Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 62
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. 62 – Leonard Kuczewski
Guard, 1957-59, Mt. Carmel, Penn.
Résumé in Laramie
Leonard Kuczewski was inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012. He was a first-team All-Conference player in 1959 and earned honorable mention All-American honors. He was also the first lineman ever to be named Most Outstanding Player in the Sun Bowl, and was also a member of the 1958 Bowl All-Star team. Kuczewski was on the 75th anniversary All-Sun Bowl team. He was voted team captain in 1959 and was also named to the All-Skyline Conference academic team.
It was Cowboys versus Cowboys.
The venue, Kidd Field in El Paso, Texas.
Hardin-Simmons rolled into the Sun Bowl 6-4 overall under the direction of head coach "Slinging" Sammy Baugh. The private school from Abilene's only losses on the season came to national powers Ole Miss and LSU, and at Baylor and Arkansas. Those Cowboys went 4-0 in Border Conference play and boasted five players on the All-Conference team.
Then, there were the Pokes from Laramie led by legendary head coach Bob Devaney. Jim Walden was Wyoming's signal caller. Dick Hamilton was the lead running back with 381 yards on 62 carries.
The Cowboys entered just the third bowl game in program history with a 7-3 record, including wins over Oregon State, Colorado State, Utah and BYU.
There was plenty of star power in this one, however, it was a 5-foot, 9-inch lineman that ran away with MVP honors in the 14-6 Wyoming victory.
Len Kuczewski opened the hole for a 22-yard touchdown dash from Bud Snyder. The Iron man wasn't done quite yet.
On Hardin-Simmons' next possession, Harold Stephens tossed an errant pass right into the awaiting arms of Kuczewski, setting UW up in business at the Cowboys' 14-yard line. Another Kuczewski block, another Snyder touchdown followed.
Wyoming was up 14-0. That's all the scoring they would need on this day.
During Kuczewski's tenure in Laramie, the Cowboys went 21-7-3 overall. He became the first lineman to ever be named the Sun Bowl's MVP that day in west Texas. That honor also landed him on the 75th anniversary team.
Widely thought of as one of Wyoming's greatest lineman ever, Kuczewski -- all 176 pounds of him -- was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2012.
Quentin Skinner (1989-91) and the Cowboys opened the 1990 season 9-0 and were ranked as high as 18th in the nation. They rolled over Washington State on the road, and hammered Utah and Air Force in back-to-back weeks.
Skinner, a center for the Pokes, was a battery mate with quarterback Tom Corontzos. He blocked for tailbacks Dabby Dawson and Dwight Driver. Wyoming would drop its final three regular season games but still go on to play in the Copper Bowl. The Cowboys fell to the Cal Bears, 17-15, that day in Tucson, Arizona.
Skinner's son, also named Quentin, is a long snapper for the national champion LSU Tigers.
Jacob Bonde (2001-04) won just four games in his first two seasons in Laramie. It was a down time for the program under Vic Koenning.
Enter Joe Glenn.
Bonde and the Cowboys won four games in 2003, including home upsets over rivals CSU and BYU. Both times the goal posts came tumbling down at War Memorial Stadium. Things were finally on the uptick. The big nose tackle from Denver helped in that transition from the cellar to Sin City.
The Cowboys took on heavy favorite, UCLA, in the Las Vegas Bowl the following season. Bonde and the Pokes stunned the college football world, knocking off the Bruins, 24-21.
Bonde currently works for Colorado Insurance Benefits, Inc.
Who else wore No. 62
Bob Miller (G), Norb Olind (MG), Mark Tullous (OG), Scott Studie (OG), Jeff Tapp (OC), Joe Sutherland (TE-WR), Larry Demshar (P), Eric Campbell (NG), Tim Pruitt (DL), Justin Graham (K), Phil Babich (OG), Jake Jones (OT), Seth Edeen (DE), Eli Moody (OG), Rudy Stofer (OT)
All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.