Nov. 16, 2011
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys, 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the Mountain West, will host their final home game of the 2011 football season on Saturday, Nov. 19 versus the New Mexico Lobos, 1-9 and 1-4 in the MW. Saturday's game will mark the final home game for 13 Cowboy seniors. The game will kick off at noon M.T., from Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium.
Wyoming is seeking its seventh win this season, which would earn them bowl-eligible status. The Pokes will also be seeking their second bowl-eligible season in the three years of the Dave Christensen era. Wyoming won the 2009 New Mexico Bowl over Fresno State, 35-28 in double overtime.
The Cowboys have attracted the third-largest average attendance in school history this season. Wyoming fans have turned out in force this year, averaging 23,603 fans for home games.
Wyoming is one of the most improved teams in the nation in 2011. The Cowboys' 6-3 overall record already is a three-game improvement over its final record in 2010 of 3-9. That places Wyoming among the top-five most improved teams in the NCAA this season and the most improved team in the Mountain West Conference. UW is tied with Cincinnati and Clemson for the fifth-most improved record in the country. Houston is the most improved team in the nation, bettering its record by five wins thus far this season.
The Wyoming Cowboys have been the surprise team in the Mountain West. Wyoming is tied for second in the conference with Boise State. Both teams have 3-1 conference records. Wyoming and Boise State's only MW losses came at the hands of league-leader TCU. Wyoming lost to TCU by 11 (20-31) in Laramie. Boise State lost by one (35-36) to the Horned Frogs in Boise. The Pokes were picked to finish sixth in the Mountain West preseason poll.
Wyoming's climb up the conference standings was keyed by outstanding play over the past three weeks. The Cowboys entered the season knowing that one of its most critical stretches of this season was likely to begin with an Oct. 29 road game at San Diego State and end with a Nov. 12 road game at Air Force, with a home game versus TCU sandwiched in between. The Pokes responded during that three-game stretch to post a 2-1 record, defeating both San Diego State and Air Force on their home fields, losing only to league-leading TCU.
The Cowboy defense keyed UW's victory last week at Air Force. Wyoming defensive coordinator Marty English and his staff put together an outstanding defensive plan, and the Cowboy players carried it out to perfection in their 25-17 road win over the Falcons. Wyoming held Air Force to a season low 17 points and limited the Falcons to 311 yards of total offense -- 145 yards under their season average. Air Force ended the game with a minus one yard passing on 2 of 5 attempts, including one interception. The Poke defense also forced four Air Force turnovers -- three fumbles and one interception. Sophomore cornerback Marqueston Huff helped the Cowboy defense put up six points of its own, returning a fumble 48 yards for the final touchdown of the game.
Wyoming is ranked No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin this season. The No. 1 and No. 3 ranked teams in turnover margin in the NCAA are the top two teams in the BCS standings entering this week. LSU is ranked third in turnover margin, and Oklahoma State is first in the NCAA in turnover margin.
The 13 seniors in the 2011 class have been part of many great memories in Wyoming Football history. A few of those memorable moments include:
Wyoming's 2009 New Mexico Bowl Championship, winning 35-28 in double overtime over Fresno State.
Back-to-back wins over archrival Colorado State, 17-16 in 2009 in Fort Collins and 44-0 in Laramie in 2010.
A 13-7 win over Tennessee in 2008. With that win, Wyoming became the first non-automatic qualifying BCS team to defeat Tennessee in legendary Neyland Stadium since 1986. Wyoming also became the first MW team to defeat Tennessee home, away or at a neutral site with its victory.
Playing in the biggest event in the history of Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium on Sept. 24, 2011, when Wyoming hosted Nebraska for the first time in school history.
Playing against the highest-ranked team to ever visit War Memorial Stadium -- thethe No. 2 ranked Texas Longhorns on Sept. 12, 2009.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on radio on the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show at 11 a.m. The game will also be televised live on The Mtn.