(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Cowboys, who are fresh off a bye week return to action on Saturday for a late night contest at No. 21 Boise State. The 8:15 p.m. MT contest will be televised on ESPN and will mark the 14th meeting between the two schools. The Pokes head into the contest with a 6-2 record and are 3-1 in the Mountain West with the Broncos sporting a 7-1 overall record and a 4-0 mark in the conference.
The contest will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network. The Cowboy Sports Network broadcast will begin at 7:15 p.m. this Saturday.
About The Cowboys
Wilson Named Butkus Award Semifinalist
The Butkus Foundation announced on Monday the semifinalists for the 35th Annual Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s best linebackers. A total of 12 collegiate semifinalists and 15 high school semifinalists were announced, and Wyoming’s Logan Wilson was selected as one of the 12 collegiate semifinalists. Wilson is the only semifinalist from a non-Automonous Five conference team.
Wyoming vs. Ranked Foes
The Cowboys will face off against a ranked foe this week in #21/#21 Boise State. Wyoming is 11-63 all-time against ranked teams. Wyoming’s last win against a ranked team came against San Diego State at home in 2016. Wyoming received a vote in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll.
Mr. All Purpose
Valladay recorded 280 all-purpose yards in a 31-3 win over Nevada. It was the highest all-purpose yard total in the Mountain West this season and the most by a Cowboy since Brian Hill recorded 302 against Nevada in 2016. Valladay rushed for a career-high 206 yards and grabbed two catches for a career-high 74 yards. Valladay recorded a 53-yard touchdown grab on the first offensive play of the game for the Pokes. It was the longest touchdown reception by a Wyoming running back in the Mountain West era of Cowboy Football.
Passing Game Comes Alive
The Wyoming passing game was on point against Nevada. Wyoming passed for a season-high 221 yards with Sean Chambers throwing for 158 yards and Tyler Vander Waal threw for 63 yards. Wyoming had three touchdown receptions, which was also a season high.
Defensive Continues to Shine
The Cowboy defense held Nevada to only three points, as it was the lowest of the season and the lowest since allowing three points at New Mexico last season. Wyoming ranks No. 15 in the nation in scoring defense at 17.6 per game.
Sophomore running back Xazavian Valladay rushed for a career-high 206 yards against Nevada. He is the first Cowboy running back to rush for 200 yards since Brian Hill rushed for 289 yards against Nevada in 2016. With the 206 yards rushing he has now rushed for over 1,000 in his career. He has 1,027 career rushing yards.
The Pokes recorded two takeaways against Nevada. For the Season Wyoming leads in the turnover battle 13-5. The Pokes rank No. 8 in the nation in turnover margin. Wyoming has scored 48 points off turnovers and have yet to allow a point following a UW turnover.
Pokes on ESPN
The Cowboys will play on ESPN against Boise State this Saturday. It will mark the first time Wyoming has played on ESPN since the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2016. A game that was also played in Albertsons Stadium in Boise.
The Rocket is Taking Off
Senior wide receiver Rocket Ismail, Jr. is tied for the lead in receptions with 11 on the season along with Austin Conway. He has 203 yards to lead the Pokes. Against Nevada, He grabbed a season-high four catches for a career-high 93 yards. He also grabbed a touchdown in the contest.
Rothe Making History
Senior kicker Cooper Rothe is moving up the record book at Wyoming and in the NCAA. He has 54 career field goals at Wyoming to rank second all-time with Cory Wedel. He is four makes from passing Sean Fleming and is ten points shy of passing Fleming for career scoring with 315 points to Fleming’s 324. He is tied for fourth in career field goals amongst active players.
Conway Setting Pokes Up for Success
Senior punt returner Austin Conway sets the Pokes up for success with his punt returns. He averages 12.3 per return for Wyoming to rank eighth in the nation. For his career, He averages 8.4 yards per return to rank No. 30 among active players. He has 858 yards punt return yards in his career.
The Pokes picked up their sixth win of the season against Nevada becoming bowl eligible for the fourth-straight season under head coach Craig Bohl. Wyoming is now bowl eligible in four-straight seasons for the first time since 1996-99.
About Boise State
The Broncos head into this weekend’s contest ranked No. 21 in the nation in both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls. Boise State picked up a 52-42 come from behind win at San Jose State on Saturday. Boise State is 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Mountain West.
The Broncos average 37.4 points per game and are allowing 23.4 points per night. The Bronco offense averages 469.2 yards per game to rank second in the MW. The Broncos throw for 291 yards per game to rank No. 23 in the nation. Defensively, Boise state allows 350.6 yards per game. BSU is one of the nation’s top teams on third down. Boise State ranks No .15 in the nation offensively on third down at 44 percent and No. 14 in the nation defensively at 30 percent.
The Boise State offense is led by freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier. He averages 251.4 yards passing per game with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Wide receiver Khalil Shakir leads the team with 32 receptions. Fellow wide receiver John Hightower leads the team in receiving yards per game at 73 and touchdowns with five. Running back George Holani leads the team rushing for 73.6 yards per game and has five touchdowns.
The Bronco defense is paced by Kekaula Kaniho, as he has a team-high 38 tackles. Curtis Weaver is one of the nation’s best pass rushers. He has 10.5 sacks for the season to rank fourth in the nation and lead the Mountain West. Kekoa Nawahine leads the team with two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Kicker Eric Sachse is 10-of-12 on field goals this season with a long of 41 yards. Punter Joel Velazquez averages 38.4 yards per punt for the season.
The Cowboys face off against Utah State in Logan, Utah next Saturday. The contest will be televised on ESPNU in a 2 p.m. MT kick.