Quick Hits On Cowboys Football Season Opener Vs. Montana State

This story first appeared on Cowboy State Daily

Laramie  –  They are two teams who return a significant number of players from very successful seasons in 2019, and they are two teams who share many ties between their coaching staffs.  The Wyoming Cowboys and Montana State Bobcats will kick off the 2021 season Saturday at 2 p.m. on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Recent Successes

Back in 2019 when both the Cowboys and Bobcats played their last full seasons, the Cowboys posted a record of 8-5 and captured the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Championship in Tucson.  Meanwhile, the Bobcats made a run all the way to the 2019 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Semifinals and compiled an overall record of 11-4.

In 2020, Wyoming played only six games, with two of its home games versus Air Force and Utah State cancelled due to the Cowboy opponents having COVID issues.  Montana State was one of the FCS teams who chose not to play at all in 2020, so will be playing a game for the first time since a Dec. 21, 2019, loss to North Dakota State in the FCS Semifinals.

Ticketing

Tickets are going fast but still available for Saturday’s season opener.  Season-tickets to the 2021 Wyoming Football season start as low as $159 for adults and $89 for children (ages 3-12).  Single-game tickets to the Wyoming-Montana State game start as low as $39 for adults and $29 for children.  Fans may order tickets online at GoWyo.com/tickets, by emailing tickets@uwyo.edu or by calling (307) 766-7220.

Wyoming Named the Most Stable FBS Program in College Football 

In a story by ESPN’s Bill Connelly on July 28, the University of Wyoming football program was ranked No. 1 in the country in stability among all 130 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools.  Clemson was ranked No. 2 in the ratings.

Each FBS program was ranked in three categories of stability according to Connelly’s system:

  •       Coaching stability (up to 20 points).
  •       Roster stability (up to 20 points).
  •       Performance stability (up to 10 points).

Wyoming’s combined ratings gave the Cowboys an overall rating of 40.6 (15.5 coach stability, 19.2 roster stability, 6.0 performance stability).  Clemson came in No. 2 with an overall rating of 40.3 (20.0 coach stability, 10.6 roster stability, 9.7 performance stability). 

Connelly pointed out that, “The Cowboys have one of the most reliable defenses in the Group of Five, Craig Bohl is entering his eighth year in Wyoming (and with a pretty steady staff), and virtually everyone from last season’s team is back. Bohl has proven to be one of the sport’s most celebrated culture-builders, and it makes sense that a Bohl team would lead this list.”

2021 Marks the 125th Season of Wyoming Football

The 2021 college football season will be the 125th season of Cowboy Football.  This coming season is one of the most anticipated in the history of Wyoming Football, as the team and fans alike are anxious to return to a normal season of college football.

The first season of Wyoming Football was 1893, but there were four seasons through Cowboy Football history where a season wasn’t played leading to the 2021 season being the 125th.  UW did not play any games in the 1918 season due to a flu epidemic.  The Cowboys also did not play for three seasons (1943, 1944 and 1945) due to World War II. 

Coaching Ties

The coaching tie that most Cowboy and Bobcat fans are aware of entering this game is the one between Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl and first-year MSU head coach Brent Vigen, who for the previous seven seasons was Wyoming’s offensive coordinator.  All total, the two coaches worked together for 18 years at Wyoming and North Dakota State, winning three consecutive FCS National Championships from 2011-13.

But the tie between Bohl and Vigen is not the only coaching tie between the two teams.  Other ties include:

  • Montana State Assistant Defensive Line Coach Adam Pilapil was a key contributor for the Pokes as a linebacker and special teams player during one of the most successful periods in Cowboy Football.  Pilapil lettered at UW from 2015-18. 
  • MSU Offensive Coordinator Taylor Housewright was an Offensive Graduate Assistant at Wyoming for the 2018 season.
  • Current Cowboy Offensive Coordinator Tim Polasek, Wide Receivers Coach and Offensive Pass-Game Coordinator Mike Grant, Running Backs Coach and Director of Player Development Gordie Haug and Tight Ends/Fullbacks Coach and Co-Special Teams Coordinator Shannon Moore all worked on offensive coaching staffs with Vigen at either Wyoming or North Dakota State.
  • Montana State Defensive Coordinator Freddie Banks played cornerback at North Dakota State from 2008-10 under head coach Craig Bohl.  In 2011 and ‘12, Banks began his college coaching career at Minnesota State Moorhead.  During that time, Banks recruited current Cowboy linebackers coach Aaron Bohl to Minnesota State Moorhead.

About the Series

This week’s meeting between the Cowboys and Bobcats will be the 20th in the series.  Wyoming holds a 13-6 advantage in the series.

  • Saturday’s game will be only the second time this century the two teams have played.  The last meeting was on Aug. 30, 2003, when Wyoming won 21-10 in Laramie in its season opener.
  • In 1950, Montana State played Wyoming in the opening game of Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium.  Wyoming won that War Memorial opener 61-13 on Sept. 16, 1950.  Since then, the Pokes and Bobcats have played only two other times leading up to today’s game.  Wyoming won in 1998 (17-9) and in 2003 (21-10) both games being played in Laramie.
  • The Cowboys have won the last eight meetings in the series and 10 of the last 11.

The Wyoming Cowboys and Season Openers

As the Wyoming Cowboys enter their 125th season of college football in 2021, the Pokes record in season openers breaks down as follows:

  • Wyoming’s record in 124 Previous Season Openers (Home & Away) 78-44-2 (.637)
  • UW in Season-Opening Games at Home (77 Games) 58-18-1 (.760)
  • The Cowboys in Season-Opening Games on the Road (47 Games) 20-26-1 (.436)
  • UW vs. Non-Conference Opponents in Season Openers 64-27-1 (.701)
  • The Pokes vs. Non-Conference Opponents at Home in Season Openers 49-11-1 (.811)
  • Wyoming’s record vs. Non-Conference Opponents on the Road in Season Openers 15-16-0 (.484)

Where to Watch and Listen

For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game there are several ways to watch and listen.

Radio Broadcast Information for the Cowboy Sports Network (CSN):

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network

  • Announcers are Dave Walsh, Play-by-Play (38th year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (24th year) and
  • Reece Monaco, Sideline Reporter (11th year)
  • The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Television Broadcast Information for Wyoming-Montana State Game:

Saturday’s game will be televised on:

  • The Mountain West Network
  • WYO-VISION on GoWyo.com
  • Also available on Wyoming Football’s Facebook page @wyofootball and on Wyoming Athletics Facebook page @wyoathletics
  • Announcers will be Chris Sylvester, Play-by-Play and Jared Petrino, Color Analyst


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