Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 32
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. 32 – Alvester Alexander
Running back, 2009-11, Houston, Texas
Résumé in Laramie
When Alvester Alexander hung up his cleats in Laramie after the 2011 season, he was the ninth-leading rusher in school history with 2,127 yards. His 27 touchdowns were good enough for third all time. Now, those records have been bounced back to 11th and fourth, respectively. Alexander holds the school record for most touchdowns in a game with five (we’ll get to that in a minute) and joined Robert Herron (122) and Austyn Carta-Samuels (119) in eclipsing the 100-yard mark against New Mexico in 2010. Alexander finished with 151. The Houston tailback was a major component on two Wyoming bowl teams – A 2009 New Mexico Bowl victory over Fresno State and a 35-17 setback against Temple in his final game as a Wyoming Cowboy, the 2011 New Mexico Bowl. His 14 rushing touchdowns in 2010 was the best in school history until Brian Hill scored 22 times in 2016.
Wyoming and Colorado State have played each other in football 110 times. It’s one of the most heated rivalries west of the Mississippi River. That happens when schools are only 64 miles apart.
They call it the “Border War.”
In the 2010 meeting – the season finale for both teams -- it could’ve been renamed the “Laramie Massacre.”
General Alvester Alexander led the way.
Alexander gashed the Rams for 147 yards on 23 carries on that beautiful late-November day at War Memorial Stadium. He found the end zone a school-record five times in the 44-0 demolition of CSU.
Want to see all five scores? Me, too.
Those are touchdown runs of 34, 29, 21, 8 and 1 yards, tying him for the Mountain West Conference single-game record for rushing TDs. Dabby Dawson did hold the school’s all-time record with four against San Diego State in 1988.
It was the most lopsided victory for either team in the series. And, to think, Wyoming was only 2-9 at that point in the season and riding a six-game losing streak.
We call that meeting with the Rams a “slump buster.”
“No one in our organization gave up.” Then-head coach Dave Christensen told reporters following the game. “He (Alexander) has gotten better all year.”
The 5-foot, 11-inch, 212-pound speedster was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, joining teammate Josh Biezuns, who finished with 3.5 sacks and four tackles for loss in the romp.
"The coaches talked all week that we were going to pass and run the ball," Alexander told reporters. "We felt that there were some things we could do against their defense. We came out today and the holes were there to run. We could throw the ball. We just rocked it."
Alexander decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. He was not selected. Instead, Alexander spent time with the Bears, Colts, Titans, Steelers and the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League.
He was the second player in UW history to declare early, joining corner back Derrick Martin.
“I’m going to remember Laramie as a place that opened their homes up to me as a true freshman,” Alexander said after declaring. “I had never seen snow and had never been so cold, but I enjoyed it.
“There was no tension in the program, no problems with the way it was going, no problem with being in Wyoming.”
Imagine one more year with this dude?
Ken Sturman (1937-39) was a hard-nosed lineman from Lusk, who played on both sides of the football for the Cowboys.
How gutsy was this guy?
He played every down – on offense and defense – during his final two seasons in Laramie. The Cowboys played in the Big Seven Conference in those days, and Sturman was an All-Conference twice. He even earned Honorable Mention All-American in 1939.
Sturman could’ve gone pro after his college days. He was offered a contract by the New York Browns. But Uncle Sam came calling. And, as a tough guy, Sturman answered, joining the Army and the battle in World War II.
In 1992, the university held a “Player of the Century” ballot. Sturman was among the highest vote-getters.
He was inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.
Sturman died April 5, 2002. He was 87 years old.
“After the United States declared war, Lieutenant Sturman was assigned to the Pacific Theater where he would serve with the combat infantry until the conclusion of the war,” his obituary reads. “His experience took him from the Aleutians to Okinawa. He was decorated with the Bronze Star and wounded twice.
“With the advent of hostilities in Korea, Major Sturman was called to active duty. Again he was assigned to the combat infantry where he earned the Silver Star for gallantry in action, his third Bronze Star and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. He was wounded severely during combat operations and returned home to his family with his third Purple Heart.”
How’s the for a true hero?
And how about some love for another local guy, Je’Ney Jackson (1994-97).
Jackson, from Guernsey, picked off seven passes in his four-year career as a Cowboy, including five in his senior season. He was an All-WAC selection that season.
Jackson went into the coaching ranks after college, making stops at UW, Indiana, Southern Miss and Kansas.
Who else wore No. 32
Mike Newton (S), Allen Duyn (S), Myron Hardeman (RB), Darth Tesinsky (FB), Rich Sweeny (S-also wore 23), Kit Bradshaw (RB), Joseph Harris (RB), Christian Cameron (CB), Jake Schiffner (CB), Josh Tapscott (RB), Adam Pilapil (S), Paul Lomanto (RB), Keonte Glinton (S), Jahmari Moore (TE/FB)
- All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.