Gear up for gameday: New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE -- This has been an odd series.
Close, but odd.
Wyoming holds a 38-36 edge all time against the Lobos. Today in Albuquerque, these long-time conference foes will meet for the 75th time. It doesn't feel like that number should be so close.
Here are a few reasons why:
Conference championships: UW 14, UNM 4
Division titles: UW 2, UNM 0
All-time victories: UW 553, UNM 495
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When I think about the history of this game, my mind immediately drifts to arguably the best college football player I ever witnessed with my own eyes -- Brian Urlacher. The future NFL Hall of Fame linebacker snagged his sixth touchdown pass of the season in the 1999 meeting in Laramie. He returned kicks, played defense and was a man amongst boys on the field in a 42-28 loss to the Cowboys.
You knew his future was very bright. It was.
* In 2003, the Lobos came to the high plains and rolled over Joe Glenn's Pokes, 26-3. More like DonTrell Moore rolled, racking up 153 yards as temperatures hovered around minus-5 degrees. Glenn looked like Kenny from South Park on the sideline. It was that cold. That was the middle of a six-game win streak in the series for New Mexico.
* Karsten Sween made his first-career start inside University Stadium back in 2006. The southpaw's debut didn't get off to the best start, tossing two interceptions and fumbling in the first half. But in the next frame, he threw a pair of touchdowns to Hoost Marsh and Michael Ford in a 14-10 victory over the Lobos. That win snapped a five-game losing skid on the road, dating back to '05.
* Who could forget the 2016 tilt in Albuquerque? I bet you wish you could. New Mexico rushed for a Mountain West record 568 yards and three Lobo ball carriers -- Teriyon Gipson (217 yards), Lamar Jordan ( 176) and Richard McQuarley (121) -- all eclipsed the century mark in the 56-35 blowout. That's the same season UW scored 66 points and still found a way to lose at UNLV. That's also the same season Josh Allen and the Cowboys played for a Mountain West title. Crazy.
* The Cowboys became bowl eligible in the 2018 season finale, smacking the Lobos on the road, 31-3. UW never got that bowl invite despite winning its last four games of the season. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but that afternoon a guy named Xazvian Valladay rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns on just 22 carries.
* That brings me to the last two meetings. Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico was forced to play its home games on the outskirts of Las Vegas inside Sam Boyd Stadium, former home of the UNLV Rebels. The team stayed in hotels all season. They did walkthroughs in casino parking lots. That December, the Lobos snapped an FBS-worst 14-game losing streak and a 20-game MW skid in a 17-16 victory over the Cowboys. That one hurt.
* Last October, UNM waltzed into Laramie on a five-game losing streak and embarrassed Craig Bohl's Pokes once again, this time claiming a 14-3 win inside War Memorial Stadium. Utilizing a triple-option attack, Danny Gonzales' bunch did just enough to put the Cowboys on their collective heels. Rocky Long's defense took care of the rest.
Not a ton of great memories, huh?
Keep in mind, I'm "just" 39 years old. You might have more fond memories of this series than I do. I don't remember it, but I hear the 1993 meeting was a heartbreaker. UW went on to claim a share of the WAC title with BYU and Fresno State, but that 10-7 loss in Albuquerque was brutal. When I think about the Lobos, though, my mind is littered with soul-crushing losses and what-did-I-just-watch moments. Maybe the victories don't jump out to me because, well, UW is supposed to win this game, right?
That hasn't always been the case. Kudos to the Lobos.
That needs to change today -- for a number of reasons.
Here is all you need to know -- and the links -- for today's tilt in ABQ:
WHO: Wyoming (3-3, 1-1) at New Mexico (2-3, 0-2)
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 62, low of 52, cloudy skies, scattered showers
WHERE: University Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M. (39,224 capacity)
TV: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
TICKETS: Wyoming Ticket office
BOX SCORE: ESPN
ROSTERS: Wyoming / New Mexico
BETMGM ODDS: UW -3, O/U 37 (Subject to change)
HISTORY: Wyoming leads 38-36 (Lobos have won two straight in series)
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Danny Gonzales
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