The Wyoming Cowboys will travel to Boone, N.C. this Saturday to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers in only the second meeting between the two schools and the first meeting in Boone. Saturday's game is scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m., M.T. (3:30 p.m., E.T.) from ASU's Kidd Brewer Stadium.
In the previous meeting between UW and ASU, the Cowboys captured a 53-7 win in Laramie, Wyo., on Sept. 4, 2004. Appalachian State is a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Wyoming's all-time record versus current members of the Sun Belt stands at 16 wins versus two losses.
The Cowboys don't often travel east of the Mississippi River, but they have enjoyed recent success when traveling east. In their last six trips east, the Pokes have won five of their last six games, including a win at Tennessee back in 2008. The only loss UW has suffered in those last six trips was a 56-14 loss at No. 9 ranked Michigan State in 2014. Since 2000, Wyoming has played a total of 13 games east of the Mississippi and has posted a 6-7 (.462) record over that time span.
Wyoming (0-4 overall and 0-1 in the Mountain West) features one of the top passing offenses in the Mountain West Conference this season, averaging 248.8 yards through the air to rank third in the conference. Senior quarterback Cameron Coffman leads the Mountain West and ranks 14th in the NCAA in passing, throwing for an average of 314.7 yards in the three games he has played this season. Coffman leads the league and ranks in the Top 25 in the nation in completions per game (24.7 per game to rank No. 12 in the NCAA) and points responsible for (16.0 per game to rank No. 23). He is second in the league and 20th in the NCAA in total passing touchdowns with eight on the season. The senior has averaged 293.3 yards of total offense per game to rank No. 1 in the conference and No. 30 in the country in that category.
Coffman's favorite targets have been junior wide receivers Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt, who have caught 26 and 23 passes respectively this season. Gentry was added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list earlier this week. The Biletnikoff Award recognizes the college football season's outstanding receiver (regardless of position) each year. Gentry sits atop the MW receiving chart this season and ranks 15th nationally in receiving yards, averaging 109.8 yards per game. He is also the league leader and ranks 25th in the nation in receiving TDs, with three, and he ranks second in the conference and 22nd nationally in receptions, catching 6.50 passes per contest. Maulhardt ranks fourth in the MW and 40th in the nation in receptions (5.75 per game). He is fifth in the league and 89th in the NCAA in total receiving yards this season (239).
The Wyoming defense is led by senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, junior linebacker Lucas Wacha and freshman safety Andrew Wingard. Yarbrough leads the Cowboys in sacks (3.0) and tackles for loss (4.5). Yarbrough is tied for No. 2 in the Mountain West and 38th nationally in sacks, averaging 0.75 per game. Wacha and Wingard are Wyoming's two leading tacklers, with 36 and 33 total tackles respectively. Wacha ranks sixth in the league and 44th nationally in tackles (9.0 per game), while Wingard is tied for ninth in the league and 76th among all defensive players in the country in tackles (8.2 per game).
Appalachian State (2-1 overall and 0-0 in the Sun Belt) has defeated Howard and Old Dominion by identical 49-0 scores this season, while losing at Clemson 10-41. The Mountaineers feature a highly-ranked defense that has allowed only 173.7 passing yards per game and only 72.7 rushing yards per game for a combined total of only 246.4 yards per outing. ASU is ranked No. 5 in the nation in total defense, No. 6 in rushing defense and No. 30 in passing defense.
The Mountaineers have also put up good numbers offensively, averaging 298.3 rushing yards through three games to rank No. 8 in the NCAA. They have generated another 193.3 passing yards per game for a 491.7-yard average in total offense, ranking them 22nd in the nation in total offense.
This season marks the first year that Appalachian State is a full member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, and this is the first season they are eligible to earn a bowl bid. The Mountaineers were previously one of the most successful teams in the country at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Mountaineers won three consecutive FCS titles from 2005-07.
Saturday's game will be telecast live on ESPN3 and will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network. The CSN radio broadcast will begin with the pregame show one hour prior to kick off.