Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 69
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. 69 – Pat Rabold
Defensive tackle, 1984, 1986-88, Glencoe, Illinois
Résumé in Laramie
Pat Rabold was named an AP All-American after his senior season. That year, the defensive tackle also earned first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Rabold played in back-to-back Holiday Bowls and was a four-year letterwinner in Laramie. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the ninth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. Rabold was also selected for enshrinement in the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
Did Pat Rabold benefit from lining up next to Mitch Donahue or was it the other way around? Maybe both?
Actually, who cares?
Rabold racked up 30 quarterback sacks during his four-year career in Laramie, 19 behind his old partner in crime, who has the most takedowns in school history.
Rabold, a defensive tackle, not only had the propensity to make life miserable on opposing signal callers, he did most of his damage after missing an entire season undergoing a spinal fusion.
He was moved to the offensive line upon his return in 1986. That didn't last long.
Enter Paul Roach. Wyoming won 10 games that season, bouncing back from a 1-2 start. The Cowboys were Western Athletic Conference champions. Iowa awaited them at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
How did Wyoming turn it around so fast? A lot of it had to do with a defensive unit that featured some of the best players in the nation: Donahue, Jeff Knapton, Galand Thaxton, Doug Rigby, David Edeen, Robert Midgett, Mike Schenbeck, Pete Gosar and many, many others.
Rabold was moved back to the defensive side of the ball where he got to the quarterback 14 times that season while also tallying 100 tackles. Not to mention his four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and nine quarterback hurries. It was one of the most dominant seasons in Pokes lore.
The good times kept on rolling for Rabold and the Pokes.
They repeated as WAC champions, played in another Holiday Bowl and were led by a terrorizing defense once again.
Rabold started every game for the Cowboys in 1988. This time he got to the passer 16 times and finished with 18 more hurries. That, coupled with 85 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles, earned the senior All-American honors. He was also dubbed the WAC Defensive Player of the Year and earned first-team All-Conference.
He was also a guy who didn't mince words. After falling to Barry Sanders and Oklahoma State 62-14 in his final game as a Cowboy, Rabold was very vocal about Wyoming's effort that night at Jack Murphy Stadium.
"They have an outstanding football team," Rabold told the Associated Press. "I wouldn’t begin to deny that. But we couldn’t make any tackles, they ran by us, they ran over us. They did nothing wrong, and we did nothing right.
"We were embarrassed out there. It’s a shame we couldn’t have shown more pride and at least stopped them toward the end. Their backup people even killed us."
The news wasn't all bad.
In 1988, Rabold started all 13 games for the Cowboys, compiling 85 total tackles, 16 sacks, two tackles for lost yards, two forced fumbles, and 18 quarterback hurries. For his efforts, he earned AP All-America honors and was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-Conference.
Rabold was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the ninth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. He was enshrined in the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
Eric Abojei (2017-present), Wyoming's current offensive guard, could very well end up in this spot in a couple of seasons. The guy is a dominant force for Bart Miller up front.
Just re-watch the Missouri game.
Bob Carroll (1954-55) is also getting a nod here. He was a two-time Academic All-American under then-head coach Phil Dickens. He was a defensive back when the Cowboys took down Texas Tech in the 1956 Sun Bowl.
Carroll went on to become the winningest coach in University of Tennessee-Martin football history. He is a member of that school's Hall of Fame.
Jason Karcher (2003-06) was named second-team All-Mountain West Conference at the center position in 2006 and an honorable mention the season prior under then-head coach Joe Glenn.
Who else wore No. 69
Frank Bonds (G), Al Colella (G), John Walker (G), Wilbur Fisher (G), John Lisak (OT), Tim Ridgely (OG), Tim Waddell (OT), Brian Rldinger (LB), Herman Robinson (CB), Ryan Kelly (OG), Shane Glasser (OT), Jimmy Turner (DT), Russell Bannister (OT), Casey Phillips (OG), John Hutchins (OL), Austin Tixier (DL), Richard Bettencourt (OG), Mark Depew
All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.