Sept. 30, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys, 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Mountain West Conference, return to conference play this Saturday, Oct. 4 when they travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to face the New Mexico Lobos, who have a 2-3 overall record and an 0-1 conference mark. This week's meeting will be the 61st in history between the Pokes and Lobos. UW leads in the overall series with 32 wins versus 28 losses. The Cowboys also have a winning record in the series in games played in Albuquerque, with 17 victories against 14 losses.
Saturday's game will kick off at 7:30 p.m., Mountain Time and will be televised on The Mtn. The Cowboys Sports Network Radio broadcast will begin one hour before kickoff, and will be carried on the 27 affiliate stations throughout Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota.
Both Wyoming and New Mexico will be looking for their first Mountain West Conference wins of the 2008 season on Saturday. Wyoming lost at home to Air Force, 3-23, and on the road at BYU, 0-44. New Mexico lost its lone MWC game to date at home to TCU, 3-26, in its 2008 season opener.
The Cowboys will be looking to win their second consecutive game in Albuquerque. The last time Wyoming and New Mexico played in Albuquerque was on Oct. 7, 2006, and the Cowboys won by a score of 14-10.
On Monday, Sept. 29, Wyoming junior quarterback Karsten Sween was named the starting quarterback for this week's game at New Mexico. For Sween it will be his first start of the 2008 season, but will be 19th career start in 24 career games. Sween's first career start came, coincidentally, in Albuquerque, N.M., almost exactly two years ago on Oct. 7, 2006. Sween led Wyoming to its 14-10 victory over the Lobos in 2006. In his first career start, Sween completed 19 of 32 passes for 204 yards, including two touchdowns and two interceptions versus New Mexico in `06. He went on to win five of his seven starts in 2006.
In 2007, Sween started 11 of 12 games. He improved his starting record to 9-3 through an Oct. 7, 2007, home victory over TCU, before finishing the 2007 season with a 9-9 starting record, which is what his starting record is entering this Saturday.
The Wyoming Cowboys and New Mexico Lobos enter their game against each other this week having had similar seasons to date. Here are some of their shared similarities. Both teams enter Saturday with 2-3 overall records. Both teams are looking for their first conference win of 2008 -- UW is 0-2, UNM 0-1. Both teams will enter Saturday with a different starting quarterback than the QB who began the season as their starter. Wyoming's Sween will start in place of Dax Crum on Saturday. New Mexico redshirt freshman Brad Gruner will start his second consecutive game for the injured Donovan Porterie, who was lost for the season due to a knee injury suffered in the Tulsa game in week four of the season.
For football fans who like to watch good running backs, this week's game between the Cowboys and Lobos is their kind of game.
New Mexico senior Rodney Ferguson and Wyoming senior Devin Moore enter this week as the top two ranked running backs in the Mountain West Conference this season. Ferguson is averaging 104.6 rushing yards per game this season to lead the MWC and rank No. 22 in the nation. Moore is averaging 101.2 rushing yards per game to rank No. 2 in the conference and No. 24 in the nation. Ferguson has rushed for 523 total yards -- Moore 506.
In all-purpose yards, Moore leads the league and ranks No. 24 in the country, averaging 152.8 combined yards in rushing, receiving and return yardage. Ferguson ranks No. 4 in the conference, averaging a combined 110.4 yards per game.
But Moore and Ferguson aren't the only two quality running backs featured this week. Wyoming can also bring in senior Wynel Seldon, who has rushed for 233 yards this season, and ranks No. 13 in the Mountain West, averaging 46.6 yards rushing per game.
For New Mexico, they also have another senior running back in Paul Baker, who rushed for a career high 146 yards at New Mexico State last week. On the season, Baker has rushed for 255 yards, and ranks No. 11 in the MWC, with a 51.0 yard average per game in `08.
On defense, the players to watch for Wyoming include redshirt freshman middle linebacker Gabe Knapton, who leads the Cowboys in tackles and ranks fourth in the MWC and 80th in the nation averaging 8.0 tackles per game. Beside Knapton on the Cowboy defense is senior weakside linebacker Ward Dobbs, who moved into ninth place on the UW career tackle list last week, with 10 tackles against Bowling Green. Dobbs now has 276 career tackles. He passed former Cowboy great Aaron Kyle, who ended his career with 275 tackles from 1972-75 as a safety.
Sophomore free safety Chris Prosinski continues to rank among the nation's leaders. He is No. 2 in the MWC and No. 19 in the NCAA in passes defended (1.40 per game), ranks No. 4 in the conference and No. 62 in the country in interceptions (0.40 per game, two total interceptions) and is No. 69 in the nation in solo tackles (4.80 per game). He also ranks 12th in the Mountain West in total tackles (7.20 per game).
New Mexico's defense is led by Lobo Clint McPeek, who has 39 total tackles this season. The Lobo position is a third safety in UNM's 3-3-5 defensive scheme. Another standout in the New Mexico secondary is 2007 First Team All-MWC cornerback DeAndre Wright, who has started the last 35 consecutive games for UNM -- the most of any current Lobo. He made his first interception of the season against New Mexico State last week -- the ninth interception of his career. Senior middle linebacker Zach Arnett has forced four fumbles through the first five games this season, which leads the nation. He is also second on the team in tackles, with 33.
After the New Mexico game, Wyoming will return home next week to host Utah on Saturday, Oct. 11 for Homecoming. The Wyoming-Utah game is scheduled to kick off at Noon, Mountain Time.