LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Mountain West Conference released its 2018 All-Conference Football Team on Wednesday and six Wyoming Cowboys were honored. Three Cowboys earned First Team honors. Those three were senior running back Nico Evans, junior place-kicker Cooper Rothe and senior strong safety Andrew Wingard. Rothe was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year.
Senior defensive end Carl Granderson was selected to the Second Team, and junior cornerback Tyler Hall and junior linebacker Logan Wilson received Honorable Mention honors.
Wingard earned All-Conference honors for the fourth year in a row, and was named First Team All-Mountain West for the third consecutive season. He was a Second Team selection as a true freshman in 2015.
Evans and Rothe each were honored for the first time in their careers. Rothe became the first Wyoming player to earn Special Teams Player of the Year since Wyoming became a founding member of the Mountain West when the conference began play in 1999. It is also the first time a Wyoming player has earned any of the three major Player of the Year Awards (Offensive, Defensive or Special Teams).
Granderson was honored for the second consecutive season. He was a First Team selection in 2017. Wilson earned his third Mountain West honor of his career. He was the 2016 MW Freshman of the Year, and was voted to the Second Team in 2017. Hall earned Honorable Mention honors for the second straight year.
In the history of the Mountain West, Wingard becomes the first Cowboy to earn First Team All-Mountain West for three consecutive seasons, and the first to earn First or Second Team honors for four consecutive seasons. Three other Cowboys earned First or Second All-Mountain West honors in three straight years. Those three were former Cowboy defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, who earned First Team honors as a sophomore (2013) and junior (2014) and Second Team as a senior (2015). Former Cowboy offensive tackle Adam Goldberg, who was recognized as Second Team All-MW in 2000 and First Team in 2001 and 2002, and former Cowboy defensive end John Fletcher, who was Second Team twice (2007, 2008) and First Team once (2009).
The All-Conference Team was selected in a vote of the 12 Mountain West head football coaches and media members from across the Mountain West.
Wyoming First Team Selections
Cooper Rothe, Junior, Place-kicker, Longmont, Colo., MW Special Teams Player of the Year
Cooper Rothe is one of three national finalists for this year’s Lou Groza Award, honoring the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker. He is the first Wyoming Cowboy to be named MW Special Teams Player of the Year and the first to be named one of the Mountain West’s Players of the Year (Offensive, Defensive or Special Teams). Rothe concluded the 2018 regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation in field-goal percentage, making 94.1 percent of his field-goal attempts (16 of 17). The junior from Longmont, Colo., also tied for the No. 1 spot in the country in point-after-touchdown percentage as he was a perfect 28 of 28 in PATs during the 2018 season. Rothe was 24th in the nation in average field goals made per game, averaging 1.33 per game.
He was a perfect 5 for 5 in field goals between 20-29 yards. He was also perfect between 30-39 yards, converting 6 of 6 attempts from that range, and was a perfect 1 for 1 in field goals of 50 yards or more. His only miss of the season came on a windy, snowy day on his home field at War Memorial Stadium, when he missed a 43-yard attempt against San Jose State.
Prior to his miss against San Jose State, Rothe possessed the nation’s longest streak of consecutive field goals made, having made 15 of 15 this season and 18 of his last 18, dating back to Wyoming’s win in the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
He was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday, Nov. 26 for his performance in a 31-3 road win at New Mexico.
Rothe’s best single game of the 2018 season saw him make all three of his field-goal attempts versus nationally-ranked Utah State, including a 47-yarder. He kicked a season and career long 51-yard field goal at Missouri. He was a perfect 2 for 2 in field goals at Missouri, at Hawai’i, at Colorado State and at New Mexico State. He also led Wyoming in scoring, with 76 points during the regular season.
Over the past two seasons, he has successfully converted an amazing 31 of 35 (88.6 percent) field-goal attempts.
Nico Evans, Senior, Running Back, Los Angeles, Calif.
Nico Evans ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in rushing yards per game (132.5 yards per game). He ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 12 in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (139.10 yards per game), and the senior ranks No. 1 in the MW and No. 9 in the nation in total rushing yards (1,325).
He has seven 100-yard rushing games this season against: Utah State (133), Boise State (141), Colorado State (176), San Jose State (187), New Mexico State (190), Hawai’i (192) and New Mexico (142). Evans has recorded four 150-yard rushing games this season.
In terms of all-purpose yards, he has recorded six all-purpose games of 140 or more yards against: Boise State (148), Utah State (173), San Jose State (187), Colorado State (190), Hawai’i (192) and New Mexico State (200).
He is averaging 6.53 yards per carry to rank No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 21 in the nation.
On the season, Evans has scored eight rushing TDs and one receiving TD.
Among his most explosive plays were runs of: 48 vs. CSU, 53 vs. Utah State, 56 vs. New Mexico State, 58 vs. San Jose State, 63 vs. Hawai’i, 75 against Boise State and 37 at New Mexico. He also had a 47-yard pass reception vs. Utah State.
Evans was also selected a team captain as a senior.
Andrew Wingard, Senior, Strong Safety, Arvada, Colo.
Andrew Wingard was voted First Team All-Mountain West Conference for the third consecutive season, and he earned All-Conference recognition for the fourth consecutive year, having been named a Second Team selection as a true freshman. Wingard is the first Cowboy to achieve either of those feats. He ended the 2018 regular season tying the Mountain West Conference career tackle record, with 454. He tied former New Mexico Lobo Carmen Messina. Those 454 career tackles rank him No. 2 in Wyoming history.
This season, Wingard was credited with 87 tackles, including 46 solo tackles and 41 assists. He ranked No. 4 among all Mountain West defensive backs in tackles, averaging 7.2 per game. He added two interceptions, 2.5 tackles for losses and 1.0 sack on the season.
Wingard recorded four double-figure tackle games this season against: Missouri (12), Wofford (12), Boise State (10) and Air Force (13). In addition to his double-figure tackles games, he was extremely consistent, recording seven tackles vs. Fresno State and six vs. Washington State, Utah State and Hawai’i.
The senior was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week for his performance vs. Air Force, with 13 tackles and one interception.
He recorded a season high 11 solo tackles at Missouri, and had 8 solo tackles vs. Boise State.
Wingard was named to the 2018 Preseason Associated Press All-America Second Team, and was selected to the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List and the Bronko Nagurski Award Watch List. Wingard was also selected a team captain as a senior.
Wyoming Second Team Selections
Carl Granderson, Senior, Defensive End, Sacramento, Calif.
Carl Granderson was honored as an All-Mountain West selection for the second consecutive season. He was a First Team choice as a junior in 2017.
Granderson ranked No. 5 among all Mountain West defensive linemen in tackles, averaging 3.6 tackles per game. He led all Wyoming defensive linemen in total tackles, with 40, and in solo tackles, with 28.
The senior intercepted a pass and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown at Hawai’i this season. He had a season best 10 tackles vs. Air Force, including a season best six solo tackles. Granderson recorded a season high 2.0 sacks versus Boise State and had a season high 3.0 tackles for loss at New Mexico. He was also credited with two pass breakups on the season from his defensive end position.
He concluded the 2018 regular season ranked No. 3 on the Wyoming career tackle for loss list, with 35.5 for his career.
Granderson was named to the 2018 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List and 2018 Ted Hendricks Award Watch List.
Wyoming Honorable Mention Selections
Tyler Hall, Junior, Cornerback, Hawthorne, Calif.
Tyler Hall received All-Conference recognition for the second time in his career. He earned Honorable Mention honors as a cornerback this season after earning Honorable Mention honors as a kick returner as a sophomore in 2017. Hall played both nickel and cornerback this season
He led Wyoming in passes defended, with nine total. He concluded the regular season with an interception at New Mexico that he returned for 26 yards.
His season totals include: 39 total tackles, 28 solo tackles, nine PBUs, one interception, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and 2.5 tackles for loss.
His return to cornerback began with the Utah State game, where he helped the Cowboys hold USU to 194 yards of total offense — 284.7 yards under their season average, and he broke up two passes versus the Aggies. He had five tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss and two pass breakups vs. Washington State. Hall made a career high nine tackles and a career best six solo tackles at Colorado State. He was credited with six tackles, including five solo tackles at Hawai’i and had six tackles, including four solo tackles vs. Air Force. Hall also recorded three tackles, all solos, and broke up one pass at Missouri.
Logan Wilson, Junior, Linebacker, Casper, Wyo.
Logan Wilson received Mountain West Conference postseason honors for the third consecutive season. He was a Second Team selection as a sophomore in 2017 and was the 2016 MW Freshman of the Year.
Wilson led Wyoming in total tackles with 103 this season, and recorded his second consecutive 100-tackle season of his career. He also led the Pokes in solo tackles, with 57, and was tops on the team in tackles for loss, with 11.0.
The junior ranked No. 7 among Mountain West linebackers in tackles, averaging 8.6 tackles per game. He ranked No. 9 among all Mountain West players at all positions in tackles, and ranked No. 8 in tackles for loss (11.0 total TFLs). Wilson also had two interceptions, 2.0 sacks and two pass breakups on the season.
He had six double-figure tackle games this season against: San Jose State (10), Boise State (11), Hawai’i (11), Utah State (11), Colorado State (12) and Washington State (12).
Wilson recorded a season high nine solo tackles vs. Hawai’i and had seven solo tackles vs. Colorado State and Washington State. He recorded a season high 3.0 tackles for loss at Hawai’i, including 1.0 sack.
Wilson was elected a team captain as a junior, marking the second consecutive season he was voted a team captain.