Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 1 Edwards vs. No. 16 Pumphrey
LARAMIE -- There's a few things that can land you on a list like this one.
Beating Wyoming with regularity certainly makes you a thorn in the side. Making stupid decisions will also draw the ire of fans. Being an all-round jerk will do it, too.
This is our version of the Un-Sweet 16, pitting the biggest villains in Wyoming Cowboys football history against one another and eventually crowning the worst of the worst. This won't be our opinion, it's yours. You can vote for who will advance to the next round by clicking on the box at the bottom of this page.
We did our best to round up the ultimate enemy of the Cowboy State. We reached out to people in the know, from different decades of UW football. Don't be surprised to see plenty of rivals on this list.
Here's today's opening-round matchup:
No. 1 LaVell Edwards vs. No. 16 Donnel Pumphrey
Let's start with the top-seed, the late LaVell Edwards. Why is he ranked so high on this list?
Let us count the ways.
Prior to arriving in Provo as the head coach in 1972, BYU was not what you would call a national brand. Actually, a more accurate description would be the Cougars were a doormat. The program won eight games or more just twice in its first 47 years of existence. Twenty-seven times BYU finished with a record below .500.
That all changed when Edwards took over. Utilizing a rare pass-first attack, by 1984 the Cougars were crowned National Champions. Edwards racked up 257 career wins on the sidelines in Provo.
Nineteen of those victories came against the Cowboys. Edwards finished with a 19-6 record against Wyoming, including ousting the Pokes 28-25 in overtime in the 1996 WAC Championship game in Las Vegas.
Bringing back some bad memories yet?
One of those UW victories came in 1981. After the 33-20 win inside a snowy War Memorial Stadium, Edwards vaulted himself right to the top of this list in just 13 words.
"I'd rather lose and live in Provo than win and live in Laramie," Edwards said.
Donnel Pumphrey was a stud.
When the dust settled on his college career at San Diego State, he was the NCAA's all-time rushing leader with 6,405. Some question the legitimacy of that record. Pumphrey got the benefit of bowl stats counting toward his total.
Regardless, he was dominant. And he was never afraid to let people know just how good he was.
After the Aztecs knocked off the Cowboys 27-24 in the 2016 Mountain West Championship, he taunted the UW faithful in person and on social media. (Looked for the visual proof on Twitter, but it only goes back to 2019.)
Pumphrey was a Cowboy killer throughout his career.
In that title game, the senior rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. In total, Pumphrey rushed for 326 yards on 71 attempts in three-career games against the Pokes. That's an average of nearly five yards per carry.
To make matters even worse, Pumphrey's buddy in the backfield, Rashaad Penny, torched the Pokes for 170 rushing yards in that title game and added a 75-yard kick return. In the regular-season meeting, Penny gashed Wyoming for 79 yards on just five carries. He also returned a kickoff to the house.
The Cowboys held on for the 34-33 victory.
SDSU's two-head monster was scary, but Pumphrey's mouth is mainly what snuck him on this list.
So, who do you dislike more? Vote here:
98% of voters think Edwards is a bigger villain than the Pumphrey.
Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium
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