Cowboys Head to Vegas for Key Mountain West Matchup
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowboys (6-3 overall, 3-2 MW) hit the road for a showdown with UNLV (7-2 overall, 4-1 MW) in another key Mountain West Conference matchup inside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday at 8:45 MT in a contest on FS1.
The contest will be broadcasted on FS1 with Alex Faust on the call joined in the booth by Petros Papadakis. The game will also be available on the 26 stations of The Cowboy Sports Network with Keith Kelley on the call, Kevin McKinney on color and Erick Pauley on the sidelines.
Notes on the Cowboys
Bowl Eligible: The Cowboys earned their sixth win of the season on Friday against Colorado State. It marks the seventh time in the last eight season that the Cowboys are Bowl eligible. Wyoming played in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl last season. Wyoming has gone 3-2 in Bowl Games under head coach Craig Bohl.
Forcing Turnovers: The Cowboys forced three turnovers against Colorado State on Friday evening. Wyoming has forced 16 turnovers for No. 24 in the nation and fifth in the MW. Wyoming ranks No. 10 in the nation in turnover margin at 0.89. Wyoming has recovered nine fumbles so far on the season for fifth in the nation and second in the conference.
What a Crowd: It was a big night inside War Memorial Stadium on Friday against Colorado State, as Wyoming kept the prized Bronze Boot in Laramie. The announced attendance for the contest was 27,905 for the largest crowd of the season. It was the largest crowd since a crowd of 28,814 against Idaho on Sept. 14, 2019.
Waylee Tops Century Mark: Cowboy running back Harrison Waylee recorded 128 yards on the ground against Colorado State. It marked his fourth 100-yard performance of the season for the Cowboys. He has rushed for 2,615 yards in his career, which ranks No. 15 amongst active players in college football. He ranks third amongst active players in rushing yards per game at 93.4. He is fourth in the conference in rushing yards this season at 686.
Gunner Back in the End zone: It has been a long journey for wide receiver Gunner Gentry. He has struggled with injuries but hauled in his second career touchdown against Colorado State. It was his first since grabbing a score against Nevada on Oct. 24, 2020. That is 1,106 days since touchdown receptions.
3rd Down Defense: The Cowboy defense was outstanding against Colorado State on third down. The Pokes held the Rams to 0-of-10 on third down in the contest. It is the first time a Cowboy defense has held an opponent without a third-down conversion since holding App State 0-of-8 on third down on Oct. 3, 2015. the game against the Rams marked the third time Wyoming has held an opponent to zero third down conversations under head coach Craig Bohl the other was against New Mexico in 2014. In the Mountain West era of Wyoming Football the Cowboys have held opponents to zero first down conversions five times now also doing so against Utah State in 2006 and 2007 both games the Aggies went 0-of-13.
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Gibbs Makes Plays: Linebacker Easton Gibbs made some big plays for the Cowboys against Colorado State. He recorded his first career interception in the third quarter that set up what ended up being the winning score. He also recorded his first solo sack of the season that stalled a Ram drive to close the first half.
Suiaunoa Interception: Linebacker Shae Suiaunoa followed fellow linebacker Easton Gibbs and added an interception in the third quarter against Colorado State. It was the second of his career and the first since adding his first career interception against Northern Colorado last season.
Big Time Punt: Punter Clayton Stewart flipped the field with an impressive 72-yard punt in the second quarter against Colorado State. it was the longest of his career at Wyoming. He had three punts on the day averaging just over 50 per punt and pinned Colorado State inside their own 20-yard line two times. It was the longest punt since Ralph Fawaz had a 76 yarder at Air Force in 2021. It was the longest punt by a Cowboy in War memorial Stadium since Austin McCoy had a 74-yard punt against Boise State in 2010.
Westland with the Scoop: Defensive end Tyce Westland scooped up a fumble by Colorado State and returned it for 61 yards nearly finding the end zone. It was the longest fumble return by a Cowboy since Alijah Halliburton recorded a 79-yard return Missouri in 2019.
Holding onto the Ball: The Cowboys held onto the ball for 36:40 against Colorado State. It was the second most in a game this season after holding it for over 38 minutes against Texas. The Pokes had the ball for 18 minutes in the first half and over 10 minutes in the first quarter.
Scott Finds Pay dirt: Running back Sam Scott found the end zone in the third quarter against Colorado State. It marked his second touchdown of the season and of his career. He also tied for the team lead with three receptions. The three catches also tied his career high that he also had against Air Force.
Defensive Effort: The Wyoming defense held Colorado State to 274 yards of total offense with 220 yards coming through the air and 54 yards on the ground. It was the lowest total offense output for an opponent of the Pokes this season. It marks back-to-back home games that Wyoming has held the opposition to under 100 yards rushing, as Fresno State rushed for only 38 yards. Colorado State headed into the game averaging over 400 yards of offense per game and ranked fifth in the nation in passing yards.
Asante with Another Touchdown Grab: Wide receiver Ayir Asante hauled in a touchdown in the third quarter against Colorado State. It was his team-best fifth touchdown of the season. He now has 21 in his career, after recording 16 in his career at Holy Cross.
Peasley and Touchdown Passes: Quarterback Andrew Peasley threw two touchdown passes for the Cowboys against Colorado State. he now has 15 on the season for the Cowboys. He now has 25 touchdown passes in his two seasons with the Cowboys.
UNLV will enter this Friday’s game versus Wyoming with a 7-2 overall record and a 4-1 mark in Mountain West Conference play.
The UNLV Rebels assured themselves of a winning season last Saturday with a 56-14 road win over New Mexico. It was the Rebels seventh win of the 2023 season. UNLV earned bowl eligibility on Oct. 21 with a 25-23 home win over Colorado State for its sixth win of the season.
This season marks the first time since 2013 that UNLV earned bowl eligibility and the first time they’ve won seven games in a season. The 2013 Rebels finished the season with a 7-6 record and appeared in the Heart of Dallas Bowl where they lost to North Texas, 14-36.
The Rebel offense is being led by redshirt freshman quarterback Jayden Maiava, who took over earlier in the season when returning starter Doug Brumfield was injured against Vanderbilt in the third game of the season.
Maiava has started the last six games for UNLV and has won five of those starts, losing only to Fresno State, 24-31. The redshirt freshman is averaging 202.9 passing yards per game, while throwing 10 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. Junior wide receiver Ricky White is Maiava’s favorite target. White has caught 55 passes for 884 yards and six TDs.
The rushing attack has been shared by three running backs: Vincent Davis has 520 rushing yards; Donavyn Lester (388 rushing yards) and Jai’Den Thomas (385 rushing yards).
UNLV’s defense is led by linebacker Jackson Woodard (73 tackles and 1 interception); safety Johnathan Baldwin (46 tackles and 2 interceptions); linebacker Marsel McDuffie (42 tackles) and cornerback Cameron Oliver (40 tackles and 2 interceptions).
Safety Jaxen Turner is the team leader in interceptions (4 picks). He ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 8 in the NCAA in interceptions. UNLV’s defense has 12 interceptions as a team to rank No. 7 in the nation and No. 2 in the MW to Fresno State’s 14 interceptions.
On special teams, place-kicker Jose Pizano ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 2 in the nation in field goals made per game (2.11), ranks No. 1 in the league and No. 4 in the FBS in field-goal percentage (.950) and is No. 3 in the MW and No. 4 in the nation in scoring (10.4 points per game).
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