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Ranking the best individual BYU performances vs. Wyoming

BYU and Wyoming have a long and storied history of big games and meaningful matchups throughout the course of their days as rivals in the Rocky Mountain, Mountain States Athletic, Skyline, Western Athletic and Mountain West conferences.

While the games weren't always close, there were plenty of tight finishes (15 games decided by three points or less) and legendary performances from some of the best players to ever wear a BYU uniform.

This is the ranking of the best of the best of those performances — the best individual showings against the Cowboys from years gone by.

15. Steve Stratton, 1971

Stratton carried much of the load as the Cougars used a dominating rushing attack to beat the Cowboys 35-17. In the 18-point win, he carried the ball 20 times for 173 yards and a touchdown.

Pete Van Valkenburg also did significant damage on the ground that day with 22 carries for 128 yards and a pair of scores.

14. Lakei Heimuli, running back, 1986

Heimuli had plenty of success against the Cowboys with his best rushing day coming in 1986. In the 34-22 win, he carried the ball 29 times for 177 yards and a touchdown.

A year earlier, he scored three first-half touchdowns while rushing for 137 yards on just 14 carries in a 59-0 win.

13. Jason Buck, defensive line, 1985

Buck had one of the best games of his junior season as the Cougars beat the Cowboys 59-0. In the huge win, he finished with four tackles, including three tackles for loss, one and a half sacks and a forced fumble.

12. Mark Bellini, wide receiver, 1986

Bellini had the most productive day of his senior season as the Cougars beat the Cowboys 34-22. In the win, he totaled seven catches for 159 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown to start the scoring.

11. Ty Detmer, quarterback, 1990

Like many of the other categories in the BYU record book, Detmer owns the record for the most passing yards in a game against the Cowboys. He set that mark in a 45-14 win when he completed 35 of 50 passes for 484 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

His performance would be higher on this list if not for his two interceptions.

10. Tyson Smith, defensive back, 2000

Smith had one of his most productive days as a Cougar as he helped the defense to a 19-7 win. In the low-scoring affair, Smith totaled three tackles while also tying a school record with three interceptions.

9. Fred Whittingham, running back, 1989

Whittingham had a had a big day carrying the ball and as a receiver out of the backfield as he totaled 192 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns as the Cougars beat the Cowboys 36-20. In the 16-point win, he registered 65 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries while adding six receptions for 127 yards and another score.

8. Dan Hansen, 1971

Hansen had a great day as the Cougars beat the Cowboys 35-17. In the win, he intercepted two passes and returned one 93-yards for a touchdown.

7. Ryan Hancock, 1992

Hancock had a spectacular passing day as the Cougars overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to knock off the Cowboys 31-28. In the win, he completed 24 of 40 passes for 408 yards, including touchdown passes of 6, 20 and 67 yards.

6. Jeff Lyman, linebacker, 1970

Lyman was all over the field as the Cougars held the Cowboys to just 149 yards passing in a 23-3 victory. On the day, he finished with 11 tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups.

Dan Hansen and Chris Farasopoulos also had big days for the defense as each picked off two passes.

5. Marc Wilson, quarterback, 1979

Wilson had a big day as the Cougars cruised past the Cowboys 54-14. In the 40-point win, he completed 33 of 48 passes for 448 yards, including touchdown passes of 35, 23, 12 and 2 yards.

Homer Jones also provided the Cougars with a special performance with 10 catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns while adding a 4-yard touchdown run.

4. Jeff Wilcox, defensive back, 1986

Wilcox had a banner day in the secondary as the Cougars beat the Cowboys 34-22. In the win, he tied a school record with three interceptions while adding six tackles and a pass breakup.

3. Max Hall, quarterback, 2009

Hall was nearly perfect throwing the ball as the Cougars crushed the Cowboys 52-0. In the lopsided win, he completed 20 of 22 passes for 312 yards, including touchdown passes of 44, 2, 79 and 15 yards.

2. Jeff Blanc, running back, 1975

Blanc had a monster performance against the Cowboys in a 33-20 victory. In the 13-point win, he managed 36 carries for 215 yards, including touchdown runs of 4, 1 and 7 yards.

He added two catches for 29 yards to finish the game with 244 yards from scrimmage.

1. Luke Staley, running back, 2001

Staley had a huge rushing day as the Cougars stayed undefeated with the 41-34 win. He finished with 31 carries for 172 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown on an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter.

He added three catches for 26 yards as he just missed out on 200 yards from scrimmage.

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.