Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 7
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. 7 – Josh Wallwork
Quarterback, 1995-96, Tracy, Calif.
Résumé in Laramie
Josh Wallwork was named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference after his record-breaking senior season. He was the first and only Cowboy signal caller to surpass 4,000 yards passing and 30 touchdown tosses in a season. In 1996, Wyoming possessed the No. 1 passing offense in the nation. Wallwork is still 10th all-time in NCAA history in passing efficiency with a 152.7 rating. Two of the top-three passing games in school history also belong to Wallwork.
Most – in Wyoming, anyway – consider the 1996 Border War to be one of the best games in the history of the rivalry with Colorado State.
It had snow. It had championship implications. It had “The Drive.”
With Wyoming trailing by five with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Wallwork stepped into the huddle on that sub-zero day in Ft. Collins and said, “let’s get to work.” The Cowboys were on their own four-yard line.
That didn’t matter.
A hobbled Wallwork methodically picked apart the Rams’ secondary. He connected with his favorite target, Marcus Harris twice. He hit Wendell Montgomery for a big gainer. Then he went to Kofi Schuck. Marques Brigham picked up a big first down on the drive and eventually punched it in from five yards out to give the Pokes the 25-24 victory.
With the win, Wyoming remained undefeated, won the Pacific Division and punched its ticket to the inaugural WAC Championship game in Las Vegas.
That was Wallwork’s biggest moment. There were plenty more. To begin the 1996 campaign, Wallwork torched Idaho to the tune of 485 yards passing. He threw three touchdowns as the Pokes squeaked out the win. Later that season, in an important home tilt with Air Force, Wallwork racked up 453 yards and a score. Those are the No. 2 and 3 best single-game passing days in school history, respectively.
Wallwork could sling it. Check out the arm strength on this pass to David Saraf:
As a junior, Wallwork connected on 21 touchdown passes and threw for 2,363 yards. His senior year, he got even better.
Orchestrating Joe Tiller’s high-flying aerial attack, Wallwork broke every UW passing record with 4,090 yards and 33 touchdowns.
"It helps when you've got talented people around you," Wallwork told the Las Vegas Sun before the Pokes played UNLV in week 5. "But we had some success late last year and I think we've been able to build on what we did.
“I think I'm being more patient this year," he continued. "We're able to spread things around and that takes some of the pressure off of Marcus. Last year, I would try and force things. I'm used to making big plays. Now, I'm staying within the context of the offense and I just take what the defense gives me."
The defense gave him a lot. And most times, he made them pay.
As a starter, Wallwork finished his career at Wyoming with an overall record of 16-6 in two seasons. He still has the fifth-most yards passing in school history with 6,453, and is No. 6 in pass completions (449) and attempts (729). He is No. 3 all-time in touchdown passes with 54, just behind Casey Bramlet (56) and Brett Smith (76).
Though he was thought of as a third-or-fourth round draft pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, Wallwork wasn’t selected. He never played in the league. Wallwork did spent some time in Arena Football League 2.
There was another gunslinger at Wyoming who wore No. 7 in the 1990’s – Joe Hughes.
Hughes is still featured throughout the school record books, including a 1993 season that still ranks third all-time. Hughes to Ryan Yarborough was one of the best combinations in the nation. Hughes amassed 3,372 yards and tossed 24 touchdowns while leading the Cowboys to the Copper Bowl that season.
Hughes is just behind Wallwork, sitting sixth all-time in passing yards with 6,078. He is fifth in pass completions (452), pass attempts (787) and sixth in touchdown passes with 38.
Casper native Jacque Finn gets a nod from me here, too. Finn picked off eight passes in the Cowboys secondary during his career. In 2002, Finn returned an interception a school-record 100 yards against BYU in Provo.
Who else wore No. 7
Sammy Steinmark (DB), Robert Fresques (QB), Bob Wright (QB), Tim Beasley (RB), Jacob Doss (QB), Brian Kuntz (S), Kaither Hollway (WR), Shamiel Gary (S), Jonathan Aiken (WR), Chad Reese (S), DJ May (RB/LB), Chaves Pownell Jr (LB)
- All available rosters courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.