Wyoming hopes for third win in the last four meetings versus SDSU
Junior is named Special Teams Player of the Week by Mountain West
UW This Season: A solid contributor on the defensive front last season, Mat Birkeness will help solidify a line that will anchor the defense this fall. Birkeness has appeared in all 25 games over the last two years as a reserve and will continue to backup All-Mountain West Conference defensive end Josh Biezuns this season.
2010: Birkeness was a solid backup at defensive end during his sophomore campaign, as he appeared in all 12 games. He finished the season with 22 tackles, including 12 solo stops, to go with 4.0 tackles for loss for seven yards and 1.5 sacks. He also had two pass breakups. Birkeness' top performance was a four-tackle effort at UNLV in which he also recorded a tackle for loss. The previous week at New Mexico, he posted three tackles and a sack.
2009: As a redshirt freshman, Birkeness saw action in all 13 games. He played a great deal on special teams. He recorded one assisted tackle in UW's game against Texas on Sept. 12.
High School: Birkeness was named First Team All-State in Class 5A by the Rocky Mountain News as a tight end following his senior season of 2007. He also earned Honorable Mention All-State by the Denver Post. Birkeness was ranked by Scouts.com as the No. 89 best tight end prospect in the nation. He also earned All-State honors his junior season. As a tight end and outside linebacker, he helped lead Columbine High School to the 2006 Class 5A State Championship. In 2007, Birkeness was part of a Columbine team that entered the state playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, posting a 10-1 record. He caught 16 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns his senior season. He also had 56 tackles, nine sacks, one interception, forced four fumbles and recovered four fumbles on defense. Birkeness was a First Team Academic All-State selection as a senior. His high school teams posted a combined record of 44-5 in his four years of high school. He played for head coach Andy Lowry at Columbine High. He concluded his high school career in the Colorado High School Coaches' Association All-Star game played in Greeley, Colo. He was also recruited by Air Force, Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State and Utah.
Personal: Born Oct. 4, 1989, he is one of four children of Stacy and Arne Birkeness. He is majoring in communications.