Wyoming football can become bowl eligible with a win Saturday at New Mexico

    The Wyoming Cowboys will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., this week for a Saturday meeting with the New Mexico Lobos in a game that will kick off at 12:30 p.m., M.T. from Branch Field at University Stadium.  The Cowboys enter the game with a 5-6 overall record and a 3-4 record in the Mountain West Conference.  New Mexico is 3-8 overall and 1-6 in the conference.  Wyoming will be seeking its sixth win of the season and will be seeking to get bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.

    Saturday’s game will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboys Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show starting at 11:30 a.m., M.T. on Saturday.  The game will also be televised live on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.

    The Cowboys bring a three-game winning streak into Saturday’s match-up with the Lobos.  Wyoming’s last three consecutive wins came at Colorado State (34-21), at home versus San Jose State (24-9) and at home against Air Force (35-27).  The last time Wyoming won three consecutive games was during the 2017 season when they defeated New Mexico, Colorado State and Air Force in consecutive weeks.  The Pokes had another three-game winning streak earlier in the 2017 season vs. Hawai’i, Texas State and at Utah State.  The last time Wyoming won four consecutive games was during the 2016 season when UW won five in a row in mid-season.


    Wyoming is ending the regular season where it began this season, playing in “The Land of Enchantment.”  Wyoming’s season opener was against New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M., back on Aug. 25.  UW  won that game 29-7.

    The Cowboys and Lobos will be playing for the 71st time in their long-time series, which ranks as the fourth longest for the Cowboys after Colorado State (110 meetings), Utah (83) and BYU (78).  Wyoming leads the overall series against New Mexico with 37 wins to 33 for Lobos.  In the 36 games played in Albuquerque, the series is split evenly at 18 wins apiece.

    A win on Saturday would make Wyoming bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.  The Cowboys enter this week with a 5-6 overall record and need to get to 6-6 to earn bowl eligibility.  Wyoming posted an 8-5 record in 2017 and earned a trip to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, where UW defeated Central Michigan 37-14.  In 2016, the Cowboys achieved an 8-6 record and were invited to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.  The Pokes faced BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl, and lost a close game by a final score of 21-24.  The last time Wyoming was bowl eligible in three consecutive seasons was from 1997-99.

    Wyoming and New Mexico have played six common opponents this season.  The Cowboys have a 3-3 record versus those six teams.  UW defeated New Mexico State, Colorado State and Air Force, while losing to Boise State, Fresno State and Utah State.  New Mexico is 1-5 versus the six common opponents.  The Lobos defeated their in-state rival, the New Mexico State Aggies, but lost to the five Mountain West foes.


    Senior Andrew Wingard could make history on Saturday.  He is currently No. 2 on the Mountain West Conference career tackle list, with 449 career tackles.  He trails former New Mexico Lobo great Carmen Messina by only five tackles.  Messina recorded 454 career tackles from 2008-11.  Wingard is also No. 2 on the Wyoming all-time tackle list, trailing former Cowboy linebacker and UW Hall of Famer Galand Thaxton.  Thaxton was credited with 467 career tackles from 1984-87.  Wingard is 18 tackles away from tying Thaxton’s record.

    Another Cowboy senior who is having an outstanding season is tight end Tyree Mayfield.  Mayfield has caught 20 passes this season for 333 yards and two touchdowns.  He is averaging 16.7 yards per catch, which ranks him fifth in the nation in average yards per catch for tight ends who have at least 20 receptions this season.

    Wingard and redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal were named the Mountain West Defensive and Offensive Players of the Week this past week for their performance in Wyoming’s wild, come-from-behind win over Air Force last Saturday in Laramie.  Wyoming scored three touchdowns in the final 4:32 of the game to erase a 27-14 deficit versus the Falcons and turn it into a 35-27 victory.  Wingard led Wyoming with 13 tackles and had an interception to seal the win.  Vander Waal threw for 225 yards, rushed for an additional 22 yards, threw two touchdown passes and ran for two TDs.


    This week also saw two Wyoming Cowboys be named finalists for national awards.  Senior free safety Marcus Epps has been named one of three finalists for the 2018 Burlsworth Trophy, which honors the nation’s best player who began their college career as a walk-on.  Junior place-kicker Cooper Rothe has been selected as one of three national finalists for the 2018 Lou Groza Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker.


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