Game day has been mostly empty this season for the Wyoming Cowboys. That’s presuming there has been a game day, because, unexpectedly, there hasn’t for the past two weeks after late cancellation of two scheduled showdowns.
It’s been a frustrating start-and-stop November for the Pokes.
“It's definitely uncharted times," cornerback Azizi Hearn told reporters this week. "I, personally, haven’t experienced anything like this. But what I’m telling guys is, 'Don’t stress over things you can’t control.' It’s up to us if we want to let it affect us or help us.”
“It’s tough because right after a game is canceled, you just want to go home. Like, I don’t want to do anything," said Sheridan native Dontae Crow. "Our coaches still hold us accountable. They try to acclimate for us, make things a little lighter for us some days. They know you can’t be 100 percent right after a game is canceled. It’s really a lot on the teammates. You deal with each other so much you’ve just got to pick each other up and keep pushing.”
Wyoming (1-2) last played at Colorado State back on Nov. 5. The next week Air Force canceled due to COVID-19 cases. A week later, Wyoming was teed up to host Utah State. A day before kickoff -- the winless Aggies canceled.
“It was interesting, for sure," Hearn recalled of how and when players were informed. "They (coaches) called a team meeting like they did when they postponed the season. When we got the emergency team meeting text, we were like, 'Oh, man.'"
"I was excited for the Utah State game. I don’t know if you guys know their situation with the quarterback, but they were going to have a freshman quarterback playing who’s never played before. I wanted to pick on him, kind of, but I didn’t get to," Hearn said with a smile. "I guess I’ll see him next year.”
Just like that, two home games in Laramie out the window.
Friday, presuming they can avoid the words COVID and cancel, the Cowboys get their first game action in three weeks. They’re off to UNLV for what’s been one of the closest and most thrilling series in the Mountain West Conference. The Cowboys and Rebels have produced the league’s highest-scoring game ever (a 69-66 triple-overtime win for UNLV on Nov. 12, 2016) plus an additional triple-overtime game and two more OT finishes.
This time (Friday, 2 p.m. MST on FS1) they get to play inside the brand new $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium — home to UNLV (0-4) and the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders.
“I definitely checked it out (online) because I wouldn’t watch those teams -- not the Raiders, I’m sorry," Crow said shaking his head with a grin. "But I'm super excited just to go in there. I was watching … they take their grass outside. They lift it up and slide it out, actually, which is nuts. This is nothing like I’m used to.”
"I can’t wait," Hearn added. "I feel like we’re going to win the game, too, so it’s going to be fun. I plan on playing in that stadium on Sundays, so this is going to be my first experience in that stadium. That’s how I’m trying to look at it -- make it a good one.”
The Cowboys are counting on good things for those who've waited.