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UW FOOTBALL

Wyoming's Chad Muma prepares for last ride at War Memorial Stadium

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Chad Muma

Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma lines up for a play during the Cowboys' game against Colorado State last season at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, Colo.

LARAMIE – Chad Muma will take his final ride with the Cowboys in Laramie.

The star linebacker was named one of six Butkus Award finalists on Monday, two days after racking up 17 tackles to lead the defense during Wyoming’s 44-17 road win over Utah State.

UW head coach Craig Bohl confirmed that Muma’s decision to accept a Senior Bowl invitation last week means he will be entering the 2022 NFL draft instead of using the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA during the pandemic.

The Cowboys host Hawaii in the regular-season finale on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium (1 p.m., Mountain West Network).

“This is something I, quite frankly, saw coming maybe at the Northern Illinois game,” Bohl said. “It was just an emerging player that you just kept going, ‘Wow.’ He’s done that time and time again. He has been a marvelous captain for us and he’ll have a great long career in the NFL.”

Muma is currently second in the FBS in solo tackles (6.8 per game) and fourth in total tackles (10.9 per game). The 6-foot-3, 242-pound senior from Lone Tree, Colorado, has also returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns and recorded double figures in tackles in 10 of 11 games this season.

Logan Wilson was also a Butkus finalist in 2019 before being drafted by Cincinnati, where he is leading the Bengals in tackles and interceptions this season.

Bohl met with Muma and his parents about the decision, which turned out to be an easy one based on feedback from the NFL.

“The Senior Bowl is vetted by the NFL and once you get an invitation for the Senior Bowl, I mean, I don’t want to say you’re guaranteed to be a top-100 (drafted) player, but that’s pretty much where it’s at,” Bohl said. “Logan improved significantly between his fourth and fifth year. I think the things Chad is doing right now, I don’t know if there’s going to be a big, big change in his productivity.”

Muma replaced Wilson as UW’s starting middle linebacker in 2020 and finished third nationally in tackles as a junior, averaging 11.8 per game, to earn first-team all-Mountain West Conference honors.

The Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s top linebacker, will be announced Dec. 7. Muma will play in the Senior Bowl on Feb. 5 in Mobile, Alabama.

A win over Hawaii on Saturday would likely secure a bowl invitation for UW, which would extend Muma’s Cowboy career one more game.

“It has been a joy to coach him,” Bohl said.

Stone nabs MWC award

Cameron Stone was named the Mountain West special teams player of the week after returning a kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown against Utah State.

Sonny Jones’ 100-yard kickoff return against Colorado College in 1948 is the only longer kickoff return in the program’s 125-year history.

Stone’s score came after the Aggies tied the score 7-7 in the first quarter and set the tone for UW’s scoreboard explosion.

“When I picked up the ball I was like, ‘What am I about to do with this?’” Stone said of the low kickoff that bounced into his arms after one hop. “So I was like, follow somebody. I followed the blockers and then saw the green grass. I just went from there.”

Notable

Hawaii led Colorado State by 26 points in the third quarter and held on for a 50-45 win late Saturday night in Honolulu. …

Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro passed for 406 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Dedrick Parson ran for 78 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns for the Warriors (5-7, 2-5). …

Bohl said Cordeiro compares favorably to San Jose State’s Nick Nash and CSU’s Todd Centeio but has a better arm than his dual-threat quarterback contemporaries. …

UW leads the all-time series with Hawaii 15-10, including a 31-7 win in 2020. The teams play for the Paniolo Trophy.

Quotable

“Those trophy games were the best we’ve played all year. We need to find a way to do it again,” senior defensive end said of UW claiming the Bronze Boot and Jim Bridger’s Rifle with decisive wins over CSU and Utah State, respectively. “Obviously this is a trophy game we want to win to make sure we secure ourselves a bowl game.”

Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn

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