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Wyoming football visits old rival BYU as Cowboys try to improve to 4-1 against ranked foe


GILLETTE, Wyo. — For Wyoming football fans of a certain age, they have many memories of their Cowboys playing Brigham Young growing up.

But since BYU left the Mountain West Conference to become an independent program in 2011, the rivalry’s mystique has largely flamed out with no meetings since, with the exception of the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl showdown that the Cougars won.

This weekend, the BYU-Wyoming rivalry will be properly renewed in the regular season once again.

UW will visit the Cougars with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, with the game being televised on ESPN2. It will mark the first time the two programs have met in the regular season since Oct. 23, 2010, when BYU beat Wyoming 25-20 in Provo.

Wyoming (3-1) has won three straight games since dropping its season opener at Illinois, beating Air Force 17-14 last Friday night at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie as the Cowboys started their Mountain West season with a 1-0 record in conference play. The other wins on the year thus far came via a double-overtime 40-37 thriller against Tulsa and a 33-10 victory over Northern Colorado, both games of which were in Laramie.

UW running back Titus Swen scored the go-ahead (and what proved to be winning) touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Air Force game as the junior from Texas has 62 carries for 316 yards and four touchdowns on the ground thus far this season. Quarterback Andrew Peasley, who added in a passing touchdown of his own against the Falcons, has been solid under center, as well, throwing for 592 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions with a 60.2% completion rate.

Sophomore linebacker Easton Gibbs currently tops the Wyoming roster in total tackles, tallying 32 so far to rank second in the Mountain West behind only Colorado State’s Jack Howell (33). Redshirt freshman defensive end Oluwaseyi Omotosho leads the team in sacks with three, a number which currently ranks tied for third in the Mountain West.

BYU (2-1), which finished the 2021 season ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, reached as high as No. 12 in this year’s poll following wins over South Florida and then-No. 9 Baylor before being defeated last weekend on the road by No. 25 Oregon. Coach Kalani Sitake has been with the program since 2016, posting a 50-30 record in that timeframe.

The Cougars are a pass-first offense through junior quarterback Jaren Hall, who has completed 68.8% of his passes so far this year for 827 yards and five touchdowns compared to just one interception. Freshman wide receiver Chase Roberts is his favorite target, with the two Utahns connecting for 15 catches for 223 yards and a touchdown together. Senior running back Christopher Brooks is the main man in the backfield, tallying 194 rushing yards with two touchdowns so far in 2022.