Nov. 10, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys go on the road to face the San Diego State Aztecs this Saturday. Both teams will be fighting to keep their bowl hopes alive. Wyoming and SDSU enter this week with identical 4-5 overall records and identical 2-3 records in the Mountain West Conference.
Saturday's game will kick off from San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium at 8 p.m., Mountain Time. The game will be televised live by The Mtn. The Cowboys Sports Network radio broadcast will begin with the pregame show at 7 p.m.
Each team must win two of its last three games to reach bowl-eligible status. Wyoming has road games remaining at SDSU and Colorado State and a home game with TCU. SDSU's final home game is this week's vs. Wyoming. The Aztecs have to go on the road to Utah and UNLV the final two weeks of the season.
This week's meeting is the 31st between the two schools. UW and SDSU will be playing each other for the 31st time in the last 32 seasons. The only season they didn't play was 1998 due to the rotating divisions of the then 16-team Western Athletic Conference.
Wyoming leads the overall series 16-14. The home team has dominated in the series. Wyoming holds an 11-4 advantage in games played in Laramie. SDSU holds a 10-5 advantage in games played in San Diego.
The last three meetings in San Diego have been decided by an average of a touchdown (7.0 points per game). Wyoming lost by five (20-25) in 2003, by 13 (21-34) in 2005 and by three (24-27) in 2007.
Wyoming and San Diego State have played three common opponents to date -- Air Force, BYU and New Mexico. The Cowboys and Aztecs both lost on the road at Air Force - Wyoming by a score of 10-0 and SDSU by a score of 26-14. UW and SDSU both lost at home to BYU - Wyoming by a 52-0 final and San Diego State by a 38-28 score. Both defeated New Mexico on their home fields. The Cowboys defeated the Lobos 37-13 in Laramie, while the Aztecs won by a score of 23-20 in San Diego.
This week's two head coaches are both in their first seasons at their respective schools, but both have been college coaches for over 20 years.
Wyoming's Dave Christensen is in his 25th season as a college coach, and his 20th coaching at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. He was named the National Offensive Coordinator of the Year in 2007 by Rivals.com. That same season, Christensen was runner-up for the Frank Broyles Award, which honors the nation's top assistant coach. He helped lead Missouri to a No. 4 national ranking in the 2007 season -- the highest ranking ever for a Missouri team. This season is Christensen's first as a head coach.
San Diego State's Brady Hoke began his college coaching career at Grand Valley State back in 1983. He was an assistant coach at Western Michigan, Toledo, Oregon State and Michigan before being hired as the head coach at his alma mater Ball State in 2003. In his six seasons at Ball State, he led them to a 34-38 overall record and a 27-20 conference mark, culminating in a 12-1 season in 2008 and a perfect 8-0 conference mark. Hoke was named the Region 3 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association in 2008, and was one of 10 finalists for the 2008 Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year award.
The Mountain West Conference has five automatic bowl berths this season with the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, New Mexico Bowl and Roady's Humanitarian Bowl. If conference member TCU remains in contention for a BCS bowl berth there may be six bowl opportunities for MWC teams to play in postseason. Four Mountain West teams have already achieved bowl eligibility by winning six games this season. Those four schools are Air Force, BYU, TCU and Utah. In addition to Wyoming and San Diego State, UNLV still has an opportunity to earn bowl eligibility if it can win its last two games of the season at Air Force and at home versus SDSU. Colorado State and New Mexico have both been eliminated from bowl contention.