Pokes Return to Conference Play at Air Force This Saturday

Oct. 6, 2015


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The Wyoming Cowboys return to Mountain West Conference play this Saturday when they will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., to face the Air Force Falcons. Wyoming enters this week's game versus Air Force having won the last two meetings in 2013 in Colorado Springs by a score of 56-23 and last year in Laramie by a final score of 17-13. Wyoming has also won three of the last four meetings, having won at the Academy in 2011 by a score of 25-17.

Saturday's game is scheduled to kick off at 8:15 p.m., M.T., from Air Force's Falcon Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network, beginning with the radio pregame show one hour before kickoff.

UW trails in a close overall series with the Falcons, 23-27-3. The Mountain West series is also close with Wyoming trailing 7-9.

The two Front Range rivals will be playing for the 36th consecutive season this week, dating back to 1980. The two schools have also been members of the same conference since `80.

The Cowboys are in search of their first win of the season and are 0-5 on the season and 0-1 in the Mountain West. Air Force will be looking to break a two-game losing streak, having lost two weeks ago at No. 4 ranked Michigan State by a final of 35-21 followed by a road loss at Navy last week by a score of 33-11. The Falcons began the season with wins over Morgan State (63-7) and San Jose State (37-16) to begin conference play 1-0.

Wyoming enters Saturday as one of the top passing teams in the conference, featuring the league's leading passer in senior quarterback Cameron Coffman and the second ranked receiver in the MW in junior Tanner Gentry. Coffman leads the MW in passing yards (274.8 per game) and ranks 22nd in the NCAA. He also leads the MW in passing efficiency (150.8 rating) and total offense (251.5 yards per game). Gentry is No. 2 in the league and 14th in the nation in receiving yards (103.2 per game), and ranks second in the MW and 36th in the country in receptions (5.80 per game). The Cowboys are fourth in the league in passing offense (230.0 yards per game) and sixth in the Mountain West in total offense (396.4 yards per game). UW also features sophomore running back Brian Hill, who is coming off his second 200-yard rushing performance of the season last week at Appalachian State where he ran for 208 yards. Hill ranks No. 2 in the conference and No. 7 in the nation in rushing, averaging 133.8 yards per game.

The Wyoming offense has continued to improve as the season has progressed. In its last three games, UW has out-gained two of its opponents (Washington State and Appalachian State) and was even with a third opponent, gaining 408 yards against New Mexico to the Lobos 409. While Wyoming's offense has been able to move the ball, it has struggled getting into the end zone. The Pokes have only been able to score on 52.6 percent (10 of 19) of their red-zone opportunities, which ranks them last in the Mountain West

Air Force boasts the league's leading rushing offense (326.2 yards per game), and ranks fourth in total offense (417.5 yards per game). The Falcon rushing attack doesn't have one individual ranked among the Top 10 in the Mountain West in rushing, but it is an extremely balanced running game, featuring six different individuals who have rushed for over 100 yards on the season.

Defensively, the Cowboys have continued to improve in terms of limiting the total yards they are giving up, holding two of their last three opponents to under 400 yards of total offense. UW held Washington State to 378 yards of total offense and held Appalachian State to 314. But big plays have been the Achilles heel of the Cowboy defense. In terms of scoring plays, the Cowboys have given up seven rushing touchdowns of 35 yards or more and three passing TDs of 35 yards or more.

Saturday will be a homecoming for several Wyoming Cowboys. A total of eight current members of the Cowboy football team hail from the Colorado Springs area.