The Wyoming Cowboys will be making their first appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl this season where they will face an old rival in the BYU Cougars. The game will kick off on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m., M.T. (6 p.m., P.T.) from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. For tickets to the game, fans may contact the UW Athletics Ticket Office online at GoWyo.com/tickets, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 307-766-7220 or by stopping by the main ticket office on the west side of the Arena-Auditorium.
The Cowboys enter the bowl season as the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division Champions. This season will mark the first time in history that the Cowboys will play 14 games in a single season. Wyoming has played 13 games in a single season six times: 1987 - 10-3 record; 1988 - 11-2; 1990 - 9-4; 1997 - 8-5; 2009 - 7-6; & 2011 - 8-5.
The Cowboys have an all-time bowl record of 6-7. UW’s last appearance in a bowl game was the 2011 New Mexico Bowl, losing to Temple, 37-15. Wyoming’s most recent bowl victory came in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl, defeating Fresno State, 35-28 in double overtime.
This year’s match-up with BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl will be the 78th time the two schools’ have met on a football field. The series record between the two teams has Wyoming with 30 wins, BYU with 44 wins and there have been three ties. Wyoming and BYU first played in football back in 1922. The two teams played twice that season. BYU won the first game on Nov. 14, 7-0 in Provo. Wyoming won on Nov. 30 in Laramie by a score of 13-0.
The two teams were in the same conference from 1922 until 2010. From 1922 to 1937, they were both members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. From 1938 to 1961, UW and BYU were conference members of the Skyline Conference. In 1962, the two were founding members of the Western Athletic Conference and played in the WAC until they became founding members of the Mountain West Conference in 1999.
The last time the two teams met was in 2010 as members of the Mountain West. That game, on Oct. 23, 2010, was played in Provo and the Cowboys lost a close 20-25 game. In 2011, BYU left the Mountain West to play as an FBS independent.
Having been in the same conference with each other from 1922 until 2010, the Cowboys and Cougars have never played each other in a bowl game, but they have played one other time against one another in a postseason game. That meeting was the inaugural WAC Championship Game in 1996. The two division winners faced off on Dec. 7, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nev. Wyoming entered the game ranked 22 in the nation and BYU was ranked No. 6. The game went to overtime with BYU coming away with a 28-25 win.
This season, Wyoming and BYU share two common opponents -- Boise State and Utah State. The Cowboys defeated Boise State, 30-28 in Laramie and also beat Utah State, 52-28, in Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium. BYU lost by one point, 27-28, on the road at Boise State. The Cougars defeated the USU Aggies, 28-10, in Provo to end the regular season.
There are some common themes that run through the Wyoming Cowboys last few bowl games. In each of Wyoming’s last four bowl games, the Cowboys were led by a first-year starting quarterback: 2004 -- Corey Bramlet vs. UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl; 2009 -- Austyn Carta-Samuels vs. Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl; 2011 -- Brett Smith vs. Temple in the New Mexico Bowl; and 2016 Josh Allen vs. BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl.
In each of the Cowboys’ last three bowl games, Wyoming had the Mountain West Freshman of the Year: 2009 -- Austyn Carta-Samuels (QB) vs. Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl; 2011 -- Brett Smith (QB) vs. Temple in the New Mexico Bowl; and 2016 Logan Wilson (LB) vs. BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The final common theme for the Cowboys is that in each of UW’s last two bowl game appearances, the Cowboys have been coached by the Mountain West Coach of the Year: 2011 -- Dave Christensen vs. Temple in the New Mexico Bowl and 2016 Craig Bohl vs. BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Wyoming has won two of its last three bowl games, recording a 24-21 win over UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl and following that up with a 35-28, double-overtime win over Fresno State in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl. The Cowboys lost to Temple in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl by a score of 37-15.
The 2016 Poinsettia Bowl will be televised live on ESPN on Wednesday, Dec. 21. The game will also be broadcast on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network. Check your local Cowboy radio affiliate for more information.