Wyoming Travels to UNLV for Thursday Night Matchup

Nov. 10, 2008


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The Wyoming Cowboys and UNLV Rebels will both be trying to keep their hopes alive of becoming bowl eligible in 2008 when they meet this Thursday night in a game to kick off at 7 p.m., Mountain Time (6 p.m., Pacific Time) from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Both teams bring identical records of 4-6 overall and 1-5 in Mountain West Conference play into this week's game.

The game will be televised live on CBS College Sports, formerly CSTV.

The Cowboys Sports Network radio broadcast will begin one hour before kickoff on the 27 affiliate stations of CSN.

With consecutive wins the past two weeks, the Wyoming Cowboys are back in the chase to get bowl eligible. Wyoming is 4-6 overall with two games remaining to play -- at UNLV this Thursday and at home versus archrival Colorado State on Nov. 22. Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams must be 6-6 overall to become bowl eligible.

The Mountain West Conference has four teams that have already earned bowl eligibility -- Utah (10-0), TCU (9-2), BYU (9-1) and Air Force (8-2). The MWC has four automatic bowl bids with the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl and the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. But if an MWC team goes on to earn a bid to a BCS bowl, it would open up a slot for a fifth bowl team from the Mountain West.

Wyoming, UNLV and Colorado State are all still fighting to become bowl eligible with identical 4-6 records with two games to play.

San Diego State (1-9) and New Mexico (4-7) have been eliminated from bowl contention.

CSU hosts New Mexico this Saturday prior to traveling to Laramie on Nov. 22. UNLV will play its final game of the season on the road at San Diego State, also on Nov. 22.

Wyoming and UNLV will be meeting for the 17th time in the two schools' histories. The series is as close as a series can be -- tied at 8-8. The series is also tied home and away. Both schools are 4-4 at home and 4-4 on the road in the series.

Wyoming has a current four-game winning streak in the series. The Cowboys have won the last two meetings in Las Vegas in 2004 (53-45 in three overtimes) and in 2006 (34-26). UW has also won the last two in Laramie in 2005 (42-17) and 2007 (29-24).

UW and UNLV have played three overtime games against one another in the last 10 seasons -- all three of those games were played in Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Wyoming won in overtime in 1998 (28-25) and in 2004 (53-45 in three overtimes). UNLV won in 2002 (49-48).

The series has been marked by streaks. UNLV won the first three meetings. Wyoming captured the next four. UNLV won the next five. Wyoming has won the last four.

The Cowboys 13-7 win in Tennessee's Neyland Stadium last Saturday, was the first time a non-BCS conference team had won there since Oct. 11, 1986, when Army defeated the Volunteers 25-21 in Knoxville. Never had a Phillip Fulmer-coached Tennessee team lost to a non-BCS conference school at home until Wyoming's 13-7 win last Saturday.

Wyoming also became the first MWC team to defeated Tennessee. The Volunteers had a perfect 15-0 record against current members of the Mountain West Conference heading into its Nov. 8 game with Wyoming.

Following last Saturday's win over Tennessee, Joe Glenn's Wyoming teams are now 3-1 versus Southeastern Conference (SEC) opponents during his six years at Wyoming. Glenn has won his last two road games versus SEC teams. His Cowboys defeated Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., on Sept. 24, 2005, by a score of 24-14. He also defeated Ole Miss in Laramie, 37-32, in 2004. His only loss to an SEC team came at Florida in the 2005 season opener by a score of 32-14. Glenn is the only University of Wyoming coach to win a game versus an SEC opponent, and he has done that three times.

For the second consecutive week, the Wyoming defense has played spectacularly. This past week, UW's defensive unit intercepted two passes - one, by junior defensive end Mike Neuhaus, set up a touchdown and the other was returned for a touchdown by senior linebacker Ward Dobbs.

On the day, the Cowboy defense intercepted two passes and broke up seven other pass attempts, led by sophomore cornerback Marcell Gipson who broke up five by himself. UW also recorded three sacks for the second consecutive week and recorded eight tackles for losses.

UW's defense held Tennessee to only seven points and 219 yards of total offense -- 101 rushing and 118 passing.

Through the first 10 games of the season, Wyoming's offense has depended on the rushing attack to lead the way. Wyoming is averaging 178.0 yards rushing per game, while throwing for 104.9 yards per outing. The Cowboys rank No. 4 in the Mountain West Conference in rushing offense and No. 34 in the NCAA.

Senior running back Devin Moore is currently ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference in all-purpose yards and in rushing yards. Nationally, he is ranked No. 6 in all-purpose yardage and No. 14 in rushing in the NCAA for the 2008 season. Moore is averaging 172.4 all-purpose yards per game, 113.2 rushing yards per game and 22.1 yards per kickoff return.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Stutzriem made his first career start in Wyoming's 35-10 win over San Diego State on Nov. 1, 2008, and it was quite a first start.

Against Tennessee last week, redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Stutzriem completed 8 of 16 passes (50.0 percent) for 95 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for another 21 yards for 116 yards of total offense, and was not sacked once. He gave Wyoming the lead when he hit fullback Greg Genho on a four-yard touchdown pass following a 55-yard interception return by Wyoming's Mike Neuhaus that put the ball at the Tennessee four-yard line.

Three times during the game, the freshman led Wyoming on critical drives after being pinned deep in their own territory. The first of those long drives was in the second quarter, with UW on its own 11-yard line following a punt. Stutzriem proceeded to drive the Pokes 75 yards in 14 plays ending on the UT 14-yard line, but unfortunately the Cowboys missed a 31-yard field goal.

The second critical drive came later in the second quarter, with the Pokes pinned on their own one-yard line following a punt. The freshman helped guide the UW offense on a 10-play, 47-yard drive which ran out the final 4:14 on the clock in the first half and protected a 13-0 UW halftime lead.

The third and final critical drive came midway through the fourth quarter. That drive began on Wyoming's own 19-yard line when the Cowboys took over on downs from the Volunteers. Stutzriem and the offense ran 3:58 off the clock with the quarterback converting a critical third and 10 on UW's own 19-yard line. He was forced to scramble from the pocket and while on the run hit wide receiver Chris Johnson on a 26-yard gain that got the Cowboys out of the shadow of their own goal post and out to the 45-yard line. That played keyed a huge change in field position that allowed Wyoming to punt the ball four plays later and pin Tennessee back on its own 24-yard line for its final possession of the game.

Following this Thursday's game at UNLV, Wyoming will return home to host Colorado State in the 100th "Border War" on Saturday, Nov. 22. That game is scheduled to kick off at Noon, Mountain Time.