Wideout Bouknight Stepping Up for Cowboys

Oct. 15, 2002

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -

Midway through the college football season, who do you think isthe University of Wyoming's leading receiver?

How about Ryan McGuffey, who has been the leader each of the past twoseasons?

Nope.

How about Brock Ralph or Malcom Floyd, who combined for more than 1,300yards and six touchdowns last season?

Wrong again.

The correct answer is Jovon Bouknight.

Who?

Bouknight, a redshirt freshman, leads the Cowboys in both receptions (22)and yards (300).

"I thought it would be (McGuffey)," said passing game coordinator andreceivers coach Rob Phenicie. "It has been a weird deal so far.

"When Jovon's in there, he does a good job. He's still not at full speed,but I'm pleasantly surprised at him being our leading receiver."

Bouknight, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder from Denver, hasn't been at full speedsince he suffered a high ankle sprain in UW's second game of the season atCentral Michigan.

The injury came early in the game. And on the hit that caused the injury,Bouknight fumbled the ball in a play that later resulted in a CentralMichigan touchdown.

It has taken a while for Bouknight to recover from that injury, bothphysically and mentally.

"It really hurt me when I went down against Central Michigan, and itaffected my play the next two weeks," he said.

Bouknight never missed a game because of the injury, but his production wasreduced.

Through the Cowboys' first two games, he caught seven passes, including hisfirst collegiate touchdown against Tennessee. But after that, Bouknightcaught just four passes over his next two games.

Then there was his breakout effort Oct. 5 at home against The Citadel: Heled the Pokes with eight catches for 93 yards.

"That was a very big game for me," Bouknight said. "I needed that to getback to where I used to be and get my confidence back up. I finally realizedI have a chance to do what I can do."

Bouknight followed his effort against The Citadel with a three-catch,49-yard effort Saturday against Colorado State, including a 36-yardtouchdown reception in the third quarter.

He also has made an impact returning kickoffs. He is second on the team with10 returns and a 17.9-yard average.

Bouknight showed signs during spring drills and fall camp that he would fitin with UW's talented and tested receiving corps that returned its top fivepass-catchers from 2001.

McGuffey, Ralph and Floyd all missed spring drills with injuries, andBouknight quickly became junior quarterback Casey Bramlet's go-to guy.

Even when those three returned for fall camp, Bouknight still made a lot ofplays.

"It's nice to have him back," Bramlet said. "Before, the defense maybe hadto worry about three guy out there; now they have to worry about a fourth.They can't just pick on one and stop him.

"He has done a good job of coming back from his injury and the fumbleagainst Central Michigan. He has showed a lot of people he's a competitorand that he's not ever going to give up."