Gear Up For Game Day: New Mexico
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.
Ah, it's New Mexico week.
That should typically mean an automatic win around here, but we all know better.
Rocky Long is gone. He's now leading one of the top defenses in the country at Syracuse, to the surprise of absolutely no one.
He was a thorn in Wyoming's backside, sporting an 11-5 record against the Pokes during his head coaching days in Albuquerque and at San Diego State. Twenty-two years of facing that guy, and that's not even including the other eight seasons he was a defensive coordinator at both schools.
So long, Rock!
I'd love to say I have a ton of fond memories from this matchup over the years. I don't.
There was Kris Mindlin's missed 47-yard field goal in the rain in Albuquerque in 1993. If the 19th-ranked Cowboys win that one, there is no tri-championship with Fresno State and BYU.
Despite Wyoming pulling off the 42-28 victory in the 1999 meeting in Laramie, I can't tell you a single good thing that happened during that game. Jay Stoner did toss a couple of touchdown passes and Cliff Brye gashed the Lobos for 166 yards on the ground. He also scored twice.
I had to look that up.
What I do recall is a monster linebacker by the name of Brian Urlacher, who was literally doing it all for the visitors. He caught a touchdown pass in the loss. He also returned kicks and was a menace in Long's vaunted 3-3-5 defensive scheme.
Urlacher, a future NFL Hall of Famer, was truly in a league of his own.
Remember the 2001 meeting?
Malcom Floyd snagged a 20-yard touchdown pass with just 20 ticks remaining in regulation. That throw bounced off fellow wideout Scottie Vines and right into Floyd;s hands.
Surely this was the Cowboys' day.
JD Wallum's extra-point attempt drilled the right goal post. New Mexico escaped with the 30-29 victory and Wyoming would go on to finish the season 2-9 overall, losing its last eight.
In 2005, Wyoming got a firsthand look at the Lobos' all-time leading rusher DonTrell Moore. He rushed for 181 yards and found the end zone three times in a 27-24 loss inside War Memorial Stadium. Kenny Byrd booted through a 30-yard field goal to seal that win.
Let's fast forward to 2016.
Do we have to?
Wyoming had already punched its ticket to the Mountain West Championship where it would face, you guessed it, Long and the Aztecs. But first, there was a pitstop in Albuquerque.
The score was bad enough -- 56-35, Lobos -- but the stats are downright frightening. Led by Teryion Gipson (217 yards, two touchdowns), younger brother of former UW defensive backs Tashaun and Marcell Gipson, New Mexico rushed for a league-record 568 yards and seven touchdowns.
Yes, you read that right.
In 2020, despite being regulated to Las Vegas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Lobos managed to pull off the 17-16 stunner inside an empty Sam Boyd Stadium. That snapped the nation's longest losing streak at 14 games. A 20-game skid in Mountain West play also was put in the rearview.
Surely payback was in order the following season in Laramie.
The visitors held the Cowboys' anemic offense to just a single field goal while stealing a 14-3 homecoming victory. It was as ugly as the score would indicate.
Depressed yet? Me, too.
Wyoming still has a 40-35 edge in the overall series, and believe it or not, has won 4-of-6, including erasing a 14-0 deficit inside University Stadium last October to claim a 27-14 win.
The Cowboys longest winning streak against New Mexico sits at seven. Same can be said for the Lobos.
Can UW make it two in a row Saturday afternoon in Laramie? The oddsmakers sure think so. Craig Bohl's Pokes are a 14-point favorite.
I say they cover.
Here is all you need to know -- and the links -- for Saturday's tilt in Laramie:
WHO: New Mexico (2-2) at Wyoming (3-1)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 30 at 2:00 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 77, low 46, sunny, winds at 17 mph
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, Wyo. (29,181 capacity)
STREAMING: Mountain West Network
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
TICKETS: Wyoming Ticket office
BOX SCORE: ESPN
ROSTERS: Wyoming / New Mexico
HISTORY: UW leads series 40-35
BETTING ODDS: Wyoming -14, O/U: 40
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Danny Gonzales
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