BYU and Wyoming, two of the dominant forces in the Western Athletic Conference in recent years, will meet this afternoon in Provo in a locally televised football game.
The Cowboys, who are 1-4 overall and 1-1 in league play, must win to keep their fading hopes for a third consecutive league championship alive. BYU, 3-1 overall and 1-0 in league play, will be trying to remain one of only two teams still unbeaten in WAC play (along with Air Force).Few WAC rivalries have been closer or more intense than the BYU-Wyoming series, which, having begun in 1922, is dead even, 28-28-3. Wyoming has won the last two games in two memorable showdowns.
- 1987. Wyoming 29, BYU 27, Provo. The Cowboys turn a muffed PAT kick into a two-point conversion pass. They also stop the Cougars with a goal line stand, although later BYU coaches and players swear that quarterback Bob Jensen actually scored only to be pushed back over the goal line in the pile up.
- 1988. Wyoming 24, BYU 14, Laramie. The Cowboys rough up the BYU quarterbacks, sacking them nine times and sending starter Sean Covey to the sidelines with a concussion. His replacement, freshman Ty Detmer, is forced into action and throws four interceptions. The Cougars miss three field goals and an extra point. All of this is seen on national television (ESPN), as the Cowboys become the first WAC team since 1973 to defeat BYU in back-to-back seasons.
Considering all this, Wyoming coach Paul Roach says BYU will be "smoked up for us. BYU's waiting for us. In fact, a lot of teams are waiting for us this year. We're getting a lot of bills paid back this year." Which is what comes of going unbeaten in conference play in back-to-back seasons.
No team has beaten BYU in the Edwards Era in three consecutive years since the early '70s. The only way the Cowboys could do it is if they reverse the penalties, turnovers, sacks and the unsettled play at quarterback that have hampered them this season. The Cowboys hope to revive their pass attack today with either quarterback Tom Corontzos, the season-long starter, or his backup, Pete Rowe. They also must spring Dabby Dawson, who, after averaging 7.6 yards a carry and totaling 1,119 yards last year, is averaging just 64 yards a game this season.
"When you're sitting 1-4, motivation is certainly a concern," Roach says. "But our guys' mental attitude has been good. I wouldn't think there would be a problem with motivation in this particular game, anyway."
"It will be a typical BYU-Wyoming game," says BYU Coach LaVell Edwards. "They've beaten us two years in a row, and we've got to take care of that."
The Cowboys again will face Detmer, but he won't be the same quarterback they saw a year ago. Detmer leads the nation in passing, having completed 64 percent of his passes, for 1,543 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions.