Oct. 11, 2011
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys and UNLV Rebels open Mountain West Conference play this Saturday, when the Cowboys host the Rebels in a game that will kick off at noon from Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Wyoming enters the game with a 3-2 overall record. UNLV is 1-4 this season.
Saturday's game will mark the 87th Homecoming game in University of Wyoming history, and the 62nd Homecoming game to be played in War Memorial Stadium. UW's overall record in Homecoming games is 41-42-3 (.494). Since 1950, the Cowboys' Homecoming record in War Memorial Stadium is 36-23-2 (.607).
Wyoming will be looking to win its fourth-consecutive home game versus UNLV dating back to the 2005 season. The Pokes defeated the Rebels 42-17 in 2005 in Laramie, captured a 29-24 home victory over UNLV in 2007 and defeated the Rebels 30-27 in Laramie in 2009.
UW is 2-1 in home games this season, with wins over Weber State and Texas State and a loss to Nebraska. UNLV is 0-3 in road games in 2011.
Wyoming and UNLV have only opened Mountain West Conference play one other time. Back in 2009, the Cowboys hosted the Rebels and won 30-27, giving UW head coach Dave Christensen his first Mountain West win. UW is 5-7 (.417) in 12 previous Mountain West Conference openers, and is 3-4 (.429) when opening MW play at home.
Wyoming's offense has featured a very balanced attack in 2011. The offense has run 181 rushing plays and thrown 192 passes on the season. The rushing attack has generated 925 net rushing yards, while the passing game has accounted for 1,230 yards. UW is ranked No. 3 in the Mountain West in both rushing offense (185.0 yards per game) and passing offense (246.0 yards per game), and ranks No. 4 in the league in total offense (431.0 yards per game).
Freshman quarterback Brett Smith continues to rank among conference and national leaders. In fact, Smith enters this week ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West in total offense, averaging 280.2 yards per game. That also ranks him No. 29 in the nation. He is averaging 245.6 passing yards per game, placing him No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 37 nationally.
Senior linebacker Brian Hendricks is once again ranked among Mountain West and NCAA leaders in tackles. Hendricks is averaging 8.4 tackles per game this season to lead the Cowboys in tackles. He ranks No. 5 in the Mountain West Conference and is tied for No. 61 in the nation. Hendricks has a total of 42 tackles in 2011. For his career, he has 246 career tackles, and is fast approaching the Wyoming Top 10. Against Utah State on Oct. 8, 2011, Hendricks recorded his first double-figure tackle game of the season and the 10th of his career with 12 tackles.
Fellow senior Gabe Knapton moved up into ninth place on the UW career tackle chart last week, with nine tackles at Utah State. Knapton now has 315 career tackles. He passed former Cowboy Bruce Mowry, who accounted for 311 tackles from 1981-84. Knapton has 28 total tackles in 2011 to rank No. 2 among all MW defensive lineman in tackles. He also ranks No. 5 in the league in sacks, with 3.0
The University of Wyoming football program and Brown & Gold Outlet are teaming up to recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Saturday's Homecoming game has been designated as this year's Breast Cancer Awareness game. Brown & Gold Outlet are currently selling special T-Shirts recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness month. The cost of the T-shirts are $15, with $5 from each shirt being donated to the Wyoming Susan G. Komen Organization. Shirts may be ordered in advance by contacting Brown & Gold at (307) 745-2075 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Shirts may also be purchased in person at the Brown & Gold Outlet at 311 South 21st Street in Laramie. Individuals who pre-order shirts should specify whether they want to pick up their shirts at the Brown & Gold Outlet store or have their shirts shipped. A shipping fee will apply.
The Cowboys uniforms on Saturday will recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Cowboys will be wearing pink wrist bands, pink towels and pink socks as part of their uniforms for the Homecoming game. Wyoming helmets will also feature a decal, with the familiar pink ribbon logo of Breast Cancer Awareness. That pink ribbon logo will include a Bucking Horse emblem in the middle of it. The helmet decals will be worn for the entire month of October.
UNLV began the 2011 season with two tough road games at Wisconsin, losing 17-51 to the Badgers, and at Washington State, losing 7-59. The Rebels played their best game of the year in their home opener, defeating WAC preseason favorite Hawaii by a convincing score of 40-20. In that game, UNLV featured a very balanced attack, rushing for 186 yards and passing for 179 for 365 yards of total offense. The Rebel defense held Hawaii to only six rushing yards and 284 passing yards for 290 yards of total offense. UNLV also forced four Warrior turnovers in that game. Rebel running back Tim Cornett rushed for a season high 107 yards against Hawai'i, and UNLV's offense controlled the time of possession, holding the ball for 35 minutes and 05 seconds to Hawai'i's 24:49. Cornett averages 55.0 yards rushing per game to rank No. 6 in the Mountain West this season.
The following week, UNLV hosted Football Championship Subdivision member Southern Utah, and the Rebels were upset by SUU. The final score was 41-16. While UNLV recorded a season high 402 yards of total offense in that loss, the biggest contributor to the loss was five Rebel turnovers. Preseason All-Mountain West receiver Phillip Payne had season highs in receptions (13) and receiving yards (175) versus Southern Utah. UNLV sophomore quarterback Caleb Herring also had a season high in passing yards vs. SUU, with 223 yards passing, but he threw three interceptions. Payne is No. 5 in the MW in both receptions (5.00 per game) and receiving yards (61.0 per game).
Last week at in-state rival Nevada, UNLV was shutout, 37-0, and was held to only 110 yards of total offense, including only one pass completion out of 14 attempts for eight yards passing. The Nevada Wolf Pack offense, meanwhile, accumulated 699 yards of total offense -- 240 rushing yards and 459 passing yards.
This week, head coach Bobby Hauck has announced he is replacing Herring at quarterback with junior-college transfer Sean Reilly. Reilly has played in two games this season, completing 5 of 6 passes for 48 yards versus Southern Utah and completing 1 of 1 passes for 1 yard against Hawai'i. Reilly transferred to UNLV in January of 2011 following his sophomore season at Saddleback Community College in California. He threw for 2,425 yards and 26 touchdowns his sophomore season at Saddleback, leading his team to an 8-3 record.
As with all Wyoming Football games, the Cowboys Sports Network will broadcast Saturday's game live on radio over its 25 affiliate stations, beginning with the pregame show one hour prior to kickoff. Saturday's game will also be televised live on The Mtn.