Wyoming and Boise State go into this weekend’s matchup with Boise State at least one-half game ahead of everybody else atop the Mountain Division standings, but Wyoming is just one game back of the Broncos. A loss for Wyoming would drop the Cowboys two games back with three to play and effectively squash their championship hopes. A Wyoming win, however, would draw the Cowboys even with Boise in the standings and essentially give them a one-game edge on Boise with the head-to-head tiebreaker. And then there’s Air Force, which is one-half game up on Wyoming. This game is a massive one any way you slice it.
House of horrors
Wyoming has only beaten Boise State once since the Broncos joined the MW at the start of the decade — that victory came in 2016 when the Cowboys played in their only league title game in Craig Bohl’s tenure — and has never beaten Boise on the blue turf. Wyoming is winless in its four trips to Boise’s Albertsons Stadium since 2011. It’s been difficult for anybody to win there over the years. The Broncos have one of the best home-field advantages in college football with a 54-7 home record since 2010.
You have free articles remaining.
Sean Chambers’ season-ending knee injury means it’s Tyler Vander Waal’s chance to lead Wyoming’s offense again. Saturday will mark the sophomore’s 10th career start but his first this season. His last start came in Wyoming’s 31-3 win at New Mexico in last season’s finale. He went just 4 of 17 passing in that game. In his most extended playing time this season, he threw a 25-yard TD pass in the second half against Nevada once Chambers went out with the injury, but Vander Waal finished just 3 of 10 through the air. Wyoming will need Vander Waal to take his game to another level if it wants a realistic chance to get out of Boise with a win.
A shot at rank
Wyoming hasn’t had a ton of chances against ranked teams over the years, but Saturday will give them one. Boise State is ranked 21st in this week’s Associated Press poll. The Cowboys are 11-63 all-time against ranked foes with their last ranked win coming over San Diego State in 2016. Wyoming lost at SDSU, now ranked 24th, earlier this season. Wyoming beat Boise, ranked 13th at the time, in 2016 at War Memorial Stadium.
Strength vs. strength
Saturday will pit arguably the MW’s best offense against one of the best defenses in the league. Nobody is scoring more points a game than Boise State (37.4), and only SDSU is allowing fewer points per game than Wyoming (17.6). The Broncos hit half a hundred in their 52-42 win at San Jose State last week. Meanwhile, the Cowboys allowed just three points their last time out against Nevada, are allowing just 6.5 points over their last two games and have yet to yield more than 26 points to a league opponent this season.
Boise State holds a 12-1 edge in the all-time series. The teams first met in 2002 and played as non-conference foes the first five times before Boise State made the move from the Western Athletic Conference to the MW. Wyoming is still looking for its first win on the blue turf with an 0-6 record at Albertsons Stadium. Wyoming’s most recent trip to Boise two years ago resulted in a 24-14 loss. The Broncos won last year’s meeting 34-14 at War Memorial Stadium.