Oct. 5, 2000
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -
They grew up playing sports, but rarely did they get a chance toplay on the same team with one another.
Now, the Ralph brothers are fulfilling a lifelong dream as members of theUniversity of Wyoming football team.
Dustin, Brock and Brett are all receivers for UW, and are the firstthree-brother trio to ever play at UW at the same time.
"I just feel so fortunate that it almost makes me emotional knowing that mybrothers are out there with me," said Brock, a sophomore who is second onthe team in receiving yards (242) and touchdowns (two), and third inreceptions (11).
On Sept. 23 against Nevada at War Memorial Stadium, all three Ralph brotherssuited up for the same game, and all three played.
In fact, Brock and Brett had a big impact in the game.
Brett, who was playing in his first-ever college game as a true freshman,scored two touchdowns - one on a 35-yard run on a fake punt, and another ona 12-yard pass. He finished with seven catches for 89 yards and a touchdown,and two rushes for 47 yards and a touchdown.Brock had an 18-yard touchdown reception.
Unfortunately, Dustin left the game early after suffering a concussion whileplaying on special teams.
"I was starting to wonder if I had a concussion or if I was just shockedbecause I was seeing what was happening with all three of us out there,"Dustin said.
Wyoming lost that game 35-28, which still sits uneasy with the Ralphs. Butthe thought of playing together overrides their disappointment.
"It put the icing on the cake to have a decent game," Brett said. "Butnothing really compares to when you get to do something with two guys I'velooked up to my whole life."
While growing up in Raymond, Alberta, Canada, Brock played two years of highschool football with Dustin and one year with Brett. All three Ralphs saidever since they were little, they hoped to play college football together.
But that didn't look like it would happen early in their careers.
Dustin, the oldest, walked on to the Brigham Young University football teamin 1997 as a defensive back. But Dustin wasn't happy at BYU.
"I was playing defensive back, and I wasn't really enjoying that positiontoo much," Dustin recalled. "It didn't seem like the program was as seriousas I had hoped for."
In 1998, after one year at BYU, Dustin went on a Mormon mission to SouthAfrica - the same year Brock signed with Wyoming.
"While I was on my mission, Brock told me about how he was enjoying Wyoming,the coaching staff and the team unity concept over there," Dustin said. "Itold Brock to put in a good word for me and see if (Wyoming) wanted to seemy high school highlight video.
"He did that, and when I got back from my mission, I started getting phonecalls from Wyoming. We worked it through the NCAA to let me transfer (fromBYU) without using a year of eligibility. Things just worked out perfectly."
Dustin, now a sophomore, and Brock played together last season. Brett joinedUW this year. The UW coaching staff had hoped to redshirt Brett, butinjuries and Brett's performance in practice persuaded UW to play him as atrue freshman.
Now that the Ralphs have played together in a game, what's next?
"Having all three of us line up out there (at receiver) at the same time,"Brock said. "That is something we're looking forward to, and we hope canhappen this year."
The Ralph brothers are a close-knit group off the football field as well.They live together in the same house and hang around each other as much aspossible.
"We get along really well with one another," Dustin said. "We're bestfriends, and that's the way it's always been. We've grown up playing sportswith one another since we were young, so it's not really unusual for us tobe around each other so much.
"It's been a lot of fun and we're looking forward to the next couple ofyears doing the same thing."
Triple threat: While the Ralphs are the only three-brother group to playat UW at the same time, another set of three brothers played at UW atdifferent times.
Dale Memmelaar lettered for the Pokes from 1956-58, Fred lettered from1958-60, and Herman earned letters from 1962-64.