Gear Up For Game Day: Fresno State
LARAMIE -- As always, I love to utilize this space each week during the season to not only give you the important info -- game time, TV channel, betting lines, etc. -- but also drop a bit of randomness on your plate.
That's how long it has been since Wyoming has won a conference championship. There have been a pair of division titles -- one in 1996 and the other in 2016 -- but the Cowboys haven't sat on top of the league standings at year's end since 1993.
Even then, they had company.
The last outright crown came all the way back in 1988, it was the second of back-to-back Western Athletic Conference Championships under the late, great Paul Roach.
Hard to believe, huh?
During that '93 campaign, a 32-28 victory over visiting Fresno State vaulted the Cowpokes to a 7-1 record. UW jumped into the Top 25, too.
You might recall the Bulldogs' signal caller that afternoon inside War Memorial Stadium.
Trent Dilfer, who went on to have a 14-year NFL career, highlighted by a Super Bowl title in 2000 as the starter of the Baltimore Ravens, did his part that day on the high plains. Dilfer completed 21-of-35 throws for 309 yards and connected on a pair of touchdown strikes.
It wasn't enough.
Tight end Mike Jones hauled in a 7-yard touchdown toss over the middle from Joe Hughes with 20 ticks remaining in regulation to lift the Cowboys to the four-point win. That was Hughes' second scoring strike in the fourth quarter as UW erased a 28-10 deficit.
All-American wideout Ryan Yarbrough snagged the other, a 47-yard touchdown.
Running back Ryan Christopherson also exploded for 120 rushing yards on the ground, 56 of which came on a touchdown jaunt on the first offensive snap of the third quarter. Terry Hendricks also scored from a yard out. Kurt Whitehead recovered a fumble on a strip sack by Tyrone Williams that set up the game-winning drive. The late Brent Shieffer also applied pressure on the play.
Dilfer was sacked four times in this one.
Check out this awesome game film, courtesy of the American Heritage Center, right HERE.
Fresno State also did the Pokes a favor before arriving in Laramie, knocking off BYU in Provo, 48-45. This victory gave Wyoming a brief stay atop the WAC standings. A heartbreaking 10-7 setback the following weekend in rain-soaked Albuquerque didn't help matters for Joe Tiller's squad. Neither did a 41-21 home loss to Border War rival Colorado State the following Saturday.
When the dust settled, the Cowboys shared the conference crown with both BYU and Fresno State.
Wyoming would face No. 20 Kansas State in the Copper Bowl. Kansas State and its new offensive coordinator Dana Dimel, routed the Pokes, 52-17.
Dimel would eventually replace Tiller in Laramie before the 1997 season.
The 1993 team will be in town this fall, at some point, celebrating its 30-year reunion and the last conference title in program history. A win this Saturday over the No. 24 Bulldogs can go a long way in helping Craig Bohl's 'Boys break this unwanted three-decade skid.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised on FOX.
Here is all you need to know -- and the links -- for Saturday's tilt in Laramie:
WHO: No. 24 Fresno State (5-0, 1-0) at Wyoming (4-1, 1-0)
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 6:00 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 69, low 32, sunny, winds at 11 mph
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, Wyo. (29,181 capacity)
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
TICKETS: Wyoming Ticket office
BOX SCORE: ESPN
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Fresno State
HISTORY: Fresno State leads series 9-5
BETTING ODDS: Fresno State - 6.5, O/U: 44.5
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Jeff Tedford
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Gallery Credit: Sarah Jones