Nov. 14, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys will be seeking their third consecutive win of the season when they travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to play the UNLV Rebels on Saturday. The game is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m., Mountain Time (1 p.m., Pacific) from Sam Boyd Stadium. UW enters the game with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-4 Mountain West Conference mark. UNLV is 2-9 overall and 2-4 in the Mountain West.
Saturday's television coverage will be carried live on K2TV of Casper and KKTU TV of Cheyenne. The telecast will be originated by Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Describing the play-by-play action will be Barry Tompkins. He will be joined by former University of Colorado and NFL offensive lineman Jay Leeuwenburg, who will serve as color analyst.
Fans will also be able to listen to Saturday's game on the Cowboys Sports Network. The live radio broadcast will begin one hour prior to kick off.
Wyoming and UNLV will be playing for the 21st time in the two schools' histories. The series is split evenly, with both teams having won 10 games each. Both teams are 6-4 on their home fields.
The Cowboys are coming off two consecutive wins over Colorado State and New Mexico entering this week's game. It is the first time this season that UW has won back-to-back games. The last time UW had won two in a row was Nov. 12 and 19, 2011, when the Pokes won a road game at Air Force (25-17) and a home game versus New Mexico (31-10). The last time Wyoming won three in a row was the first three games of the 2011 season versus Weber State (35-32 on Sept. 3), vs. Texas State (45-10 on Sept. 10) and at Bowling Green (28-27 on Sept. 17). UW will also be looking for its first back-to-back road wins since consecutive road wins in 2011 at San Diego State (30-27 on Oct. 29, 2011) and at Air Force (25-17 on Nov. 12, 2011).
Wyoming sophomore quarterback Brett Smith is playing some of his best football of the season. Last week against New Mexico, Smith threw for a career high 374 yards. In his last three games versus Boise State, Colorado State and New Mexico, Smith has completed 63 of 99 pass attempts (63.6 percent), thrown no interceptions, nine touchdown passes and passed for 825 yards -- an average of 275 yards per game. Smith has not thrown an interception in his last 106 pass attempts. He threw his last interception at Fresno State on Oct. 20.
The Wyoming passing attack has led the way in scoring points for the Cowboys the past two seasons under the direction of Smith. He has already thrown 42 touchdown passes -- 20 as a freshman in 2011 and 22 thus far his sophomore season. Smith ranks No. 4 in school history in TD passes thrown.
Over his four-year career as a Cowboy, current senior Chris McNeill has been one of the most consistent receivers in University of Wyoming history. That consistency has McNeill on the verge of breaking into a very exclusive club -- the Top 10 list in career receptions at UW. McNeill enters this week with 143 career receptions. He needs only eight more receptions to move into a tie for 10th place with former Cowboy tight end Gordy Wood.
Cowboy senior Mike Purcell is having an outstanding season in 2012. The senior was selected to the Mountain West Preseason All-Conference Team by conference media this summer, and he is living up to that honor. Purcell leads all Mountain West defensive linemen in tackles this season, averaging 7.1 per game, and he ranks No. 12 among all MW players this season. Purcell started his first game for the Cowboys back in his true freshman season of 2009. Since then he has started 34 of 40 career games entering this week.
After beginning the 2012 season with a -4 turnover margin in the first two games of the season, the Wyoming Cowboys have enjoyed a +8 turnover margin over their last eight games. Currently the Pokes have an overall +4 turnover margin and a per-game TO margin of +.400, ranking them No. 5 in the Mountain West Conference and No. 41 in the nation.
Following Saturday's final road game of the season, the Cowboys will return home for their season finale against San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 24 in a game that will kick off at 1:30 p.m.