M.Series Record: Wyoming leads 31-21-0Last Meeting: Wyoming won 42-28 on Nov. 20, 1999, in Laramie, Wyo.Wyoming Head Coach: Vic Koenning (Kansas State '83) Overall Head-Coaching Record 1-3 (.250), 1st year Record at Wyoming Same

Opponent Head Coach: Rocky Long (New Mexico '74) Overall Head-Coaching Record 9-19 (.321), 3rd year Record at Current School Same

Jay Stoner Moves Into Second Place on Wyoming Career Passing List: SeniorWyoming quarterback Jay Stoner moved into No. 2 on the Wyoming CareerPassing list on Sept. 23 versus Nevada. Stoner threw for 206 yards againstthe Wolf Pack to improve his career total to 6,555 passing yards. He movedpast former Cowboy great Josh Wallwork, who threw for 6,453 yards during hiscareer from 1995-96.

Only one Cowboy ranks ahead of Stoner on the UW Career Passing list-- he is Tom Corontzos. Corontzos threw for 7,945 yards from 1988-91.Stoner needs 1,391 yards to pass Corontzos and become Wyoming's all-timeleading passer. To reach the 1,391 additonal yards, Stoner will have toaverage 198.7 yards passing in Wyoming's remaining seven games of 2000.

Stoner Also Nearing Top of UW Career Total Offense Chart: Jay Stoner is notonly climbing the UW Career Passing list, but he is nearing the top of theWyoming Career Total Offense list, as well.

Stoner currently ranks third on the UW Career Total Offense rankingswith 6,522 yards of total offense. Tom Corontzos ranks No. 1 with 7,642career yards, and Josh Wallwork ranks No. 2 at 6,753. Stoner needs 232yards to move past Wallwork into second, and Stoner needs 1,121 to passCorontzos. Stoner will need to average 160.1 yards in Wyoming's remainingseven games to break the record.

Brett and Brock Ralph Combine for Spectacular Night: In his first gamecompeting for the Wyoming Cowboys, true freshman wide receiver Brett Ralphenjoyed quite a night versus the University of Nevada. Ralph scored theCowboys first touchdown on a fake punt in the first quarter. He also caughta touchdown pass from Jay Stoner in the second quarter to put the Cowboysahead 21-14. For the day, Brett led the Cowboys in receiving with sevencatches for 89 yards.

His older brother, sophomore Brock Ralph, also enjoyed anoutstanding day, catching four passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Brockleads the Cowboys in receiving yards for the 2000 season with 177 yards.

The third Ralph brother on the Cowboy squad, sophomore Dustin Ralph,unfortunately suffered a concussion in the Nevada game. He will bere-evaluated later in the week.

Tom Waring Continues to Rank Among the NCAA's Leading Punters: Senior TomWaring enters this week ranked No. 8 in the nation in punting, averaging44.6 yards per punt.

In the first week of the season at Auburn, Waring averaged 44.2yards per punt on eight punts. He improved the second week at Texas A&M,averaging 45.3 yards on nine punts. Waring punted eight times versusCentral Michigan for a 48.3 yard average, including a seasons long68-yarder. Waring also dropped three punts inside the 20-yard line againstCentral Michigan. In fact those three inside the 20 were at the CMU 4, 5and 2-yard lines. This past week versus Nevada, Waring punted only threetimes for a 34.0 yard average.

Waring ranked No. 43 individually in 1999 with a 41.6 average.

Three Other Cowboys Also Rank Nationally: In addition to Tom Waring's No. 8ranking in the NCAA in punting, Wyoming has three other individuals rankednationally. Aaron Elling ranks No. 41 in the country in field goals made,averaging 1.00 field goals per game. Ryan McGuffey ranks No. 42 in the NCAAin punt returns, averaging 10.43 yards per return, and Nate Scott ranks No.43 in the nation in rushing, averaging 81.5 yards per game.

Injuries Hitting Cowboys Hard in 2000: Injuries have been a big story forthe Wyoming Cowboys early in the 2000 season.

It began early in fall drills when redshirt freshman free safetyJohn Levingston and junior running back Aaron Frude both suffered tornanterior cruciate ligaments and were lost for the season. Levingston wasthe projected starter at free safety entering fall practice, and Frude wasone of the Cowboys top special teams players.

The week following the season opener at Auburn, it was determinedthat senior Al Rich, who was Wyoming's No. 1 running back, would have toundergo a second wrist surgery in the last six months and would be lost forthe 2000 season. Rich had moved to running back in the fall after being anAll-Conference free safety for the Cowboys during his career.

Coming off a Sept. 9 loss at Texas A&M, starting weak-sidelinebacker Leo Caires suffered a lower leg fracture and will also be lostfor the remainder of the season. Both Rich and Caires will be eligible toapply for a medical hardship with the NCAA.

Junior-college transfer Daniel Gibson suffered a fracture in a footearly in fall drills that required him to have surgery. Gibson was expectedto be a big contributor on the defensive line for UW in 2000. His statusfor the remainder of the season is uncertain at this time.

Also versus Texas A&M, the No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks for theCowboys, senior Jay Stoner and junior Matt Swanson respectively, wereinjured. Stoner having suffered a concussion and a separated sternum versusA&M, and Swanson suffering from injured ribs. Both missed the CentralMichigan game. Swanson also missed the Nevada game.

Also injured in the Texas A&M game were starting linebackers AdrianHill (leg contusion) and starting offensive tackle Rob Kellerman (separatedsternum). Hill and Kellerman both missed the Central Michigan game. Theyboth returned versus Nevada.

Against Nevada, starting defensive tackle Damon Roark fracturedright ankle and will be lost for the season. Starting middle linebackerHerman White suffered a severely sprained wrist and strained. Freshmantight end Kolby Drube and sophomore Dustin Ralph suffered concussions, andjunior fullback Marcus Ford had a burner in his neck.

Wyoming Injury Report: Here are a list of injuries to Wyoming Cowboys.

No. Player          Year Pos.    Injury 3  Al Rich         Sr.  RB      Injured wrist, out                                 for the season15  Matt Swanson    Jr.  QB      Injured ribs20  Dustin Ralph    So.  WR      Concussion, out for                                 New Mexico27  John Levingston RFr. FS      Torn ACL, out for                                 the season31  Marcus Ford     Jr.  FB      Burner to neck43  Kolby Drube     Fr.  TE      Concussion, out for                                 New Mexico46  Aaron Frude     Jr.  RB      Torn ACL, out for                                 the season50  Leo Caires      Sr.  LB      Lower leg fracture,                                 out for the season53  Damon Roark     Jr.  DT      Right ankle fracture,                                 out for the season54  Herman White    Jr.  LB      Sprained wrist, pulled                                 hamstring94  Daniel Gibson   Jr.  DT      Broken foot,                                 undergoing rehab98  Kendrick Rawls  Sr.  DE      Arthroscopic knee surgery,                                 possible by SDSU

Linebacker Peprah Having Outstanding Senior Season: He is the leadingtackler for the Wyoming Cowboys. Senior Kwabena Peprah has made 40 tacklesthrough Wyoming's first four game of the 2000 season. He has done it whileplaying two different linebacker positions.

Peprah began the season as Wyoming's starting middle linebackeragainst both Auburn and Texas A&M. Following a season-ending injury to UWweak-side linebacker Leo Caires in the Texas A&M game, Peprah was shifted tothe weak-side position where he started against Central Michigan and Nevada.

He was Wyoming's leading individual tackler in both the CentralMichigan (15 total tackles) and Nevada (12 total tackles) games. His 15tackles versus Central Michigan was a team high for the 2000 season.

League Openers: Wyoming enters this year's league opener having won fourstraight league openers dating back through the 1996 season. Dana Dimel wonall three of his league openers and Joe Tiller won his league opener in hislast season. The Cowboys have won at Air Force (1999), Utah at Laramie(1998), at Hawaii (1997) and Hawaii at Laramie (1996). The last time theCowboys lost a league opener came in 1995 when it they lost at Air Force.

Broken String: When the Cowboys lost to Nevada last week, it broke a stringof 11 consecutive non-conference home victories. The Cowboys had not lost anon-conference home game since Oregon State beat them to open the 1993season.

Opening with the Lobos: It's been awhile since the Wyoming Cowboys opened aconference season with New Mexico. In fact, it's been 18 years. It was1982 when the Cowboys last met the Lobos in a conference opening game.

That was the opening game of the season on Sept. 4, 1982, atLaramie. New Mexico had an easy time of it in beating Al Kincaid's Cowboys41-20.

Under the Lights: Wyoming's loss last Saturday leveled its record under thelights in War Memorial Stadium to 2-2.

Their three previous night games in War Memorial--all with BYU--wereplayed under portable lights. They have beaten BYU twice, and lost to theCougars and the Wolf Pack.

It's Been Awhile: It's been some time now since the Cowboys playedfootball in Albuquerque. . .1993 as a matter of fact. Due to conferencedivisional alignments, the Cowboys and Lobos had not been playing on aconsistent season-to-season basis.

While the Lobos were in Laramie last season (the Cowboys won42-28), they had not played since 1994 prior to that game, and that one wasalso at Laramie (the Cowboys won 38-28).

The last time the Cowboys were in Albuquerque was not a happy visit.New Mexico dashed the Cowboy hopes of winning a conference title by winning10-7 on a cold, wet afternoon.

After losing the season-opener to Oregon State, the Cowboys hadreeled off seven straight wins, and entered the New Mexico game with a 7-1record. The Copper Bowl-bound Cowboys took a 7-3 lead in the first quarteron a four-yard run by Ryan Christopherson run. Those would be the lastpoints the Cowboys would score. The Lobos scored the winning TD on a fakefield goal attempt.

Scouting New Mexico: New Mexico enters Saturday's game with a 2-3 recordfollowing a 35-28 victory over Northern Arizona. The Lobos have now wontwo in a row after an 0-3 start. They are looking for their firstthree-game winning streak since Rocky Long took over the head coachingduties. The Lobos are 16-22 in conference openers. New Mexico, BrighamYoung and Penn State are the only Division 1-A schools who will have playedsix games by Sept. 30. The Lobos will have played half of their scheduleafter this week.

This will be the 53rd meeting between the two old rivals, andWyoming leads the series 31-21. The Cowboys have won nine of the last 10games played between the two. New Mexico's only victory in the past 14games came in 1993, when it won 10-7. Wyoming has won 16 of 27 games playedin Albuquerque.

New Mexico has demonstrated a balanced attack thus far, rushing for636 yards and passing for 497. Quarterback Rudy Caamano has completed 59percent of his passes thus far for 392 yards and four touchdowns. He's alsothrown four interceptions. His top receiver has been wide receiver DwightCounter, a redshirt freshman. Counter has caught eight passes for 100 yardsand a touchdown. That TD came against Northern Arizona, and was the firstof his career. The team's other wide receiver, senior Larry Davis hascaught even for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

On the ground, junior fullback Jarrod Baxter has rushed 69 times for285 yards and three touchdowns. Junior tailback Holmon Wiggins has 238yards on the ground and has scored twice. Wiggins also has seven receptionsfor 49 yards and a touchdown. He and Baxter lead the team in scoring withthree touchdowns each. The Lobos had three rushing touchdowns againstNorthern Arizona for the first time since last Oct. 30, when it scored threeagainst UNLV.

The best offensive lineman is right tackle Jon Samuelson, a 6-5,305-pound senior who has 51 knockdown blocks for the year. He has gradedhighest of the linemen in all five games thus far.

Defensively senior linebacker Mike Barnett continues to lead theteam in tackles with 45. He also leads the Lobos with nine tackles forlosses, and has produced 4.5 sacks. Against Northern Arizona, juniordefensive end Brian Johnson recorded three tackles, including two sacks.

Thus far the Lobo defense has recorded 19 quarterback sacks, almostfour per game. All last season they only had 23 sacks in 11 games.

New Mexico ranks 15th in the nation in net punting. Sophomorepunter Cort Moffitt is averaging 42.2 yards per punt. Junior transferVladimir Borombozin has hit both of his field goals from 49 and 44 yards.He has missed two extra points, however, and is five of seven in thatcategory.

Head Coach Rocky Long: A former New Mexico great, and Wyoming defensivecoordinator, Rocky Long is in his third season as Lobo head coach. Intwo-plus seasons he is 9-19 at Albuquerque. He is the first former playerever to lead the Lobos.

Long was a standout at New Mexico from 1969 through 1971, athree-year starter at quarterback. He won the Western Athletic ConferencePlayer of the Year award in 1971. He was named to the UNM Hall of Fame.

With Long at quarterback the Lobos were highly successful. Theyrecorded back-to-back winning seasons in 1970 and 1971. In fact, those twoLobo teams were the last teams to have consecutive winning seasons at NewMexico until the 1996 and the 1997 squads matched that feat. In additionLong was a three-time Academic All-WAC selection, recipient of the WACScholar Athlete Award (1970, and an honorable mention Academic All-America.

His long coaching career has taken him from a New Mexico assistantin the '70's to Wyoming from 1981-85, to the Canadian League at BritishColumbia to TCU, Oregon State, UCLA, and finally the head job at New Mexico.

Serving as UCLA's defensive coordinator in 1996-97, the Bruinsplayed in the 1998 Cotton Bowl, beating Texas A&M, 29-23. Ironically, thatbowl game was Long's first as a player or as a coach. His defense in 1997was second in the nation in turnover margin.

Long played professionally with British Columbia of the CFL and withthe Detroit Wheels of the World Football League. His father, Rob, was athree-year letterman at Brigham Young.

Long and Laramie: New Mexico Head Coach Rocky Long spent five seasons inLaramie, coaching for Al Kincaid and the Cowboys. He was the Cowboys'secondary coach and defensive coordinator during that time as the Cowboysrecorded a 29-29 record. The Cowboys were 2-3 against New Mexico duringthat time. Wyoming recorded two winning seasons while Long was a member ofthe staff. In 1981 they were 8-3 and in 1983 they were 7-5. In 1984 theywere 6-6.

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