Wyoming Football’s 2018 schedule released; Pokes open at home with Pac 12’s Washington State
(Laramie, Wyo.) — A schedule featuring home games against four teams that made postseason appearances last season, including PAC-12 Conference member Washington State, highlight the 2018 University of Wyoming Football schedule.
Home Schedule Will Kick Off Versus PAC-12 Member Washington State
The Cowboys’ home schedule will open on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Washington State. The Cougars were 9-4 in 2017 and earned a bid to the Holiday Bowl. It is the first time since 1989 that the Cougars have played in Laramie, and marks the second consecutive season that Wyoming has hosted a PAC-12 opponent. The Pokes hosted Oregon in 2017.
Wyoming’s second home game on Sept. 15 will feature one of the top teams in the country in FCS football in Wofford College. The Terriers were champions of the Southern Conference a year ago with a 10-3 overall record. Wofford was the No. 7 seed in the 2017 FCS Playoffs and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual national champion North Dakota State. It was the second straight year that Wofford had reached the FCS quarterfinals.
On Sept. 29, Mountain West Conference play will open for the Cowboys in a match-up of the Mountain Division champions from the past two seasons — the Cowboys, division champs in 2016, and Boise State, division and conference champions in 2017. The Broncos won last year’s Las Vegas Bowl over Oregon. The last time Wyoming and Boise State met in Laramie in 2016 was one of the most memorable games in War Memorial Stadium history, with the Cowboys coming away with a thrilling 30-28 victory.
The 2018 Homecoming Game on Oct. 20 will pit the Pokes against a fourth postseason team from 2017 in Utah State. It will be the 69th meeting between the two teams. Utah State played in last year’s Arizona Bowl where they lost to New Mexico State, 26-20 in overtime.
San Jose State will travel to Laramie for a Nov. 3 meeting with the Cowboys, and the final home game of the 2018 regular season will be on Nov. 17 when Front Range rival Air Force comes to town for the 57th game in the Cowboy-Falcon series.
Games at SEC Member Missouri and at Rival Colorado State Highlight Road Schedule
Wyoming will open the 2018 season on the road at New Mexico State on Aug. 25. NMSU captured the 2017 Arizona Bowl Championship in a 26-20 overtime win over Utah State.
The Cowboys will play their first ever game versus SEC member Missouri on Sept. 8 in Columbia, Mo. The Tigers earned a bid to last season’s Texas Bowl after tying for third place in the SEC East a year ago.
In conference play, Wyoming will travel to Hawai’i (Oct. 6) and Fresno State (Oct. 13) in consecutive weeks.
The 110th edition of the Border War will be played on Oct. 27 in Fort Collins, Colo., with the Cowboys seeking their third consecutive victory in the series.
Wyoming will conclude the regular-season on the road at New Mexico on Nov. 24. This year’s Mountain West Conference Championship Game will be played on Dec. 1 at the site of the highest ranked MW divisional champion.
The 2018 Wyoming Cowboys Return One of the Nation’s Top Defenses
The Wyoming Cowboys will enter the 2018 season coming off back-to-back eight-win seasons, consecutive bowl appearances and a bowl victory in the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Wyoming will return one of the nation’s top defenses led by senior All-America candidates Andrew Wingard, at strong safety, and Carl Granderson, at defensive end. Other key returnees on include juniors Youhanna Ghaifan, a 2017 First Team All-Mountain West honoree at defensive tackle, Logan Wilson, a 2017 Second Team All-Mountain West selection at linebacker and Tyler Hall, an Honorable Mention All-MW selection as a return specialist. A year ago, the Cowboys were No. 1 in the nation in takeaways (38 turnovers forced), No. 9 in the NCAA in scoring defense (17.5 points allowed per game), No. 13 in pass defense (174.90 yards allowed per game) and No. 23 in total defense (335.2 yards per game).
The defense combined with the Cowboy offense to rank No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin, finishing the season with a +24 in turnover margin. Eight of 11 starters return on defense. Nine of 11 starters return on offense, and both the starting place-kicker and punter are back for the Pokes.
Thursday’s release coincided with the release of the 2018 Mountain West Conference schedule by the conference office and represents the first phase in the 2018 football schedule process. Mountain West national television partners CBS Sports Network and ESPN will now initiate a selection procedure which will include the shifting of particular games to Thursdays and Fridays. That will be followed by the identification of network outlets and kick times, along with the picks for regional partner AT&T SportsNet, Stadium and Spectrum Sports (Hawai‘i).