Monday, November 30, 2009

Prosinski earns league honors

UW junior Chris Prosinski

University of Wyoming junior Chris Prosinski was named Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in a 17-16 road win over Colorado State last Friday that secured Wyoming its first bowl bid since 2004.

Prosinski recorded 10 tackles, including nine solo tackles, 1.0 tackle for a loss and forced one fumble versus CSU. His biggest play of the day came in the fourth quarter with Colorado State third and goal on the Wyoming four-yard line. Prosinski tackled CSU's Dion Morton for a two-yard loss that forced the Rams to kick a field goal and kept Wyoming within two points at 14-16. Wyoming kicked a 33-yard field goal on its next possession to capture the victory.

With his 10 tackles versus Colorado State, Prosinski improved his season total to 130 total tackles. That ranks the Buffalo, native No. 8 on the UW single-season tackle list, with a bowl game yet to play.

Prosinski is averaging 10.8 tackles per game this season to rank No. 3 in the Mountain West Conference and No. 9 in the nation.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cowboys get the job done

UW-CSU statistics

by Richard Anderson
Just another game, another quarterback and another kicker getting it done for the Wyoming Cowboys.

So says first-year Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen ... in jest.

It was more than just another game for the Cowboys, who edged Colorado State 17-16 Friday in Fort Collins to not only get the Bronze Boot back, but earn a bowl-game berth in the process.

"You come down here to play in a game like this and you throw out the records, you know it's going to be a hard-fought battle and we said going into it that we needed to win the fourth quarter and we were able to do that with two key drives," Christensen said. "Austyn (Carta-Samuels) scored one on the long run and the freshman kicks the field goal on the other."

Carta-Samuels, at quarterback, ran for two touchdowns -- an 8-yard scored to give the Cowboys a 7-6 lead in the second quarter, and a 49-yard run to give them a 14-13 lead in the fourth quarter.

He then drove Wyoming the own the field late, where true freshman Ian Watts nailed a 33-yard field goal with 1:27 left for what proved to be the winning score.

Picked last in the conference preseason poll, the Cowboys finished fifth in the Mountain West Conference standings at 4-4 and are 6-6 heading into a bowl game.

"At the beginning of the year, there was no respect for this program and the thing you can do about it is go out and win some games," Christensen said. "We were picked ninth, we won outright fifth in the league, we're going to a bowl, we got the Bronze Boot back. I'd say that's a pretty good year for our team.

"This is the best. I took a team that was not supposed to do anything and look what they've done. It's been an unbelievable experience for me. And what great, great players I have to work with. The saddest thing is that we only have one more opportunity with these seniors because the job that they've done leading this football team has been second to none."

Two weeks ago Carta-Samuels rallied the Cowboys from 21 points down in the fourth quarter, before Watts kicked the game-winner. Despite last week's lop-sided loss to 4th-ranked TCU, Carta-Samuels said they knew that if they were close in the fourth quarter, they would win the game.

“After the last couple of ones we have been able to put together, you just get more confident," Carta-Samuels said. "Coach and I had a conversation at halftime about how we are a fourth-quarter team and when we put it together, it was exciting.”

On that game-winning drive, Carta-Samuels said they just were thinking to grind it out.

"There was so much, and I didn’t even realize it until I was watching our defense try to hold them at the end, that there was so much on the line and so much to play for," he said.

It came down to the freshman foot of Watts, who walked on late to solidify the place-kicking position.

“I am pretty much used to it by now, so that is a good thing," Watts said. "The previous two were to win the game, but if I missed it would still be tied. If I missed this one, we would lose, so this was a lot more pressure and I actually felt more nervous on this one than any other kick I’ve taken this year.”

The Wyoming defense then stopped the Rams on an interception by Ghalli Muhammad in the finals seconds.

“We had no fear," UW defensive end Mitch Unrein said. "We knew we were going to stop them. Everyone just went out there and did their job and that is how we came out victorious this afternoon.”

Then it was all about two kneel-downs by Carta-Samuels to end the game.

After a little searching, the Cowboys, in a frenzy rush, found the Bronze Boot.

“I was so excited; I was running around trying to find the Boot and the whole game I was trying to figure out where they put it," UW senior offensive right tackle Ryan Otterson. "I saw the ROTC guys standing over there, so I ran over there and it wasn’t there. I ran over to the sidelines and it wasn’t there. It was already in the middle, so I was like ‘oh man c’mon’, but I finally found it.”

The Wyoming seniors then took turns holding The Boot.

“It was awesome. I can’t really describe it," Unrein said. "We have great fans that come down and support us everywhere we go. Now we have one more game for them to come watch us . play, so it is kind of a treat for them and us.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cowboys need a Border War win

The Wyoming Cowboys and Colorado State Rams will meet in the 2009 edition of The Border War Saturday at noon at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins.

It will mark the 101st meeting between the two schools, and it will be the 110th anniversary of the two teams first meeting back in 1899.

For Wyoming what is at stake is a bowl bid, as the Cowboys need one more victory to earn a bowl berth. Wyoming enters Friday's game with a 5-6 overall record and a 3-4 conference mark. CSU enters Saturday's game 3-8 overall and 0-7 in the MWC.

Since the end of World War II, Wyoming and CSU have played every season for 64 consecutive years from 1946 to this season. Colorado State leads the overall series 55-40-5. Over the past 63 consecutive meetings, dating back to the 1946 season, Wyoming leads 35-28-0.

Beginning with the 1968 season, Wyoming and Colorado State have battled for the "Bronze Boot", a traveling trophy that was established by the ROTC detachments of both schools. The "Boot" was originally worn by Colorado State graduate student Dan Romero in Vietnam. Since the Bronze Boot was established, the battle to take it home has been as close as a series can be. The Bronze Boot series has Wyoming trailing CSU by only one game, with Wyoming having captured it 20 times and CSU 21.

Wyoming is led by a strong defense, featuring six of the league's top seven tacklers, and one of the most exciting young players in the Mountain West in freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who has been named MWC Offensive Player of the Week three times this season.

A total of 26 natives of the state of Colorado are members of the Cowboy football team. Of those 26, 14 have started at least one game this season and 11 have started multiple games.

The Cowboys also feature 13 Wyoming natives on its roster. Leading the way among Wyoming natives is Cowboy junior free safety Chris Prosinski from Buffalo, who has been credited with 120 tackles this season. Prosinski needs only four more tackles to post one of the Top 10 seasons in University of Wyoming football history.

Friday's game will be televised live by The Mtn. The Cowboys Sports Network radio broadcast will begin one hour prior to kick off with the pregame show.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Horned Frogs too fast, too strong for 'Pokes

UW-TCU boxscore

By Richard Anderson

It’s like the saying goes: speed kills.

On Saturday, No. 4 TCU’s speed killed the Wyoming Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium, 45-10.

That was also the case earlier in the season when No. 2 Texas basically did the same to the Cowboys in the 41-10 victory.

The Cowboys got a big break in the second quarter when junior safety Chris Prosinski grabbed a fumble and raced 98 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 10-10.

As was the case against Texas in the second game of the season, the Cowboys were in the game against a top-ranked team.

Then there was a big boom that did not come from the National Guard canon in the form of Greg McCoy, who returned the kickoff 81 yards to quickly break the tie. The Horned Frogs then dominated the game in every aspect from that point on.

“When Pro (Prosinski) got the fumble and we took it down to tie the game, you have to have some breaks like that when you play a Top 5 team,” Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said. “Then we turn around and let them get a touchdown and that was extremely disappointing. Then they get another one. We tried to come back in the second half, but they had just too much firepower for us.”

Wyoming senior linebacker Weston Johnson said that type of play is somewhat demonizing, but then again, he said they have their best guys out there whether it is special teams, defense or offense.

“It’s just some fast guys back there and they made some blocks,“ Johnson said. “We had some guys not get in their right fits and that is what happens.”

TCU gets the ball back and strikes again before halftime on a 45-yard pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to speedy Jeremy Kerley to make it a 24-10 game.

Wyoming stops the TCU offense on in three plays to begin the second half, only to see sophomore running back Brandon Stewart fumble on the first play and the talented Horned Frogs defense recover the football on the UW 23-yard line.

Four plays later, Joseph Turner scores from 5 yards out and it is a 31-10 contest.

Twenty-one unanswered points in a little under nine minutes, going back to the second quarter.

Game over.

“That definitely put us in a bad position,” Christensen said. “The defense came out and I thought they did a tremendous job and forced a punt and on the first play we fumble. That’s devastating when you are trying to get back in the football game.”

The Horned Frogs ran up 507 yards of total offense -- 339 on the ground and 168 through the air. The Cowboys could managed just 178 total yards of offense.

There was no trickery involved for TCU. The Cowboy defense knew exactly what was coming and the UW offense knew the same.

Christensen said TCU played like every single film he has watched on them.

“They are a very good football team,” he said. “I don’t see any weaknesses out there. They’re strong on both sides of the ball, they’re kicking game … I don’t see a great weakness on anything.”

Wyoming freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels struggled to get the Wyoming offense going and said the reason for TCU’s dominance is obvious.

“They’re the fastest team that we have played all season, for one,” Carta-Samuels said. “They disciplined, they have leadership. That’s what it takes to be the No. 4 team in the country. They’re a complete football team.

“I expected to come out and compete and that didn’t happen. But it is a lot easier to swallow when you lose to the No. 4 team in the country.”

Christensen said his team was mentally prepared to play the game and they gave everything they had.

All we wanted to do is to play hard on every single snap. We did against a very good football play,” he said.

For the Cowboys, time will tell if Christensen can get his team to TCU's level. That’s certainly his goal.

“I was hired here to build a football program and we came out and competed against two Top 4 teams in the country,” Christensen said. “We got a long ways to go. We fought in both of those games for 30 minutes, but it is a tough deal. They (TCU) are a great football team."


TCU does its job to stay in BCS hunt

By Bobby Abplanalp

It's not all about just winning games for TCU these days; it’s how the Horned Frogs are winning them.

TCU, ranked fourth in the country as well as in the BCS Standings, did nothing to hurt its position with an impressive 45-10 win over Wyoming Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.

All eyes are on the state of Texas these days, especially in comparison to No. 2 Texas’s 41-10 win over the Cowboys in September.

“Not only are we playing at a high level, but we’re also playing smart, and that’s how you win a championship,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “They came out and did what they needed to do, about the same score that a Texas team beat Wyoming. I think you can say that in comparison we’re very close, but I think we can play with a lot of people.”

All-American TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes, who had four tackles, said the score of the Texas-Wyoming game was not a factor in his teams’ preparation.

“We go in there and try to execute our game plan to the fullest,” Hughes said. “We don’t worry about anyone else; all we can do is take care of ourselves.”

TCU had 507 total-yards of offense with 339 of those on the ground led by running back Matthew Tucker gaining 134 yards on 11 carries, while fellow running back Joseph Turner amassed 69 yards on nine carries. Quarterback Andy Dalton also had 88 yards on 12 carries.

“We got three backs that are so explosive,” Dalton said. “The offensive line has been doing a heck of a job. They’re the main reason we why we have been able to do so much with the running game.”

Dalton completed 10 of 19 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown to Jeremy Kerley with no interceptions. With their BCS Bowl hopes still very eminent, the Horned Frogs embraced the idea of playing in one of the big money games.

“Now we’re one game away,” Dalton said of beating winless New Mexico next week to be considered for an at-large bid into a BCS game. That is motivation in itself to come out and play next week.”

“We’re Cinderella and we’re trying to get to the ball,” Patterson said of a going to a BCS game. “I been saying for the past few years when we’ve been very close if you keep knocking on the door just like Boise (State) did, then somebody is going to open it up. We’ve been going through this process the last six to eight years and hopefully if we win next week, we’ll get a chance to open it.”

Wyoming on the other hand is 5-6 and a Border War rival win over Colorado State next week from being bowl eligible.

“I think he is trying to change the attitude of where they’re trying to get to,” Patterson said about UW head coach Dave Christensen. “They have chance to win a game next week and go to a bowl. I think that’s big.”

The Cowboys tied the game 10-10 in the second quarter when safety Chris Prosinski returned a fumble 98 yards for a touchdown. But 16 seconds later, TCU kick returner Greg McCoy returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for the go ahead score and the Horned Frogs never looked back.

“I think it was a big change (in momentum),” Patterson said. “We didn’t have a lot of emotion on the sideline and then Greg (McCoy) comes back and does that and then we get a stop and the long play to Kerley and in some ways the game is over.”

TCU is 11-0 for the first time since 1938 when it finished that season 11-0 with a national championship..

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cowboys close home schedule with TCU

The Wyoming Cowboys will be playing their fourth Top 25 ranked opponent of the 2009 season when they host No. 4 ranked TCU Saturday, with kickoff at noon at War memorial Stadium.

Wyoming will bring a 5-5 overall record and a 3-3 Mountain West Conference mark into Saturday's final home game of the season. TCU is 10-0 and 6-0 in the Mountain West. The Horned Frogs are ranked No. 4 in this week's BCS rankings and are also No. 4 in all three major polls -- the Associated Press Media Poll, USA Today Coaches' Poll and Harris Interactive Poll.

Earlier this season, Wyoming played No. 2 ranked Texas on Sept. 12, faced then No. 16 ranked Utah on Halloween night and hosted BYU on Nov. 7 when the Cougars were ranked No. 25. UW is still looking for its first win vs. a Top 25 opponent this season.

Last time at home with TCU
The last time Wyoming hosted TCU, the Cowboys defeated the Horned Frogs 24-21 on Oct. 6, 2007. Wyoming held a 21-6 lead over TCU entering the fourth quarter of that game and held on for the 24-21 victory. Former Cowboy receiver Hoost March caught TD passes of 65 and 8 yards from Karsten Sween and Wyoming running backs Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon rushed for 135 and 100 yards, respectively, in the 2007 win.

Series history
This week's meeting between the Cowboys and Horned Frogs will only be the sixth in the two schools' histories. Wyoming trails 2-3 in the overall series versus TCU. Wyoming is 1-1 vs. TCU in Laramie, having lost at home in 2005 by a score of 28-14.

One more win for bowl eligibility
The Cowboys will enter this Saturday's game versus TCU looking for a sixth win that would earn them bowl eligibility. Wyoming needs to win one of its final two games -- versus TCU or at Colorado State. The Mountain West Conference currently has five automatic bowl berths available and if TCU earns a BCS bowl bid, the MWC could have six bowl opportunities. Four MWC teams have already achieved bowl eligible status -- TCU, BYU, Utah and Air Force. Wyoming and San Diego State are the two remaining MWC teams that have an opportunity to become bowl eligible. SDSU must win both of its remaining games -- at Utah and at UNLV -- to reach the six-win plateau.

Last week
Last Saturday's win over the Aztecs was one of the great comebacks in Wyoming football history. The Cowboys overcame a 21-point, fourth-quarter deficit last Saturday at San Diego State to capture a 30-27 road win. Trailing 27-6 entering the fourth quarter, Wyoming scored 24 unanswered points. Cowboy quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels threw for 246 yards, rushed for 51 and had 297 yards of total offense on Saturday. He ran for one touchdown and threw another in the fourth quarter. Ian Watts kicked a 43-yard field goal with only 23 seconds remaining to seal the win for Wyoming.

The victory brought back memories for Cowboy fans of another great Wyoming comeback back in 1988. Oddly enough, that comeback also saw the Cowboys trailing by 21 points entering the fourth quarter in a game on the road. That Sept. 24, 1988, game pitted Wyoming against Air Force and the Falcons held a 38-17 lead to begin the fourth quarter. In that comeback, UW quarterback Randy Welniak rallied the Pokes for 31 fourth-quarter points as the Wyoming defense held Air Force to a single TD in the final period. Like Carta-Samuels, Welniak ran for one TD and threw for another in the final stanza, while place-kicker Sean Fleming made a 27-yard field goal for the 48-45 victory. Like Watts, Fleming scored a total of 12 points on the day. Welniak ended the day with 359 passing yards, 108 rushing yards and 467 yards of total offense, 3 TD passes and 1 TD rushing. Welniak is now the sideline reporter for Cowboy Sports Network radio broadcasts.

Cowboys honored
Carta-Samuels and Watts were named Mountain West Conference Players of the Week on Monday. Carta-Samuels shared this week's MWC Offensive Player of the Week award with Air Force running back Asher Clark. It marked the third time this season that Carta-Samuels was honored as the Offensive Player of the Week. Watts earned his second Special Teams Player of the Week award.

Freshman tight end David Tooley was honored this week as the national tight end of the week by A native of Moberly, Mo., Tooley caught four passes for 70 yards and one touchdown versus San Diego State. His TD reception tied the game at 27 all with 2:07 remaining in the game.

Watts was named Honorable Mention place-kicker of the week by

Road breakthrough
The Cowboys broke a 10-game road losing streak in conference play when they bat the Aztecs.

Prior to the win over SDSU, Wyoming had last won on the road in MWC play on Nov. 18, 2006, in Las Vegas. The Cowboys captured a 34-26 win over UNLV in Sam Boyd Stadium for their last conference road win.

On the air
Saturday's game will be televised live on The Mtn. The game will also be broadcast on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboys Sports Network, beginning at 11 a.m.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Carta-Samuels, Watts earn POW honors again

University of Wyoming freshmen football players Austyn Carta-Samuels and Ian Watts were named Mountain West Conference Players of the Week on Monday.

Carta-Samuels shared this week’s MWC Offensive Player of the Week award with Air Force running back Asher Clark. For Carta-Samuels it marked the third time this season that he was honored as the Offensive Player of the Week. Watts earned his second Special Teams Player of the Week award.

Carta-Samuels led the Wyoming offense to three fourth-quarter touchdowns and a total of 24 fourth-quarter points as the Cowboys came back from a 21-point deficit to win on the road at San Diego State. Carta-Samuels completed 16 of 22 (.727) passes for 246 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 13 times for 51 yards and one rushing touchdown, and accumulated 297 yards of total offense.

Both the 246 yards passing and 297 yards of total offense were personal bests. His TD run was for 10 yards on the second play of the fourth quarter to pull the Cowboys to within two touchdowns at 27-13. His touchdown pass came with 2:07 remaining in the game on a nine-yard hookup with fellow true freshman David Tooley to tie the game. Following Wyoming's recovery of the ensuing kickoff, Carta-Samuels led the Pokes on an 18-yard drive to setup Wyoming's winning field goal with 23 seconds remaining in the game. With his third MWC Offensive Player of the Week honor this season, Carta-Samuels is second only to BYU quarterback Max Hall this season. Hall has earned the award fourth times this year.

Watts was a perfect 3-of-3 in field goals versus San Diego State. He converted two from 27 yards each, and with only 23 seconds remaining in the game he made a career-long, 43-yard field goal that proved to be the game-winner.

Watts was not only a perfect in field goals on the day, but he was a perfect 3-of-3 in extra points, scoring 12 of Wyoming’s 30 points. Watts is one of only three MWC players to earn the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week honor multiple times this season. The other two are TCU place-kicker Ross Evans and his teammate, return specialist Jeremy Kerly, who each have earned the award twice this year.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cowboys rally to edge Aztecs

UW-SDSU game statistics

SAN DIEGO -- The Wyoming Cowboys and their struggling offense have some life in them after all.

Freshman Ian Watts kicked a 43-yard field goal with 23 seconds left as Wyoming battled back from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit to beat San Diego State 30-27 Saturday night.

Wyoming (5-5, 3-3 Mountain West) rallied from a 27-6 deficit with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the score. Wyoming senior John fletcher blocked a short field goal and the Cowboys, after tying the game late, recovered a fumbled pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff that set up Watts' game-winning kick.

The loss snapped a 10-game MWC losing skid on the road for the Cowboys, who hadn't won in San diego in six straight games.

Wyoming rallied on freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels' 10-yard run 11 seconds into the fourth quarter, a 33-yard scoring run by freshman Alvester Alexander and Carta-Samuels' 9-yard TD pass to freshman tight end David Tooley that tied the score.

"It was a heck of game by our kids and the fight they showed in the 4th quarter; the will to come back to make plays was incredible," Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said on his postgame show on the Wyoming Sports Network on Learfield Sports.

The difference in the 24-point fourth quarter for the Cowboys was simple, Christensen said: They started making plays.

"It wasn't like (the Aztecs) were shutting us down all game, but we had some opportunities where we didn't get 6's a couple of times and we had a fumble," Christensen said. "When it came time for the fourth quarter, we played extremely well. At halftime we talked and said that a time was going to come when we were going to need guys to start making plays, and in the fourth quarter, we had a lot of guys making plays."

Carta-Samuels finished the game by completing 16 of 22 passes for 246 yards one and one touchdown. he also ran for 51 yards and one score. Sophomore Brandon Stewart and Alexander led the way on the ground with 76 and 73 yards respectively. The Cowboys ran for 200 yards in the game.

Tooley, who had two career receptions going into the game, had four big catches for 71 yards. David Leonard also had for catches for Wyoming.

Brandon Sullivan, who rushed for 105 yards, ran for two touchdowns for San Diego State (4-6, 2-4). Sophomore quarterback Ryan Lindley was 18 of 29 passing for 200 yards, but no touchdowns.

"Obviously, it wasn't very fun out there at the end. We got outwilled by a team," SDSU coach Brady Hoke said. "They played harder, they executed and that's pretty much how the game went ... (We) had some penalties in the first half and we hurt ourselves a little bit with that. You get a field goal blocked that (could have) put you up by 10. That's not executing, that's not being disciplined, and they did a much better job of coaching and playing the game."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lopsided loss embarrasses Cowboys

UW-BYU boxscore

by Richard Anderson

Things started well on Saturday for the Wyoming Cowboys: they won the coin toss.

Then the game started.

As it turned out, the highlight of the game for the Cowboys was the coin toss, as Brigham Young rolled to a 52-0 win over Wyoming Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.

Despite decent showings in their two previous losses -- 10-0 to Air Force and 22-10 to Utah, both on the road -- there was nothing decent for Wyoming in its return home.

So much for home sweet home.

It was the second straight shutout defeat to BYU, as the Cougars won 44-0 last season in Provo.
And after scoring 97 points in a three-game win streak, the Cowboys have now scored just 10 points in three straight losses.

One step forward, two steps back.

Just how many ways can you spin embarrassing? Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen had a few.

"It was probably the most disappointing day in my coaching career," Christensen said. "We took steps backwards. I thought our program had improved. I'm embarrassed; I apologize. This is the worst effort I have ever seen by a football team."

And no, Christensen did not see this coming.

"We got out and we practice hard," he said. "We execute in practice. We don't allow these things to happen in practice. I don't have a lot of answers right now."

As poorly as the Cowboys played, BYU, their respective Cougar tails two weeks ago after the 38-7 loss to TCU at home, came back with a roar.

"I think our players responded well (from the TCU loss)," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We played a much improved Wyoming team that played everyone, except for a half against Texas, very closely.

"We played very clean football and played well from the beginning to end. I was impressed with our team and the preparation of our staff."

While Christensen was impressed with the Cougars as well, he was less than impressed with his own team.

"Obviously, my hat is off to BYU, they are an excellent football team," Christensen said. "They were much more physical than us today by a long shot. They were much tougher than we were today, by a long shot. They executed much better than we did today, by a long shot."

BYU scored the first seven times it touched the football, leading 10-0 at the end of the first quarter, 31-0 at halftime and 45-0 heading into the fourth quarter. The Cougars finished with 543 yards of total offense, to 225 for Wyoming.

BYU Quarterback Max Hall was nearly perfect and certainly unstoppable, as he completed 20 of 22 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Harvey Unga ran over the Wyoming defense, with 85 yards on 16 carries. Even backup quarterback Riley Nelson gained 71 yards on the ground on 10 carries.

Just what did the Cougars do right against the Cowboys, and what did the 'Pokes do wrong? Basically everything.

"The blocked us, we didn't get off blocks and we didn't cover properly," Christensen said. "We had blown assignments and we didn't make plays. We got beat physically, we got shoved around. It was awful."

While talking about a possible bowl game a month ago at 4-2, the Cowboys are now looking to just survive. while Saturday is a hard pill to swallow, Christensen said that's exactly what they will do as they get ready for San Diego State next week and then TCU and CSU to close the season.

"I can guarantee you that there is no quit in this coaching staff or this football team," he said.

Wyoming senior linebacker Weston Johnson said he is frustrated right now, the whole team is frustrating, the coaching staff is frustrated. At the same time, he said they will come back and work hard.

"Obviously, we're not doing something right," Johnson said. "We're going to have to come back this next week and really hit it hard, battle back, and salvage this season."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cowboys back home with BYU

by UW Athletics Media Relations

The Wyoming Cowboys are back in town after nearly a month away when they face the No. 25 BYU at noon in War Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Wyoming has a 4-4 overall record this season and is 2-2 in Mountain West Conference play. BYU is 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the MWC. The Cougars are ranked No. 25 in all three major polls – the Associated Press media poll, USA Today Coaches’ Poll and the Harris Interactive poll.

BYU will be the second Top 25 ranked team to visit Laramie this season, and will be the third Top 25 team the Wyoming Cowboys have faced this season. Wyoming hosted No. 2 ranked Texas on Sept. 12, 2009, losing to the Longhorns 10-41. Last week, UW faced No. 16 ranked Utah in Salt Lake City, losing 10-22.

Wyoming will be looking to improve on its 3-1 home record this season, and will be seeking its third consecutive conference home win when they host BYU. UW has begun the 2009 Mountain West Conference schedule winning each of its two MWC home games over UNLV (30-27) and New Mexico (37-13). The last time the Pokes won three consecutive MWC home games was at the end of the 2006 season and the start of the 2007 campaign. UW defeated Utah, Colorado State and San Diego State to conclude the 2006 home schedule and defeated TCU in the first MWC home game of 2007 to win four consecutive conference home games.

Last Saturday, the Pokes had the No. 16 ranked Utah Utes on the ropes until midway through the fourth quarter before losing 22-10 in Salt Lake City on Halloween night. Wyoming took an early 3-0 lead as they put together a 13-play, 49-yard drive on its opening possession of the game capped by an Ian Watts 32-yard field goal. Utah came back to tie the game 3-3, early in the second quarter on a Joe Phillips 43-yard field goal to conclude a 7-play, 55-yard drive by the Utes.

With 4:56 remaining in the first half, Wyoming scored a touchdown on a play that involved both of the Cowboys’ quarterbacks. Freshman QB Austyn Carta-Samuels threw a lateral to junior quarterback Robert Benjamin, who was lined up as a wide receiver. Benjamin then threw a pass back across the field to Carta-Samuels who took the ball 30-yards down the sideline to give UW a 10-3 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Utah’s offense penetrated the redzone twice, reaching the Cowboy four-yard line on its opening drive of the second half and reaching the Wyoming 15 on its second drive, but the Wyoming defense stiffened both times and held the Utes to two field goals. Wyoming retained a 10-9 lead after three quarters of play.

It wasn’t until the 7:35 mark of the fourth quarter that Utah took its first lead of the game. The Utes got good field-position at their own 45-yard line, and drove the ball 55 yards on 7 plays culminating in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Wynn to Jereme Brooks to take a 16-10 lead.

The final TD of the game was scored by Utah, after Wyoming went for a fourth and six at its own 20-yard line with two minutes remaining in the game. Utah sacked Cowboy QB Carta-Samuels at the Wyoming nine-yard line and two plays later Utah scored its final touchdown to capture the home win.

The Cowboys not only led Utah throughout most of their meeting on Oct. 31, but UW also held a lead against current No. 2 ranked Texas on Sept. 12 in Laramie. The Cowboys led Texas 10-6 with 1:32 remaining in the first half before the Longhorns went on to post a 41-10 victory over Wyoming.

Wyoming’s loss to No. 2 ranked Texas is its only home loss this season. In its three home wins, Wyoming has averaged 32.0 points per game, scoring 29 vs. Weber State, 30 vs. UNLV and 37 vs. New Mexico. In its three home wins, the Pokes have held opponents to an average of 20.6 points per game per game -- 22 vs. Weber State, 27 vs. UNLV and 13 vs. New Mexico. UW has won or been even in turnover margin in all four of its home games in 2009. Wyoming has committed a total of only two turnovers at home this season, while forcing 12 opponent turnovers in War Memorial Stadium. UW was a +4 in TO margin vs. Weber State and UNLV, was a +2 vs. New Mexico and was even vs. Texas.

The Cowboy defense continues to be the only team in the nation with three players ranked in the Top 25 in the NCAA in tackles. Inside linebackers Brian Hendricks and Gabe Knapton and free safety Chris Prosinski rank No. 4, 5 and 15 in the NCAA this season. Only one other team in the nation has two players ranked among the Top 25. That is the University of Houston.

UW also has six of the Top 14 tacklers in MWC this season. Hendricks, Knapton and Prosinski rank No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 in the league. Senior outside linebacker Weston Johnson ranks No. 5 in the league and No. 60 nationally, and freshman strong safety Shamiel Gary ranks No. 6 in the Mountain West and No. 70 in the NCAA. Junior cornerback Marcell Gipson ranks 14th in the MWC in tackles.

Wyoming sophomore inside linebacker Gabe Knapton not only ranks No. 5 in the NCAA in tackles this season, but he has recorded double figures in tackles in each of Wyoming’s last seven games. The streak of double-figure tackle games began against Texas (12 tackles). Since then he has had: 10 at Colorado, 17 vs. UNLV, 10 at Florida Atlantic, 11 vs. New Mexico, 11 at Air Force and 12 at Utah.

Saturday’s Wyoming-BYU game will be televised live on The Mtn. The Cowboy Sports Network will, as always, broadcast the game on radio over its 25 affiliate stations beginning with the pregame show one hour prior to kickoff.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Utes rally late to stop Cowboys

Wyoming-Utah game stats

By Richard Anderson

For three quarters plus, the Wyoming Cowboys were right where they wanted to be. The last seven or eight minutes on Saturday was a different story.

Utah, ranked 19th in the country, scored the game’s final 19 points, including two late touchdowns, to hold off a pesky but offensively challenged Wyoming team 22-10 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

Until midway trough the fourth quarter, the cowboys had the lone touchdown of the game and were holding on to a 10-9 lead. The Utes, however, kept their dominance of Wyoming in tack to remain in the hunt for the Mountain West Conference title.

"I thought our kids fought the whole way through,” Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said. “There is no quit in these kids. We battled and were in this thing until the last minutes of the game and we (gave ourselves a chance to win)."

It was a much different game for the Cowboys than in the past two years against Utah, as the Utes outscored Wyoming 90-7 in the last two meetings, including 50-0 two years ago the last time the two teams met in Salt lake City.

As could be expected, Christensen said that being close was not good enough.

"I've talked with our guys, and sticking with a top-20 team is not a moral victory,” Christensen said. “We got our tails kicked in the end. We did some things well, we made some progress, but in our program, losing is not acceptable. That's not what we are out here to do."

After being shut out 10-0 by air Force two weeks ago, the Cowboys came out of the bye week rested and with a few changes on the offensive line. In the first half, it appeared as if it would pay off as the Cowboys were able to show some life offensively, led by the passing and pass catching from freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels.

The lone touchdown of the first half came on a trick play, as Carta-Samuels passed to backup QB Robert Benjamin, who passed back to Carta-Samuels, who then ran down the sidelines untouched from 30 yards for the score.

But that was about it as the Utes defensive stiffened and held the Cowboys to just 74 yards of total offense in the second half.

"We struggled a little bit in our offense,” Christensen said. “It's not a secret that when you play top-20 teams in the country and top defenses in the country week in and week out, there will be some struggles, especially when you have the youth that we have."

For the Utes, freshman Jordan Wynn passed for 82 yards and a touchdown in his college debut, replacing starter Terrance Cain in the second half to rally Utah.

Utah’s Eddie Wide also tied a school record with his fifth straight 100-yard rushing game and added a late touchdown to seal the win. Wide had 24 carries for 135 yards and a 5-yard touchdown run with 1:41 remaining.

Despite another close win at home, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said it was a real positive win for the Utes.

“The offense played well tonight,” Whittingham said. “This was the first game of the season where we didn't have any turnovers. We moved the ball well between the 20's, but we have to get points on the board. Eddie Wide played a great game tonight. He went over 100 yards for us again and that was huge. `What can you say?' He was great.”

Carta-Samuels was 19 for 30 passing for 121 yards and the Wyoming running game had just 51 yards in the contest. Brandon Stewart led the Cowboys with 28 yards on the ground.

"We're doing everything we can to try to make plays and win a football game,” Christensen said. “Our kids are working their tails off. They work extremely hard every single day to get better and they came out and battled. We had a lot of positive things in the game."

It won’t get any easier for the Cowboys, as they host BYU Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.