Nov. 22, 2011
It will be a battle for second place in the Mountain West ConferenceWyoming Cowboys travel to Boise, Idaho, to face the Boise State Broncos. The Cowboys and Broncos enter Saturday's matchup tied in the conference race with 4-1 league records. Wyoming is 7-3 overall. Boise State is 9-1. Saturday's game will kick off at Noon, Mountain Time.
The only conference loss for each team came at the hands of league-leading TCU. Wyoming lost 20-31 to the Horned Frogs in Laramie, while Boise State lost 35-36 in Boise. The Cowboys and Broncos have played three other common opponents this season. They each defeated San Diego State in San Diego. Each defeated UNLV by identical 27-point margins. Wyoming defeated Air Force in Colorado Springs by eight points. Boise State defeated the Falcons by 11 in Boise.
Boise State will be the 10th Top 25 ranked team that Wyoming has faced during the three years Dave Christensen has been head coach of the Cowboys. The Broncos are ranked No. 7 in this week's BCS standings and in the Associated Press Media Poll. BSU is ranked No. 8 in this week's USA Today Coaches' Poll and the Harris Interactive Poll.
Saturday's game will feature two veteran defenses, but offensively there will a definite contrast in experience. Wyoming features true freshman phenomenon Brett Smith at quarterback. The Broncos are led by senior and Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore at QB. Moore leads the Mountain West in total offense (286.5 yards per game) and ranks No. 19 in the nation. Smith is second in the conference (274.4 yards per game) and ranks 27th in the NCAA. Moore is the winningest quarterback in the history of FBS college football. He has compiled a 47-3 (.940) career record. Earlier this season, he broke the previous record of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who won 45 games during his career.
Smith is coming off a 352-yard performance last week against New Mexico that made him the Mountain West freshman record-holder in total offense. He has 2,744 yards of total offense this season, which broke the previous MW freshman record of 2,691 yards set by TCU's Andy Dalton in 2007.
In conference play, Wyoming's defense has been outstanding allowing only 99 total points to opponents in five conference games for an average of 19.8 points per game. Only TCU, which has allowed 98 total points and 16.3 points per game in MW play has been better. Every other MW team is allowing 25 or more points per game to conference opponents.
Two Cowboy defenders lead the Mountain West in tackles at their respective positions. Senior defensive end Gabe Knapton is leading all MW defensive linemen in tackles for the second consecutive season. Knapton is averaging 6.6 tackles per game. Cowboy strong safety Luke Ruff leads all Mountain West defensive backs in tackles, averaging 7.9 per game.
Knapton has moved into fifth place on the Wyoming career tackle list, passing former Poke great Ken Fantetti. Knapton has 353 career tackles. Fantetti had 352 from 1975-78. Knapton is sixth on the Mountain West career tackle list and ranks 10th in the nation among active players.
Senior linebacker Brian Hendricks moved into 12th place on the Wyoming career tackle chart last Saturday, with six tackles versus New Mexico. Hendricks has 278 career tackles and passed former Cowboy Aaron Kyle, who was credited with 275 stops from 1972-75.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on the Cowboy Sports Network beginning with the pregame show at 11 a.m. The game will also be televised live on The Mtn.