Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 41
CHEYENNE -- Do you ever see a number on a Wyoming football jersey and think of all the great players to wear it? Yeah, me too. In this daily series, I’ll give you my take on which Pokes’ football player was the best ever to don each number. The criteria are simple: How did he perform at UW? What kind of impact did he have on the program?
No. 41 – Eddie Talboom
Quarterback/ tailback/ kicker, 1948-50, Delphos, Ohio
Résumé in Laramie
Eddie Talboom helped lead the Cowboys to back-to-back conference championships in 1949-50. Those were the first two Skyline titles in school history. In 1950, Wyoming went 10-0 and played Washington & Lee in the Gator Bowl. Talboom scored all 20 points for the Pokes in the 20-7 win and was named the game’s MVP. Talboom was the Cowboys first-ever All-American and selection into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first player to ever pass for 1,000 yards at UW. His 303 career points is second most in school history, and his 10.8 average points per game is still sixth in NCAA lore.
Eddie “Boom Boom” Talboom should make the list simply because of that picture above.
Does that say Wyoming Cowboy or what?
Under that famous Denver Post photo, which was dated Dec. 10, 1950, the caption reads: Eddie Talboom, Wyoming's All-America back, is ready to go all out to lead the Cowboys to a win over the Washington & Lee Generals in the 'Gator Bowl game at Jacksonville, Fla., New Year’s Day. The 'Pokes have settled down to hard drills and promise no "horsing around" when the chips are down against the rugged southerners.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
In the Cowboys’ first-ever bowl appearance, Talboom threw for 141 yards in coach Bowden Wyatt’s “Tennessee T” offense. Wyoming rolled to a 20-7 win over the Generals from Virginia in front of 7,362 in attendance that day in eastern Florida. In Talboom’s final collegiate game, he was named MVP.
In a release from the Gator Bowl website, the author summed up the game perfectly.
“The Gator Bowl expanded its reach to the outskirts of the country to arrange a matchup between Wyoming and Washington & Lee (VA) in the 1951 game. Washington & Lee considered the hat-wearing Cowboys to be nothing more than rejects from the Tennessee Volunteers. Despite a small showing from the Wyoming fans, the Cowboys used the Generals’ trash talk as motivation. 29-year-old quarterback Eddie Talboom led the westerners to a 20-7 thumping.”
Here's one of those scores:
Only the 5-foot, 10-inch, 157-pound Talboom wasn’t a Tennessee reject, he was a transfer from the University of Notre Dame after serving in World War II.
He was the first star football player at UW. He broke nearly every offensive record, including snapping the NCAA mark with 303 points (34 touchdowns, 99 extra points) in just 28 games. His average points per game – 10.8 – is still good enough for sixth all-time in college football history.
And a chunk of those numbers came in one game, a 103-0 rout of Colorado State College in 1949. He accounted for 29 of those points. Only place-kicker Sean Fleming finished his career in Laramie with more points accounted for that Talboom with 324.
Talboom’s 34 rushing touchdowns second in program history still, just one shy of Brian Hill’s 35.
He was the school’s first All-American. Talboom ran, punted, passed and place-kicked his way into being selected the first-ever College Football Hall of Fame inductee in UW history in 2000. Jay Novacek followed eight years later.
He was inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.
Talboom died June 6, 1998. He spent his post-football life as a teacher and a coach at the high-school level.
Aaron Langley (1996-98) was one of the top punters in UW history. During his three-year stint in Laramie, Langley averaged 44.7 yard per kick. That is still good enough for second all-time behind Rick Donnelly’s 45.8. It’s also good enough for 18th all-time in NCAA history.
Langley’s 45.7 yards per boot during the 1996 season is also the second best single-season performance from a Cowboy punter.
His ’97 season is fourth all-time (45.2) and his 98’ campaign is ninth (43.4).
How about another guy who could put the boom on the ball?
You won’t find JD Wallum’s (2001-02) name littered throughout the school’s history books, but in 2001, the former walk-on was named an All-American place-kicker by the Football News.
In 2002, Wallum was a Lou Groza Award candidate. But two games into the season, he suffered a knee injury, ending his collegiate career.
Who else wore No. 41
Jeff Howe (FB), Gary Wood (S), DeWaine Jones (RB), Brent Schieffer (TE), Sean Claffey (LB also wore No. 34), Robinson Mandel (TE), Cameron Clark (S), Alex Toney (S), Cody Bousema (P/K), Andrew Meredith (RB), Ethan Wood (P/K), Luke Miller (LB), Ryan Galovich (K), Davon Wells-Ross (LB)
- All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.