By Martin Harris
BYU”s quest for perfection and recognition rolls on Saturday, Nov. 10, as the Cougars take their offensive show on the road against the Wyoming Cowboys.
Kickoff for the Wyoming game is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST.
The undefeated Cougars are gaining national attention. On sports talk shows and Web sites, commentators are giving BYU a chance at a Fiesta Bowl bid.
However, the team must win the remainder of its games to be under consideration. That means not underestimating the Cowboys, who are 0-5 in Mountain West Conference play and 2-6 overall.
“Anything can happen on the road,” head coach Gary Crowton said. “We have to focus on this game. It would be easy to try and look over Wyoming, but I don”t think we”re going to do that. They”ve had two weeks to prepare for us. That is to their advantage.”
“If we don”t take these guys seriously, then they will beat us,” safety Levi Madarieta said.
Wyoming has had it rough the last two seasons. Last year, the Cowboys finished 1-10, and they have not won a conference game since Nov. 20, 1999, against New Mexico. However, the Cougar players are not about to make the same mistake they made in 1999.
The ”99 season was the last time the two teams met in Laramie. BYU was 8-1, ranked 12th in the polls and riding a six-game winning streak. The Cowboys beat the Cougars 31-17 and sent BYU spiraling downward, as it lost its next two games to finish the season 8-4.
“I hated that game,” offensive lineman Aaron McCubbins said. “I thought we were ready for them, but we just blew it. It kicked all the confidence we had out from under us. That season is a bitter memory.”
BYU will seek revenge on its return trip to Wyoming, and this time the stakes are even higher. The Cougars are ranked sixth in the nation and first in the conference in rushing offense. The Cowboys” rush defense is last in the conference, allowing 254 yards per game on the ground.
A win this weekend will clinch the MWC title for the Cougars. The undefeated Cougars would be the second team in the nation to reach 10 wins this season, joining the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Wyoming had a bye last week, giving the team additional time to prepare for BYU and rest its players, including quarterback Casey Bramlet. Bramlet leads the MWC with 279 passing yards per game. Five times this season he has passed for more than 300-yards in a game.