Oct. 19, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys and BYU Cougars will bring identical 2-5 records into this Saturday's 77th meeting between the two longtime rivals. Saturday's game is scheduled to kick off at Noon, Mountain Time. Wyoming is looking for its first conference win of the season. The Cowboys are 0-3 in the Mountain West Conference, while BYU is 1-2 in conference play with their lone win coming against San Diego State in Provo. Both the Cowboys and Cougars have lost to Air Force and TCU this season. In fact the Pokes' three MWC losses have come against the three teams sitting atop the Mountain West standings, with their other MWC loss coming at the hands of No. 10 ranked Utah.
It will be Wyoming's last meeting versus BYU as a conference rival. The Wyoming Cowboys and BYU Cougars have played some memorable games through 76 previous meetings, and the history of their two successful football programs has been intertwined for decades. The series comes to an end this week as BYU will leave the Mountain West Conference after this season to go independent in football.
Wyoming and BYU were members of the Skyline Conference from 1938-61. The Cowboys and Cougars then joined the Western Athletic Conference from 1962-1998. When they left the WAC after the 1998 season, BYU and Wyoming ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in WAC history in wins. They played in the inaugural WAC Championship game in 1996 in a game that went to overtime before BYU prevailed 28-25. Both schools have been members of the Mountain West Conference from 1999-2010.
Following World War II, the two schools played each other for 47 consecutive seasons from 1946-1992. There was a two-year break in the series in 1993-94 due to a 10-team WAC where there was one conference opponent that each team didn't play over a two-year period and in 1997-98 due to the rotating divisions of the Western Athletic Conference. The series has been played uninterrupted since 1999 when the two teams joined the Mountain West Conference.
The first game between the two was played in 1922 when they played each other twice. BYU won the first meeting in Provo by a score of 7-0 on Nov. 14, and 16 days later Wyoming won 13-0 in Laramie on Nov. 30, 1922. Wyoming trails in the overall series 30-43-3.
Three of the nation's top safeties will be featured in this Saturday's game between the Cowboys and Cougars. Wyoming sophomore strong safety Shamiel Gary and BYU senior safety Andrew Rich enter this week tied for the Mountain West Conference lead in tackles. Both have 72 total tackles through seven games. Gary and Rich are also tied for No. 18 in the NCAA in tackles. Wyoming senior free safety Chris Prosinski is close behind. The 2010 Preseason First Team All-MWC selection has 67 total tackles and is averaging 9.6 tackles per game to tie for No. 3 in the MWC with UW linebacker Ghaali Muhammad. Prosinski and Muhammad are also tied for No. 30 in the nation in tackles.
The Wyoming Cowboys have been a strong road team during the two seasons under head coach Dave Christensen. Wyoming has posted a 4-5 (.444) road record over the past two seasons. The Pokes were 3-3 on the road in 2009, and have begun this season with a 1-2 record away from Laramie. If you add in a neutral-site victory in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl over Fresno State, Wyoming has built a 5-5 (.500) record away from Laramie over the past two seasons.
When looking at Wyoming's most recent road games, the Cowboys road record is even more impressive. In its last six games played away from home, Wyoming has posted a 4-2 (.667) road record. The Cowboys only losses in those last six games away from home were a 34-7 loss at then No. 4 ranked Texas on Sept. 11, 2010, and a 45-0 loss at then No. 5 ranked TCU on Oct. 9, 2010.
Saturday's game will be televised live on The Mtn., beginning at Noon, Mountain Time. The Cowboy Sports Network, as always, will broadcast the game live on radio beginning with the pregame show at 11 a.m., Mountain Time.