LARAMIE -- I'm betting you know who the star of this game was.

For one, his photo is at the top of this story.

Secondly, he was all over the field Saturday, making plays in the box, in the flat, the backfield and even on special teams.

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"I can tell you, he stood out to me," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. "I mean, he was operating at a faster pace. He was explosive."

Of course, we're talking about starting linebacker Chad Muma.


1st star: Chad Muma - Linebacker

The Cowboys' junior linebacker was the best player on the field Saturday. And it wasn't particularly close, either. The Lone Tree, Colo., product tallied a game-high 11 tackles against Montana State, including nine of the solo variety. Muma also registered two tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal. With the Bobcats driving late in the in the second quarter, MSU head coach Brent Vigen decided to go for a 4th-and 4 at the UW 35. Bad idea. Muma, untouched, came off the edge and hammered Matthew McKay on the blitz. Don't be surprised to see Wyoming's first team All-Mountain West selection earning another accolade from the league this week. This kid is special. Muma racked up 71 tackles in just five-and-a-half games last fall. That was good enough for third in the nation.


2nd star: Ralph Fawaz - Punter

Bohl rarely dips into the NCAA Transfer Portal for quick fixes. That's not how he rolls. That's why it was a bit of a surprise to see Clayton Stewart, a Texas State transfer, join the program this summer. It wasn't a shocker for Fawaz. The freshman from Oklahoma expected some competition. He got that and more this fall, but eventually won the job just last week. He responded by dropping five of his six punts inside the Bobcats' 20-yard line. Fawaz averaged 45.7 yards per kick and even boomed a 54-yarder in the thin air of Laramie. Can't ask for a much better debut than that.


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3rd star: Braden Smith - Safety

This is one of the feel-good stories on this team. Smith, a notorious effort guy, has been on campus since 2016. During his time at UW, he has sat behind safeties like Andrew Wingard, Marcus Epps, Alijah Halliburton, Rome Weber and others. Smith started all six games for Wyoming last fall. Rome opting out of the season due to COVID-19 gave him the shot he has been waiting for. This offseason, he won the job outright. Smith was the Cowboys' second-leading tackler Saturday with eight stops. Midway through the first quarter, the Lakewood, Colo., product hammered MSU wide receiver Willie Patterson, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Muma. The Bobcats were driving and looking to go up by two possessions. Smith had other ideas.

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