Cowboys Return to Conference Play Saturday, Hosting New Mexico for Homecoming 2013

Oct. 9, 2013

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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Coming off a bye last week, the Wyoming Cowboy football team returns to Mountain West Conference play this Saturday when it hosts the New Mexico Lobos for Homecoming 2013. The game is scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

This week's game versus New Mexico will mark the 89th Homecoming game in University of Wyoming history, and the 64th Homecoming game to be played in War Memorial Stadium. Wyoming has won over 60 percent of its Homecoming games played in War Memorial Stadium, winning 37 times, losing 24 and tying two.

Wyoming and New Mexico will be playing for the 66th time in the two schools' histories. Of Wyoming's current on-going series, only the Pokes' series with Colorado State is longer as the Cowboys and Rams will be meeting for the 105th time this season. Overall, the New Mexico series is the fourth oldest, but the second and third oldest series versus Utah (83 meetings) and BYU (77 meetings) are not currently being played.

The Pokes have won three of the last four meetings against the Lobos, including a 28-23 road victory in Albuquerque, N.M., last November 10. Wyoming leads the overall series 35-30. The Cowboys and Lobos will be playing for the 15th consecutive season since both schools moved to the Mountain West Conference in 1999.

Wyoming will be looking for its third consecutive home victory this season, having defeated Idaho, 42-10 on Sept. 7, and Northern Colorado, 35-7 on Sept. 14.

Wyoming's Offense Continues to be One of the Best in the Nation in 2013, New Mexico Leads Nation in Rushing
UW ranks No. 14 in the nation in passing offense (322.8 yards per game) and No. 16 in total offense (516.2 yards per game) this season. The Cowboys rank second in the Mountain West in both categories.

New Mexico features the nation's No. 1 ranked rushing offense (367.8 yards per game). The Lobos rank No. 5 in the MW and No. 49 in the NCAA in total offense (516.2 yards per game).

Playing fast has been the focus of Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen since the beginning of 2013 spring football, and the fifth-year head coach now has his Cowboy Offense doing just that. Wyoming's up-tempo offense currently has it ranking among the nation's elite in several categories. In addition to its Top 20 rankings in passing and total offense, the Cowboys rank No. 14 in the NCAA in first downs (138), rank No. 21 in the nation in successfully converting third-down attempts (49.3 percent) and rank No. 26 in the country in scoring once they reach the red zone (converting 90.9 percent of the time). UW has converted 20 of 22 red-zone opportunities into scores. All 20 of those scores have been touchdowns.

Current Cowboy Offense Stacks Up Against Some of the Great Wyoming Offenses of the Past
When you take a look back at some of the great Wyoming offenses of the past and compare them to this year's team, the comparisons are very favorable for the current Cowboys. The Pokes' offense is averaging 516.2 yards of total offense per game, which is ahead of the single-season Wyoming record of 498.9 yards set by the 1996 Cowboys. In terms of passing offense, the '96 Cowboys also hold that record, averaging 359.2 yards per game. The current Cowboy offense is not far behind that pace, averaging 322.8 yards passing through its first five games. In terms of scoring offense, that school record is held by the 1988 Cowboys (39.3 points per game). This season, the Pokes are averaging 37.6 points per game. And in terms of first downs, the current Cowboys average 27.6 first downs per game, and are on record pace to break the '96 Cowboys' school record of 26.3 first downs per game.

Wyoming Defense Also Enjoys Strong Start to 2013, Ranks No. 2 in Mountain West in Scoring and Pass Defense
Wyoming's offense isn't the only unit that has enjoyed success to begin the 2013 season. The Cowboy defense is also ranked among Mountain West and NCAA leaders. The Pokes rank No. 2 in the league and No. 22 in the nation in pass defense, allowing only 191.6 yards per game. Wyoming is No. 2 in the MW and No. 45 in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of only 23.8 points per game. Other categories the Cowboy defense ranks among the best in the MW are: No. 1 in red-zone defense (76.5 percent), No. 2 in opponent third-down efficiency (34.9 percent), No. 3 in sacks (2.00 sacks per game), No. 4 in tackles for loss (6.00 TFLs per game) and No. 4 in pass defense efficiency (129.0 rating).

Wyoming's Brett Smith Receives National Attention From CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist Bruce Feldman
On Friday, Sept. 27, CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist Bruce Feldman wrote a column about Wyoming's up-tempo offense. In that story, Feldman wrote, "Brett Smith also may be the most underrated player in college football."

Feldman, who interviewed Smith and head coach Dave Christensen on Monday, Sept. 23, pointed to Smith's 475 yards of total offense in a season-opening loss at Nebraska (34-37) and his 511 total yards in a 56-23 win at Air Force. Those 511 yards of total offense at the time ranked as the second best performance this season -- second only to Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel's 562 versus Alabama.

2013 Cowboys Post Two of the All-Time Best Offensive Totals in School History
In the history of Wyoming Football, only 17 times have the Cowboys gained 600 or more yards of total offense. Of those 17 different 600-yard + performances, two have come this year. Wyoming gained 602 yards of total offense in the 2013 season opener at Nebraska -- the 16th best offensive performance in UW history. The Cowboys accounted for 622 yards of total offense against Air Force on Sept. 21, ranking as the 11th best single-game offensive performance in school history.

Smith Posts Two of the Nation's Top Single-Game Performances of 2013, Sets New School Record for Total Offense in a Single Game
When Brett Smith compiled 511 yards of total offense versus Air Force on Sept. 21, he set a new University of Wyoming single-game record. He broke the old record of 482 yards set by Josh Wallwork versus Idaho in 1996. Smith's 511 yards also ranks as one of the top single-game performances of the 2013 season. His 475 yards of total offense at Nebraska ranks as the ninth best single-game performance of the season. Below are the top games this year.

Player and School - Yards, Opponent and Date
1. Johnny Manziel, So., Texas A&M - 562 yards vs. Alabama on Sept. 14, 2013
2. Connor Halliday, Jr., Washington State - 516 yards vs. California on Oct. 5, 2013
3. Brett Smith, Jr., Wyoming - 511 yards vs. Air Force on Sept. 21, 2013
4. Garrett Gilbert, Sr., SMU - 498 yards vs. Rutgers on Oct. 5, 2013
5. Jared Goff, Fr., California - 487 yards vs. Washington State on Oct. 5, 2013
6. Jared Goff, Fr., California - 484 yards vs. Portland State on Sept. 7, 2013
7. Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon - 483 yards vs. Tennessee on Sept. 14, 2013
8. Derek Carr, Sr., Fresno State - 480 yards vs. Rutgers on Aug. 29, 2013
9. Brett Smith, Jr., Wyoming - 475 yards vs. Nebraska on Aug. 31, 2013
10. Cody Fajardo, Jr., Nevada - 470 yards vs. Air Force on Sept. 28, 2013

Cowboys to Wear Pink Throughout October in Honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Beginning with this Saturday's game versus New Mexico, the Wyoming Cowboys will be wearing pink on their uniforms throughout October in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For Saturday's Homecoming Game, the Cowboys will wear a pink Bucking Horse and Rider helmet decal for the first time. They will also wear pink wrist bands and towels for the Homecoming Game.

Throughout the month, they will wear a Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon logo on the back of their helmets.

Saturday's game will be broadcast on radio over the Cowboy Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show at 12:30 p.m., Mountain Time. The game will also be televised on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain and ROOT Sports Northwest.