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.
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 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.
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 CollegePerformance.com. 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 CollegePerformance.com.
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.