Cowboys Will Host Utah State Saturday for Homecoming

By: 
Tim Harkins, Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations, Public Relations and Broadcasting, University of Wyoming Athletics

Wyoming Cowboy Cameron Stone during the University of Wyoming's game against Utah State on Nov. 20, 2021. 

Photo Courtesy the Univeristy of Wyoming Athletics Department

Two Teams Tied for Second in the Mountain Division

Laramie, Wyo. (Oct. 17, 2022) -- It will be a day filled with traditions when Wyoming hosts Utah State this Saturday in the 2022 Homecoming Game for the Cowboys.  It will mark the 97th Homecoming Game in University of Wyoming history.  The two teams will be playing each other for the 72nd time since the first meeting in 1903.  Since 2013, the two old rivals have played for the Bridger Rifle traveling trophy.  Saturday’s game will kick off at 7:45 p.m., Mountain Time from Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium.    

The Cowboys and Aggies will enter Saturday’s game tied for second place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference with identical 2-1 records.  Wyoming’s overall record is 4-3 and the Pokes are coming off a 27-14 road win at New Mexico two weeks ago.  UW had a bye last Saturday.  Utah State is 3-4 overall and is coming off a road win at Colorado State last Saturday by a score of 17-13.

Tickets for Saturday’s Game

Tickets for Saturday’s game may be purchased a variety of ways.

      •Fans may go online at GoWyo.com/tickets

      •You may email tickets@uwyo.edu

      •Fans may call the UW Athletics Ticket Office at (307) 766-7220

      •Ticket Office staff are also available this week to assist fans at the main Athletics Ticket Office located on the West Side of the Arena-Auditorium located at Willett Drive and 19th Streets on the UW campus.

      •On game days, fans may purchase tickets at the Ticket Office on the east side of War Memorial Stadium.

Single-game tickets for the Wyoming-Utah State game start as low as $35 for adults and $25 for children ages 3-12.

Where to Watch and Listen

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network.  Announcers are Reece Monaco, Play-by-Play (1st year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (25th year) and Erick Pauley, Sideline Reporter (1st year).  The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Saturday’s Wyoming-Utah State game will be televised on FS2.  Announcers will be Dan Hellie (Play-by-play) and Petros Papadakis (Color Analyst).

Wyoming and Utah State Continue Rivalry That Began in 1903, “Bridger’s Battle” Tradition Was Introduced in 2013

Wyoming and Utah State first played in football in 1903, and this year’s meeting will be the 72nd in the series.  Wyoming has won 27 of the previous 71 meetings, while Utah State has won 40 times and there have been four ties.    

A new tradition was incorporated into the century-old rivalry in 2013 when the Wyoming Cowboys and Utah State Aggies introduced a new “Bridger’s Battle” tradition to the football series between the two schools.    

As part of the new tradition, a traveling “Bridger Rifle” is awarded to the winner each year.  The rifle is a .50-caliber Rocky Mountain Hawken rifle that was popular among mountain men of the 1800s, and is widely-considered to be the rifle carried by the legendary Jim Bridger.  “Bridger’s Battle” was chosen as the name for the new series due to Bridger’s ties to the Wyoming-Utah region.  The Bridger’s Battle portion of the series now stands at 5-3 in favor of Utah State.    

The last five games between the two schools have seen Wyoming winning three times and Utah State twice.  Wyoming won in Logan, Utah, last season in 2021, defeating the Aggies by a score of 44-21.  The previous two games were narrowly won by Utah State.  USU won by eight points (24-16) in 2018 in Laramie to take possession of the Bridger Rifle traveling trophy.  In 2019, the Aggies won by five points (26-21) in Logan, Utah.  Prior to that, Wyoming won two in a row in 2016, by a score of 52-28 in Laramie, and in 2017, by a final of 28-23 in Logan.

Wyoming Hosts 97th Homecoming Game This Week

This week’s game versus Utah State will mark the 97th Homecoming game in University of Wyoming history, and the 72nd Homecoming game to be played in War Memorial Stadium.      

UW’s Overall Record in Homecoming Games               47-46-3 (.505)

UW’s Homecoming Record in War Memorial               42-27-2 (.606)

Cowboy Defense Scoring Its Share of Points in 2022

The Cowboy defensive unit has scored two defensive touchdowns this season to rank No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 7 in the nation for the 2022 season.     

The Pokes scored a defensive touchdown on the second play of the game vs. Tulsa when defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole and safety Miles Williams put pressure on the Tulsa quarterback.  Bertagnole punched the ball out of the Tulsa QB’s hands and the ball bounced backwards into TU’s end zone where UW linebacker Easton Gibbs recovered the fumble for a touchdown.  UW went on to win the home game 40-37 in double overtime.    

At New Mexico, Cowboy cornerback Cam Stone intercepted the Lobo quarterback and returned the interception 38 yards for a TD with only 1:09 remaining in the game to seal a 27-14 road victory for Wyoming.

Signal-Caller Switch 

As fans of both teams are aware, quarterbacks Andrew Peasley of Wyoming and Levi Williams of Utah State switched teams in the offseason.  Peasley previously played for the Aggies of Utah State before becoming the starting quarterback for Wyoming this season.  Williams was the starting quarterback for the Cowboys for much of the 2021 season before he transferred to play for the Aggies in 2022.

Long Scoring Drives

The Cowboy offense has put together a number of long scoring drives this season.  Wyoming has a total of 16 Scoring Drives of 50 or more yards through the first seven games of the season.

Games     Scoring Drives (Of 50 Yards or More)

at Illinois  8 plays for 70 yards, FG

Tulsa       13 plays for 67 yards, FG; 6 plays for 75 yards, TD; 3 plays for 69 yards, TD

UNC        11 plays for 56 yards, FG; 10 plays for 75 yards, TD

Air Force  15 plays for 73 yards, FG; 8 plays for 75 yards, TD

at BYU     10 plays for 57 yards, FG; 10 plays for 75 yards, TD; 4 plays for 50 yards, TD; 6 plays for 75 yards,TD

SJSU        4 plays for 80 yards, TD

at UNM    7 plays for 82 yards, TD; 8 plays for 75 yards, TD; 8 plays for 74 yards, FG

Totals      16 Scoring Drives of 50 Yards or More

The Amazing John Hoyland

Wyoming sophomore place-kicker John Hoyland has gone from walk-on, to starter, to Freshman All-American, to one of the very best place-kickers in the country.     

For the second time in his career, Hoyland is one of the leading kickers in the nation.  He is averaging 2.14 field goals per game to rank No. 1 in the country this season and has made 15 of 16 field goals through the first seven games of the season for a field-goal percentage of 93.8, which ranks 12th in the nation.  He also ranks No. 17 in the nation in scoring, with 61 total points to date.

For his career, Hoyland has made 38 of 44 field goals (86.4 percent) and he has made all 72 of his point-after-touchdown attempts.   

All Hoyland did as a freshman in 2020 was lead the nation in field goals made per game (2.17), rank No. 6 in the nation in field-goal percentage (92.9 percent) and rank No. 19 in scoring (9.2 points per game).

Common Opponents

Wyoming and Utah State have played two common opponents this season -- Air Force and BYU.  

The Cowboys and Aggies both defeated Air Force on their home fields and lost on the road at BYU.

Common          Wyoming   Utah State

Opponents       Versus        Versus

Air Force           W 17-14     W 34-27

at BYU              L 24-38       L 26-38

Something Else in Common

Wyoming and Utah State also share something else in common as both teams have each lost two games against teams that have been nationally ranked this season.   

Wyoming lost at Illinois (6-38) in the season opener.  The Illini enter this week ranked  No. 18 and 20 in the nation.  UW also lost at BYU (24-38) when the Cougars were ranked 19th and 23rd at the time of that game.     

Utah State lost at Alabama (0-55) when the Crimson Tide was ranked No. 1.  The Aggies also lost at BYU (26-38) when the Cougars were ranked No. 19 and 20.

About the Utah State Aggies

Utah State will come into Laramie this Saturday with a 3-4 overall record and a 2-1 conference mark.     

The Aggies have won their last two games, defeating Air Force (34-27) in Logan, Utah, on Oct. 8 and winning at Colorado State (17-13) on Oct. 15.

USU’s other win came at home in their season opener against UConn (31-20).     

Their four losses came on the road at Alabama (0-55) and at BYU (26-38) and at home vs. Weber State (7-35) and UNLV (24-34).

Next Up

Following Saturday’s home game vs. Utah State, the Cowboys will make their longest trip of the season to Hawai’i to face the Rainbow Warriors in a Mountain West Conference match-up on Saturday, Oct. 29.

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