LARAMIE – Aloha means goodbye to some notable Wyoming players on Senior Day at War Memorial Stadium.
But the Cowboys should have the opportunity to play again in the playoffs with a victory over Hawaii in the regular season and the home final today (1 p.m., no TV).
UW became bowl eligible with the dominant 44-17 road victory last week over division champion Mountain Utah State and can finish 7-5 overall with a victory over the Warriors (5-7).
Both teams are 2-5 in conference.
Hawaii upset then-No. 18 Fresno State at the start of the season and ended a five-game losing streak at MWC with a 50-45 victory over Colorado State last week in Honolulu.
The Cowboys, who pulled off a four-game slippage with a 31-17 victory over rival Rams on November 6, will honor a senior class that includes Butkus Ward runner-up Chad Muma, running back Xazavian Valladay and the excellent defender Garrett Crall.
“Standing in the tunnel I’m going to realize it’s real and it all ends,” Crall said of his emotions in the last home game of his career. “I’ll probably shed tears, but I’m a guy who likes to be happy. I don’t like to focus on: it’s sad it’s over. I’m glad it happened.
UW head coach Craig Bohl gives senior management credit for helping keep the locker room from dividing after a 4-0 start turned into a 5- record. 5 as the offense floundered in the start of the MWC 1-5 game.
The Pokes held their most complete game of the season in Logan, Utah, as Levi Williams had 242 yards and two touchdowns, Titus Swen rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns and Cameron Stone returned a 99-yard kickoff for a touchdown.
Utah State (9-3, 6-2) still qualified for the MWC title game against No. 21 San Diego State after beating New Mexico 35-10 on Friday in Albuquerque.
“It’s the best game we’ve played so far this season, especially in conference,” said Valladay, who finished with 145 rushing yards and will move out of second on the all-time running list. the UW. “Going out on the road with your back against the wall and playing physically, playing hard and playing fast felt really good.
“I think we have our three trophies right now in Laramie after getting this Bridger’s Rifle.”
Prior to retrieving Jim Bridger’s rifle from the Aggies at Maverik Stadium, the Cowboys’ best performance of the season was in winning the Border War to retrieve the CSU Bronze Shoe.
Now the Cowboys will look to hold onto the Paniolo Trophy, which has been in their possession since winning 31-7 over Hawaii in 2020, by keeping the Warriors winless in MWC road games this season.
UW’s last home loss in the series, which he led 15-10, was in 1991.
“This season hasn’t quite gone the way we wanted it to but we can still finish strong on Saturday and definitely get this win for them,” second-year defensive end Jaylen Pate said of the seniors. “I know they are looking forward to it. It should be fun.
Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has completed 54.7% of his passes for 2,470 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season. The junior, despite being sacked 27 times for under-164 yards, has 256 net rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The UW defense bruised and beaten Utah State quarterback Logan Bonner as cornerbacks Azizi Hearn and CJ Coldon held on in men’s coverage with one of the most productive wide receiver tandems of the country at Deven Thompkins and Brandon Bowling.
The Pokes are fourth in the country in passing yards (164.3 per game) and 26th in total yards (333.6 yards per game).
This will be the last time fans will see Muma and Valladay, who will enter the NFL Draft instead of using the extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA during the pandemic, and super seniors like Crall playing the War. Memorial Stadium.
The sixth-year UW seniors still have the chance to go to their fourth bowl game and finish with their fourth eight-game season.
“It’s mind-boggling. I’ve never had a faster season in my life, ”said Crall. “Winning this game and going to a bowl would mean a lot to see everything through, to see everything properly. Obviously, there was some doubt as to what was going to happen with the season at some point.
“I think we would be able to honestly say that we left this place better than we found it. So that’s what we want to do.