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UW vs Montana State Cowboys win 19-16 War Memorial Stadium Laramie, WY Sept. 4, 2021

LARAMIE — This Saturday, Sept. 18, the Wyoming Cowboys return to War Memorial Stadium to host Ball State of the Mid-American Conference in a game that will match the two most recent champions of the Arizona Bowl. Saturday’s game will kick off at 2:00 p.m., Mountain Time.

In the 2019 Arizona Bowl, the Wyoming Cowboys captured a 38-17 win over Georgia State in Tucson, Ariz. Last year, the Ball State Cardinals defeated the San Jose State Spartans by a score of 34-13.

For the Second Straight Week a Tough MAC Opponent is on Tap for the Wyoming Cowboys

For the second consecutive week, the Wyoming Cowboys will play an opponent from the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Last week, the Pokes traveled to and won at Northern Illinois. This week Wyoming hosts the defending MAC Champion Ball State Cardinals.

A Thrilling Start to the 2021 Season

It has been an exciting two weeks for the Wyoming Cowboys and their fans as the Pokes are off to a 2-0 start to the 2021 season.

In each of the Cowboys first two games this season, Wyoming has scored a touchdown in the final two minutes of the game to secure wins. Against Northern Illinois, Wyoming scored a rushing touchdown with 1:35 left in the game to give UW a 50-43 win over the Huskies. In week one versus Montana State, the Pokes winning touchdown came on a pass completion for a TD with only 47 seconds remaining in the game.

Finding a Balance

Entering this season, the Wyoming offense was striving to develop a better balance between their rushing attack and their passing game.

Through the first two games of this season, Wyoming’s offense has begun to develop that balance they are striving for.

In game one vs. Montana State, the Pokes rushed for 151 yards and had 196 yards passing yards for a total of 347 yards of total offense. That equated to 43.5 percent from the running game and 56.5 percent from the passing game.

Wyoming generated 191 rushing yards and 204 passing yards in the win at Northern Illinois for 395 yards of total offense. The rushing attack was responsible for 48.4 percent of the offensive output and the passing game generated 51.6 percent.

On the season, 342 yards, or 46.1 percent, of the Cowboy offense has been generated by running the ball and 400 yards (53.9 percent) has been generated by throwing the football.

Chambers Displays His Talents and Leadership Skills Early This Season

Helping provide that offensive balance in 2021 is Cowboy quarterback Sean Chambers. His impact on the start of the 2021 season has been critical to Wyoming’s 2-0 start.

Chambers has led the Cowboys on 75-yard, game-winning drives in each of UW’s two victories.

He connected with tight end Treyton Welch on a 21-yard TD pass to give the Pokes a 19-16 win over Montana State on Sept. 4.

Then at Northern Illinois on Sept. 11, Chambers ran a naked bootleg and scampered into the end zone from nine yards out to seal a 50-43 road win over the Huskies.

On the season, Chambers has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes, 28 of 49 for 400 yards, three touchdowns and only one interception. He has also added 67 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown and leads Wyoming with 467 yards of total offense. But beyond the statistics, it is the confidence he provides his teammates that makes Chambers special.

Wyoming Defense Intercepts Three Passes Versus Northern Illinois

The Wyoming defense came up with a number of big plays in its win over Northern Illinois on Sept. 11, 2021. Those big plays included three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

The first Wyoming interception was made by safety Miles Williams in the first quarter. It was Williams first career interception.

In the second quarter, safety Rome Weber caught a deflected pass for his first interception of the 2021 season and second of his career.

Midway through the third quarter, Cowboy middle linebacker Chad Muma intercepted NIU and returned it for a 23-yard “Pick Six”. It was also Muma’s first career interception.

The last time Wyoming had intercepted three passes in a single game was Sept. 28, 2019, versus UNLV.

Muma Once Again Among Nation’s Tackle Leaders

A year ago, Wyoming middle linebacker Chad Muma ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in total tackles per game at 11.8, and he ranked No. 5 in the MW and No. 16 in the FBS in solo tackles (5.5/game).

In 2021, Muma is averaging 10.5 total tackles per game to rank No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 14 among all FBS players. He is also averaging 8.0 solo tackles per game to rank No. 1 in the conference and No. 2 among all FBS players.

Xazavian Valladay Records 11th 100-Yard Rushing Game of His Career

For the past two seasons, the most productive and consistent offensive weapon the Wyoming Cowboys have had has been running back Xazavian Valladay. Valladay once again displayed his consistency against Northern Illinois as he recorded the 11th 100-yard rushing game of his career. Valladay rushed for 101 yards vs. NIU. He currently ranks No. 7 in Wyoming history with 2,389 career rushing yards.

Isaiah Neyor Explodes for Three Touchdowns

He had not caught a TD pass in his first eight career games as a Wyoming Cowboy, but wide receiver Isaiah Neyor changed all that in Wyoming’s win over Northern Illinois on Sept. 11. Neyor caught touchdown passes of 33 and 19 yards against the Huskies while catching four total passes for 87 yards on the day. And for good measure, he added his first career rushing TD from five yards out.

Wyoming is 9-4 Against Teams From the Mid-American Conference

Since 1996 when the Wyoming Cowboys first played a Mid-American Conference team in Western Michigan, the Cowboys are 9-4 all-time against current teams from the MAC. UW is 4-3 against MAC foes in Laramie, 4-1 on the road and 1-0 at neutral sites.

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