BYU, Wyoming renew old rivalry in Poinsettia Bowl
SAN DIEGO (AP) The BYU Cougars and Wyoming Cowboys had to come to San Diego to renew a rivalry that dates to 1922.
The Cougars (8-4) play Wyoming (8-5) in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday night. It's the first meeting between the schools since 2010, before BYU left the Mountain West Conference to go independent.
None of the players were around when the rivalry ended.
Some of the coaches played in it, like BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, who was a running back for the Cougars in the 1990s, and offensive coordinator Ty Detmer, the 1990 Heisman Trophy winner while at BYU.
Sitake said he's had to tell his players about the rivalry.
''I think it's more for guys like myself that played in that game and Ty Detmer and a number of our coaches played against Wyoming, but this generation is different. You kind of have to teach them all and we're dating ourselves when we talk about back when I played against Wyoming,'' Sitake said. ''But it's also a cool experience to share and talk about players and places that have passionate fans.''
Cowboys coach Craig Bohl came to Wyoming after the rivalry ended.
''I do know this, a bunch of old guys who played college football come up to me in the hotel, and it's a big deal to them,'' Bohl said.
Here are some things to look for when the Cougars play the Cowboys:
THE RIVALRY: These teams started playing each other in 1922 and were in a number of leagues together, most recently the Western Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference. The Cougars lead the series 44-30-3.
COUGAR QB: Tanner Mangum will start for BYU after Taysom Hill strained his left elbow Nov. 26 in the season finale against Utah State. Mangum played in four games this year, completing 14 of 18 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Sitake said Mangum has worn a headset on the sideline and listening to Detmer ''has been great for him maturing as a quarterback. I think now that he's had the opportunity to lead this team and this game with the unfortunate injury to Taysom, we will see what happens. I think he has a lot of skill and a little different than what Taysom does, but hopefully with what we have practiced and things we have implemented, it's not like it's a huge departure from what we do offensively.''
SAN DIEGO BOWLING: The Cougars also played in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl, beating another former long-time rival, San Diego State, 23-6. The Cougars have played in San Diego's other bowl, the Holiday, 11 times.
WYOMING POSTSEASON: This is Wyoming's first bowl appearance since 2011, and the Cowboys have a 6-7 record in the postseason.
POKES' QB: Josh Allen was sacked four times and threw two interceptions in a loss to San Diego State in the MWC championship game. Bohl said Wyoming will have to do a better job against BYU, which has a stout defensive front.
The Cowboys will have to do a better job of springing running back Brian Hill. He is the Cowboys' career rushing leader, and he broke his single-season school record with 1,767 yards and 21 touchdowns.
''If you're able to run the football that opens up so many things and takes pressure off our quarterback. That's going to be important,'' Bohl said.
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