(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. - A Friday night meeting between the Wyoming Cowboys and Boise State Broncos will be the featured game to kick off this week’s action in the Mountain West Conference televised nationally on FS1 at 7 p.m.
Both teams bring 5-4 records into this week’s game and are coming off convincing wins in their last outings. Wyoming defeated Colorado State 31-17 last Saturday in Laramie, while Boise State traveled to Fresno State and beat the Bulldogs 40-14.
Close Finishes Mark Recent Wyoming-Boise State Series
Beginning with the 2016 season, the Wyoming Cowboys and Boise State Broncos have played a series of close games, with three of the five games decided by one score.
Season Score and Margin of Victory
2016 Wyoming won 30-28 (+2) in Laramie
2017 Boise State won 24-14 (+10) in Boise
2018 Boise St. won 34-14 (+20) in Laramie
2019 Boise State won 20-17 (+3) in Boise in overtime
2020 Boise State won 17-9 (+8) in Laramie
2021 Common Opponents
The Wyoming Cowboys and Boise State Broncos have played three common opponents thus far in 2021 -- Air Force, Colorado State and Fresno State. Wyoming has a 1-2 record against those opponents. Boise State is 2-1. Both the Cowboys and Broncos defeated Colorado State by similar margins -- Wyoming winning by 14 and Boise State winning by nine. Both teams lost to Air Force -- Wyoming by 10 and Boise State by seven. The Cowboys lost to Fresno State by 17, while Boise State defeated the Bulldogs by 26.
Opponents Wyoming vs. Boise State vs.
Air Force L 14-24 (-10), Away L 17-24 (-7), Home
Colorado State W 31-17 (+14), Home W 28-19 (+9), Away
Fresno State L 0-17 (-17), Home W 40-14 (+26), Away
Levi Williams and Isaiah Neyor Developing Exciting New Connection in Passing Game
Cowboy quarterback Levi Williams and wide receiver Isaiah Neyor are developing an exciting connection for Wyoming’s passing attack.
Against Colorado State, Williams found Neyor on two touchdown passes of 25 and 15 yards. Williams ended the day 9 of 16 passing for 92 yards, two TD passes and no interceptions. He also rushed for 116 yards and one TD. Neyor caught three passes for 45 yards and two TDs. Both Cowboys are only sophomores.
Pokes’ Rushing Attack Impressive vs. Colorado State
The Wyoming rushing attack was impressive in the Cowboys’ 31-17 win over Colorado State on Nov. 6. UW rushed for a season high 385 yards.
Two Cowboys recorded career highs in rushing as running back Titus Swen rushed for 166 yards on 21 carries, and quarterback Levi Williams ran for 116 yards on 12 carries. It was Swen’s second 100-yard game of his career and first of the season. For Williams, it was the first 100-yard rushing game of his career.
Wyoming’s leading rusher, Xazavian Valladay, added 76 yards on the ground against Colorado State to move him from fourth place on the UW career rushing list to second. Valladay now has 2,971 rushing yards as a Cowboy and passed Ryan Christopherson (2,906 yards from 1991-94) and Devin Moore (2,963 from 2005-08). Valladay trails only Brian Hill, who rushed for 4,287 yards from 2014-16.
Valladay Nearing Historic Career Total
Cowboy running back Xazavian Valladay enters this week’s game versus Boise State with 2,971 career rushing yards. He needs only 29 yards to reach 3,000 for his career. Only one Cowboy in history has rushed for 3,000 career yards. That lone Cowboy to reach that milestone is Brian Hill, with 4,287 career rushing yards.
Cowboy Defense Continues to be One of the Best in the Nation
Wyoming’s defense has been outstanding throughout this season and continues to rank among the best in the nation.
The Cowboys enter this week ranked No. 4 in the nation in pass defense, allowing opponents only 157.9 passing yards per game, and the Pokes rank No. 13 in the country in pass defense efficiency, with a rating of 114.03.
In terms of total defense, Wyoming is 23rd out of 130 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs, allowing opponents only 327.0 yards of total offense per game.
Muma Strengthens His Case for Being One of the Top Defenders in the Country
Cowboy linebacker Chad Muma continues his outstanding play week after week. Muma currently ranks among the top players in the nation in four defensive categories.
He is tied for No. 2 in the nation in interception returns for touchdowns (2). He ranks No. 3 in the country in solo tackles (6.4 per game) and ranks No. 10 among FBS players in total tackles (9.9 per game). With his three interceptions, he is tied for No. 16 in the NCAA among all players.
Muma is one of 16 national semifinalists for this year’s Butkus Award (nation’s best linebacker) and is one of 18 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (nation’s outstanding defensive player).
He earned his second Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honor last week for his performance against Colorado State -- a game in which he made 11 tackles, including six solo tackles and intercepted his third pass of the season.
Playing Disciplined Football -- Pokes One of the Least Penalized Teams in the Country
Once again this year, the Wyoming Cowboys are one of the least penalized teams in the country. That has been a consistent part of the Wyoming Football program under head coach Craig Bohl. Entering this week’s game, Wyoming ranks No. 14 in the nation in fewest penalties per game (4.56) and ranks No. 15 in fewest penalty yards per game (40.11).