Cowboys Gear Up For Cougars In Home Opener [VIDEOS]
After an impressive season debut last week, the Wyoming Cowboys make their home debut against the Washington State Cougars Saturday in Laramie.
The game starts at 1:30 p.m. from War Memorial Stadium and is being televised on CBS Sports Network.
Wyoming (1-0) dominated in their first game with a 29-7 victory at New Mexico State last week. They finished with 449 yards of offense, which included 312 rushing. That last total brought a smile to the face of UW assistant coach Gordie Haug, who is in charge of the running backs. Three of his guys ran for 50 or more yards, which included senior Nico Evans career-best 190 yards and two touchdowns. Haug talked with KOWB’s David Settle about his group’s performance.
Last week also featured the debut of Wyoming’s new quarterback in redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal. He completed 62 percent of his passes for a pedestrian 137 yards in his first college game but didn’t turn the ball over. Vander Waal admitted to some nerves but thought it was a good first game. He’s confident he can build on it moving forward and feels ready to take on more if asked, especially if Washington State tries to shut down the Cowboys’ ground game.
The final piece to last week’s opening victory was an absolutely dominant defensive performance. The Pokes defense allowed only 135 total yards and most of those came late against back-ups. Senior captain and nose tackle Conner Cain spoke with KOWB’s David Settle about just being back out on the field and playing in a game for the first time since his season-ending injury at Boise State last October. Cain was very happy to back out there. He talked about his comeback, the surprise of being named one of the team’s captains, looked ahead to Washington State and more.
Wyoming faces a Washington State team that returns only ten starters. That’s the fewest of any school in the PAC-12 conference. The Cougars will have a new quarterback in graduate transfer Gardner Minshew II. There’s no doubt that Washington State will throw the ball under seventh-year head coach Mike Leach. The Cougars were second in the nation last year at 367 passing yards per game. Running back James Williams will be counted on to anchor the offense. He had 71 receptions last season, a school record for a WSU running back and the most by an RB in the FBS. Williams also ran for 395 yards. From a defensive standpoint, the Cougars were ninth against the pass in 2017 and No. 16 in total defense. Safety Jalen Thompson led the team with 73 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries a year ago. Linebacker Jahad Woods also returns. He had 64 total tackles last season and 11 tackles for loss.
This will be the seventh meeting between the two schools in football. Washington State leads the series 4-2. That includes a 31-14 victory over the Pokes in Pullman, WA in 2015. In a bit of an unusual twist, both of Wyoming’s wins in the series came on the road.
The Cowboys have won 13 of their last 15 home opening games. They’ve also won 12 of their last 15 overall at War Memorial Stadium.
The game is a “Gold Rush” game, where fans are encouraged to wear gold to the game. The first 4,000 fans through the gates of the stadium will receive free t-shirts with the university’s new slogan, “The World Needs More Cowboys.”
It’s also Hall of Fame weekend. The school’s 26th class was inducted in ceremonies last night. They will be recognized at halftime today.
The game starts at 1:30 p.m.