Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 42
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. 42 – Sean Fleming
Kicker/ punter, 1988-91, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Résumé in Laramie
Sean Fleming is the all-time leading scorer in Wyoming football history with 324 points (153 extra points, 57 field goals). His 57 field goals are the most by any UW kicker. So is his single-season performance of 110 points in 1988, where he made 17 field goals and booted 59 extra points. In 1990, Fleming hammered six field goals and two extra points against Arkansas State. Those 20 points are the most points scored in a single game in Cowboy history. Cory Wedel also hit six against Idaho in 1996. Fleming has the record for most consecutive extra points made (59), led the team in scoring three times (1988, 89, 90) and was 100 percent on extra-point attempts in 1988 and ’90. Fleming helped lead the Cowboys to the 1988 WAC title and played in two bowl games during his collegiate career.
The game clock inside Falcon Stadium read 01.0.
Sean Fleming, a freshman place kicker playing in only his fourth career game for the Cowboys, calmly trotted out on the field and gazed up at the yellow vertical pipes 27 yards ahead of him. Wyoming had just overcome a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Fleming’s right leg was the only thing standing between overtime and one of the greatest comebacks in Wyoming football history.
Fleming and the Cowboys silenced the stunned crowd in Colorado Springs that afternoon, vaulting Wyoming to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. That kick helped spring the Cowboys on a six-game winning streak. Wyoming would eventually defend its WAC title and play Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl.
“That was a strange game; it was like it didn’t happen,” quarterback Randy Welniak told reporters following the 48-45 victory over Air Force. “The fourth quarter was like a dream. I hope I’m never put in that situation again. It was just one of those once-in-a-lifetime things.”
Ninety seconds prior to that game-winning kick, Fleming passed another stressful test. Steve Bena had just punched it in from nine yards out to cut the Air Force lead to 45-44. Wyoming head coach Paul Roach decided to play for the tie instead of the go-ahead 2-point conversion attempt.
Fleming was money.
He was money all season, going 59-of-59 in extra-point attempts as a freshman. He also made 17 field goals that season. His 110 points during his rookie campaign is still the most in a single season from any UW player.
And did we mention he was a punter, too? A darn good one.
In 1989, Fleming averaged 42.3 yards per punt. In a 1990 game against Air Force, Fleming averaged 53.6 yards per boot. That’s still the sixth-best single-game performance in UW history. His 90-yard bomb against Louisville in ’89 is still the longest punt in the record books.
Fleming owns most of the field-goal kicking records at Wyoming, too.
After his career in Laramie ended, he started shattering the Edmonton Eskimos’ kicking records.
Fleming was a first-round draft pick in the Canadian Football League in 1992. There, he became the Eskimos all-time leader in points (2,571), field goals (553), converts (713), punts (1,264), punt yardage (52,957) and kickoff yardage (69,973). Fleming was a three-time Grey Cup Champion. He was named Most Outstanding Canadian after the ’93 game.
“I believe that being on the Eskimos Wall [of Honour] is more than accomplishments on the field, Fleming told Esks.com back in 2016. “It also reflects how you conduct yourself and represent yourself in the community. I hope that when the next generation of players look up in the stadium and aspire to be on the Wall, they will see it’s more than about putting on a jersey on game days.”
In a long line of great kickers in Wyoming history, Fleming will always be thought of as the standard. But, don’t look now, current place-kicker Cooper Rothe is nipping at his heels. He enters the 2019 campaign just 64 points behind Fleming in the scoring race. And with 13 more made field goals, Rothe will tie Fleming’s record of 57.
Jay Jenkins (1993-96) was a four-year letterman for the Pokes and about as tough as they come at the linebacker position.
He showed that to a national audience during the inaugural WAC title game in Las Vegas in 1996.
Jenkins went all out that afternoon against BYU, registering nine tackles, a pair of tackles for loss and this:
That score finally put the Pokes on the board in the third quarter. Thought Wyoming would fall 28-25 in overtime, Jenkins was named the defensive MVP of the game.
Who else wore No. 42
Kevin Prosser (LB), Riley Lange (TE), Matt Cobb (LB), Nick Landess (P), Greg Genho (TE), Aaron Robbins (DE), Matt Klotz (S), Shane Scott (FB), Ed Schmidt (S), Bruce Mowry (LB), Jim Stankus (S)
- All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.