(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Wyoming Cowboys will play their 96th Homecoming Game on Saturday. This year’s Homecoming opponent will be the New Mexico Lobos. The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.
The Cowboys will be looking for their first conference win of the season on Saturday. UW will enter Saturday’s game with a 4-2 overall record and an 0-2 record in the Mountain West. The Lobos are also in search of their first Mountain West win this season. New Mexico brings a 2-5 overall record and an 0-3 record in the Mountain West into this week’s game.
This week’s game versus New Mexico will mark the 96th Homecoming game in University of Wyoming history, and the 71st Homecoming game to be played in War Memorial Stadium.
Wyoming renews its Homecoming tradition this season. In 2020, there was no Homecoming Game due to COVID-19.
The last time Wyoming hosted a Homecoming Game was in 2019 and that game also featured the New Mexico Lobos as Wyoming’s opponent. Wyoming won that 2019 Homecoming contest over New Mexico by a score of 23-10 on Oct. 19, 2019.
•UW’s Overall Record in Homecoming Games 47-45-3 (.511)
•UW’s Homecoming Record in War Memorial 42-26-2 (.614)
One of the Best in the Nation -- Cowboy Linebacker Chad Muma
A year ago in 2020, Wyoming middle linebacker Chad Muma ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in total tackles per game at 11.8, and he ranked No. 5 in the MW and No. 16 in the FBS in solo tackles (5.5/game).
In 2021, Muma is averaging 9.7 total tackles per game to rank No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 12 among all FBS players.
Muma is averaging 7.2 solo tackles per game to rank No. 1 among all FBS players in the nation. He is also tied for No. 1 in the nation in most interception returns for touchdowns in 2021 with two “Pick Sixes”. He is tied with Iowa defensive back Riley Moss.
2021 Pokes Have Developed Into One of the Top Defenses in the Nation
As you look at Wyoming’s defensive rankings this season, defending opposing offenses’ has become a strength for the Cowboys. Wyoming is tied for No. 3 in the nation in defensive touchdowns scored (3), ranks No. 7 in the NCAA in fewest passing yards allowed per game (158.7), is No. 13 in pass defense efficiency (108.56) and ranks No. 29 in total defense, allowing opponents only 319.8 yards per game.
Cowboy Offense Performing in Key Situations
Two key offensive statistics are how an offense is able to convert in third-down situations and how effective an offense is at scoring points once in the red zone. The Wyoming Cowboys are among the best in the nation in 2021 in both of those key stats.
UW ranks No. 24 in the country in third-down conversion percentage at 46.3 percent, converting 38 of 82 third-down plays.
The Pokes are also No. 28 in the FBS in red-zone offense, scoring on 90.0 percent of their red-zone opportunities (18 of 20).
The Wyoming Cowboys have been very successful at home over the last six seasons. Since 2016, Wyoming has won 23 of its last 31 home games for a winning percentage of 74.2 percent.
Wyoming’s 23 home wins during this stretch began with the first game of the 2016 season when they won a triple overtime thriller over Northern Illinois by a score of 40-34.
The Cowboys went on to post a perfect 6-0 regular season in 2016 before hosting the Mountain West Conference Championship Game, which they lost 24-27 to San Diego State to finish 6-1 at home. UW also posted a perfect 6-0 regular season home record in 2019.
The Pokes have also won 11 of their last 13 home games, dating back to the last two home games of the 2018 season thru the 2021 season.
Bouncing Back After a Home Loss
Coming off last week’s home loss to Fresno State, the Wyoming Cowboys are looking to continue a tradition of bouncing back at home following a home loss.
Since 2016, Wyoming has suffered only eight home losses. Following six of those home losses the Cowboys have won their next home game.
Only twice have the Cowboys lost consecutive home games since 2016. In 2017, UW lost its last home game of the season to Fresno State and lost its 2018 home opener vs. Washington State. In 2018, UW lost consecutive home games to Boise State and Utah State.
The Cowboys and the Lobos
The Wyoming Cowboys and New Mexico Lobos will play each other for the 74th time this Saturday. Last year’s meeting was a first as the two teams played in Las Vegas, Nev., due to COVID-19 conditions in the state of New Mexico forcing UNM Football to play its home games in the state of Nevada.
Wyoming leads the overall series between the two schools with 39 wins against 34 wins for New Mexico. In games played in Laramie, Wyoming leads the series 20-15.
The Cowboys and the Lobos have been members of the same conference since 1951 when they were both members of the Skyline Conference. Wyoming and New Mexico are meeting for the 23rd consecutive season since both became founding members of the Mountain West Conference in 1999. Prior to that, they were founding members of the Western Athletic Conference in 1962.