Wyoming Cowboys return home after 4 weeks; host Fresno State

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Posted at 8:25 AM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 10:25:29-04

(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)

LARAMIE, Wyo. - After a month without playing at home the Wyoming Cowboys return to War Memorial Stadium Saturday to host Fresno State in a 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time kickoff. The showdown will be televised live on FS2.

Wyoming will enter Saturday’s game with a 4-1 overall record and an 0-1 record in the Mountain West. Fresno State is 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the MWC.

Saturday’s game will feature UW Athletics annual Military Day honoring individuals who have represented the United States in all branches of the military, past and present.

Two of the featured players are Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay and Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener. Both Valladay and Haener are on the 2021 Maxwell Award Watch List. The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the outstanding player in college football.

In Wyoming’s most recent game at Air Force on Oct. 9, Valladay rushed for 96 yards to move into the No. 5 spot in career rushing yards at the University of Wyoming. Valladay enters this week with 2,647 career rushing yards. He moved past former Cowboy running back Marques Brigham, who rushed for 2,605 yards during his career as a Cowboy from 1995-98.

Valladay rushed for 396 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He totaled 1,265 rushing yards as a sophomore in ‘19 and had 550 rushing yards in only five games in the shortened season of 2020. This season, he has rushed for a total of 436 yards in five games. He earned First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors in both 2019 and 2020.

For the past two seasons, Valladay has been the most productive and consistent offensive weapon the Wyoming Cowboys have had. He once again displayed his consistency at UConn on Sept. 25 as he recorded the 12th 100-yard rushing game of his career. Valladay rushed for 101 yards against the Huskies.

When he recorded his 12th career 100-yard rushing game against UConn, it got us to wondering how those games equate to Wyoming wins and losses. When Valladay has rushed for 100 or more yards, Wyoming has a 9-3 record. Included in those nine wins are victories over: New Mexico (2018 and ‘19), Missouri (‘19), Nevada (‘19), Colorado State (‘19), Georgia State (‘19), Hawai’i (‘20), Northern Illinois (‘21) and UConn (‘21). The only three losses came in road losses: at Boise State, 17-20 in overtime (‘19); at Utah State by five points, 21-26 (‘19); and at Colorado State 24-34 (‘20).

Wyoming and Fresno State Have Played Some Memorable Games Against One Another

Since they first played each other in 1992 when they were both members of the Western Athletic Conference, Wyoming and Fresno State have played some memorable games through the years.

In 1993, the Cowboys hosted the Bulldogs led by quarterback Trent Dilfer. Wyoming was led by quarterback Joe Hughes, All-America wide receiver Ryan Yarbrough and team captains Kurt Whitehead (DE), Mike Jones (TE) and Hughes. The Cowboys came away with a 32-28 win and would go on to tie Fresno State and BYU for the 1993 WAC title.

The 2009 season saw the two teams face off in the New Mexico Bowl. Fresno State was still a member of the WAC and Wyoming was representing the Mountain West. The Cowboys would come away with a hard fought 35-28 victory in double overtime that featured a memorable goal-line stand by the Cowboys, who stopped the Bulldogs on four straight plays from the one-yard line in the first overtime. The game ended with a 13-yard TD pass from Cowboy QB Austyn Carta-Samuels to wide receiver David Leonard.

In 2014, Cowboy freshman running back Brian Hill set a school all-purpose yardage record with 387 yards (281 rushing and 106 receiving) in a 45-17 road win in Fresno.

The last time the two teams met was in 2018, when Fresno State defeated the Cowboys 27-3 in Fresno on way to the Bulldogs’ 2018 Mountain West Conference Championship.

Fresno State leads the overall series 7-5. Wyoming leads 3-2 in games played in Laramie.

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network. The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.