Oct. 13, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys will be looking to keep their Mountain West Conference record perfect when they travel to Air Force this coming Saturday in the 48th meeting between the two Front Range rivals. UW is 4-2 overall and 2-0 in MWC play. Air Force will enter Saturday's game with a 3-3 overall record and a 2-1 conference mark. This Saturday's game kicks off at Noon, Mountain Time.
Wyoming has begun Mountain West Conference play 2-0 for only the second time in the 11 years it has been a member of the Mountain West. The only other time the Pokes began MWC play 2-0 was the 2005 season. That year, UW won, 29-28, at Air Force and defeated UNLV, 42-17, in Laramie before losing at home to TCU, 28-14, in its third conference game of the season. UW has never began MWC play 3-0.
The two teams will be playing against one another for the 30th consecutive season when they meet this Saturday. The Cowboys and Falcons have been members of the same conference since 1980 when Air Force joined Wyoming in the Western Athletic Conference, and they have played every year since. UW had been a founding WAC member in 1962. Both teams became founding members of the Mountain West Conference in 1999.
Wyoming and Air Force have faced one common opponent to date, New Mexico. If comparative scores mean anything Saturday's game between the Cowboys and Falcons should be extremely close as they both defeated the Lobos by identical 37-13 scores. Wyoming's win over UNM came at home in Laramie. Air Force won in Albuquerque.
The Wyoming Cowboys won their third consecutive game last Saturday with their home win over New Mexico. That win followed a 30-27 home victory over UNLV on Sept. 26 and a 30-28 road win at Florida Atlantic on Oct. 3. The last time Wyoming won three games in a row was the 2006 season, when it defeated New Mexico (14-10) in Albuquerque before recording home wins over Utah (31-15) and Colorado State (24-0).
The last time Wyoming won four consecutive games was the 2005 season. The Cowboys began that season with a 32-14 loss at Florida, but UW bounced back to win its next four straight. During that four-game winning streak, Wyoming defeated Louisiana-Monroe (38-0 in Laramie), won at Air Force (29-28), defeated Ole Miss (24-14 in Oxford, Miss.) and beat UNLV (42-17 in Laramie).
The Wyoming defense recorded a second-half shutout of the New Mexico Lobos last week. It was the first time the Cowboys had shutout a team in a half since the first half of their 13-7 win over Tennessee in Knoxville on Nov. 9, 2008. The last time Wyoming shutout an opponent for a complete game was Oct. 21, 2006, when the Pokes shutout Colorado State in Laramie by a score of 24-0.
It had been nearly two seasons since the Cowboys recorded 5.0 or more sacks in a single game when they sacked New Mexico quarterback Donovan Porterie 5.0 times last Saturday. The last time the Cowboys had accomplished that was on Oct. 27, 2007, when they recorded 8.0 sacks in a 29-24 home win over UNLV.
Wyoming remains the only team in the nation to have three individuals ranked among the Top 25 tacklers in the nation. Leading the way are sophomore inside linebackers Gabe Knapton and Brian Hendricks and junior free safety Chris Prosinski. Knapton ranks No. 2 in the MWC, while Hendricks and Prosinski are tied for No. 3 in tackles in the Mountain West Conference this season. Nationally, Knapton is tied for No. 5 in the nation, Hendricks and Prosinski are tied for No. 23. Only one other team in the country has multiple individuals ranked among the nation's Top 25 tacklers - that is Minnesota with two.
Air Force features three of the top ten rushers in the MWC. The Falcon rushing attack is led by junior running back Jared Tew, who is ranked No. 5 in the MWC, with 317 yards rushing this season. Tew is followed by junior running back Savier Stephens with 313 yards (No. 6 in MWC) and sophomore running back/quarterback Asher Clark with 312 yards (No. 7 in the MWC).
The Air Force defense has allowed just 13.8 points per game, which ties them for 10th in the NCAA and is first in the MWC. The Falcon defense has allowed 282 yards of total offense per game, ranking them second in the MWC and 18th in the NCAA.
The Wyoming Cowboys began a new tradition last Saturday versus New Mexico. The Cowboys entered the field carrying two flags -- a United States Special Forces Flag and a Wyoming State Flag. On Friday, Oct. 9, 2009, members of the Special Forces Association Cowboy Chapter 71 presented the Wyoming Football team with an official flag of the United States Special Forces along with a symbolic Green Beret once worn by a fallen Green Beret in Afghanistan. The U.S. Special Forces Flag will be carried onto the field each week by the Wyoming Cowboy who has scored the most points as a special forces (special teams) player the previous week. The first week, freshman special forces performer Luke Ruff earned that honor. Also the week leading up to the Oct. 10 game versus New Mexico, the Wyoming Football team was sent a package by the 115th Fires Brigade based out of Cheyenne. One of the items in that package was a Wyoming State Flag, which had been flown over Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. The Wyoming State Flag will be carried on the field each week by a Cowboy player who is a native of the state of Wyoming to honor those from Wyoming who are serving overseas. Buffalo, Wyo.,native Chris Prosinski was given the honor of being the first Wyoming native to carry the flag.
This Saturday's game will be televised live by The Mtn. The Cowboy Sports Network will, as always, broadcast the game on radio beginning with the pregame show one hour prior to kickoff, or 11 a.m. this Saturday.