After home wins over Boise State and Utah State in their last two games, the Wyoming Cowboys will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., this Saturday to face the UNLV Rebels. Wyoming (7-2 overall and 5-0 in the Mountain West Conference) will be seeking its sixth consecutive win of the season and third consecutive road win when it takes on UNLV (3-6, 2-3 in the Mountain West) in a game to kick off at 1:30 p.m., M.T. (12:30 p.m., P.T) from Sam Boyd Stadium. The game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS and will be broadcast live on radio over the Cowboy Sports Network. The radio broadcast will begin with the pregame show one hour prior to kickoff.
The last time the Cowboys won six consecutive games was back in the 1998 season when they won seven in a row. The last time UW won three consecutive road games was back in the 1999 season, winning at No. 24 ranked Air Force, at Louisiana-Monroe and at Utah. This season, Wyoming broke through for a road win on Oct. 1, 2016, against rival Colorado State (38-17) and followed that up with a second consecutive road win at Nevada (42-34) on Oct. 22.
Wyoming will be playing UNLV for the 23rd time. Wyoming leads the series 12-10, and has won the last three meetings against the Rebels. A year ago, the Pokes captured a 35-28 win in Laramie. The last time UW played in Las Vegas was in 2012 where they won by a score of 28-23. The last win in the series for the Rebels came in 2010 by a score of 42-16.
The Cowboys 5-0 record in the Mountain West this season ranks them as one of only 12 of the 128 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs in the country to be undefeated in conference play in 2016. The other 11 teams are: Alabama (6-0 in the SEC), Clemson (6-0 in the ACC), Michigan (6-0 in the Big Ten), Oklahoma (6-0 in the Big 12), San Diego State (5-0 in the MW), Washington and Washington State (6-0 in the PAC 12), Western Michigan (5-0 in the MAC), Appalachian State (5-0 in the Sun Belt) and Arkansas State and Troy (4-0 in the Sun Belt).
Wyoming’s 5-0 record to start league play marks the first time since the Cowboys joined the MW in 1999 that they have begun conference play 5-0. The last time Wyoming began conference play 5-0 was in its last year in the Western Athletic Conference in 1998. UW began that season 6-0 in the conference.
The Cowboys 7-2 overall record this season is tied for the 12th best winning percentage among the 128 FBS programs in the nation. The only teams ahead of the Cowboys are: Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Washington and Western Michigan, which are all 9-0; Boise State, Louisville, Ohio State and San Diego State, all at 8-1; and Troy and West Virginia, both a 7-1. Wyoming of course handed Boise State its only loss of the season on Oct. 29.
UW continued to receive votes in this week’s national polls. Wyoming is tied for No. 34 in this week’s Associated Press media poll and is No. 31 in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll.
For the second consecutive week, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has been named one of the eight Manning Award Stars of the Week. He was the only quarterback from a Group of Five school among this week’s Manning Award Stars of the Week. The Manning Award is sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Against Utah State last Saturday, Allen had career highs in total offense (327 yards), touchdown passes (4) and TDs responsible for (5). He threw for 261 yards and rushed for 66. Allen accounted for five of Wyoming’s seven touchdowns throwing four touchdown passes and rushing for a fifth TD. He was nearly flawless in leading Wyoming to a 35-7 halftime lead. He completed 70.6 percent of his passes (12 of 17) in the first half and threw three of his four TD passes before halftime. He personally converted 7 of 8 third-down attempts in the first half -- three by passing and four by rushing.
For the second consecutive week, two Wyoming Cowboys were honored as the Mountain West Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week. This week, Allen and redshirt freshman linebacker Logan Wilson earned the honors for their performances in Wyoming’s 52-28 home win over Utah State. It was the second MW Player of the Week honor for Allen this season and the first for Wilson. Allen was also recognized for his play against Northern Illinois in the 2016 season opener.
Wilson was instrumental in both of the two turnovers forced by the Wyoming defense in its win over the Aggies. He also accounted for seven tackles, including five solo tackles, to go with his interception, which he returned for 56 yards, and his fumble recovery. Late in the second quarter, Wilson recovered a fumble forced by Cowboy cornerback Rico Gafford at the Utah State 44-yard line with only 1:19 remaining in the first half. Midway through the fourth quarter, Wilson intercepted an Aggie pass at the Wyoming 18-yard line and returned the interception 56 yards to the Utah state 26-yard line. Both turnovers led to Wyoming touchdowns.
The previous week, Wyoming senior nose tackle Chase Appleby and senior tight end Jacob Hollister were named the Mountain West Conference Defensive and Offensive Players of the Week.
A key to Wyoming’s success this season has been its ability to win the turnover battle. The Cowboys have won the turnover battle in eight of nine games this season, including the last seven consecutive games. The only game UW didn’t win the turnover battle was its loss at Nebraska. The Pokes have scored 76 points off turnovers, which is 23.5 percent of its total 323 points scored this season.
A couple Cowboys who moved up UW career charts last week were senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry and senior linebacker Lucas Wacha. Gentry now ranks No. 8 in school history in both career receiving yards (2,267) and career receptions (156). He ranks No. 7 in the school history in career touchdown receptions, with 14.
Wacha had eight tackles in the win over Utah State to improve his career total to 301 career tackles. He trails Brian Hendricks (309 tackles from 2008-11) for 11th place and trails Bruce Mowry (311 tackles from 1981-84) for 10th.
After Wyoming’s road trip to UNLV this Saturday, the Cowboys will return home to host San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 19 in the final home game of the 2016 regular season.