Gone Bowling: A Cowboys Bowl Game Refresher

Tracy Ringolsby

The Cowboys are appearing in  bowl game for the 16th time in school history.

-- Head coach Craig Bohl is taking the Cowboys to their third bowl appearance in four years. The only other Cowboys coach who coached three bowl teams was Paul Roach.

--The Cowboys are 7-8 in their 15 previous bowl games. Seven different head coaches have been in charge for the seven wins.

-- Roach took the Cowboys to three bowl games, each of which Wyoming lost -- 20-19 to Iowa in the 1987 Holiday Bowl, 62-14 to Oklahoma State in the 1988 Holiday Bowl, and 17-15 to California in the 1990 Copper Bowl.

--This is the first time the Cowboys have played in the Arizona Bowl, but it is the third time they have played a bowl game in Tucson. They lost to Cal, 17-15, in the 1990 Copper Bowl, and lost to Kansas State 52-17 in the 1993 Copper Bowl.

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And with an assist from the Wyoming Athletic Department, Did you know:

Fan Fare: The Cowboys home attendance of 138,042 was the second largest turnout in a six-game schedule in school history. The Cowboys drew more than 23,000 for all six home games for the third time in school history. And the support continues in Arizona. The Cowboys sold out their 5,000 ticket allotment in five days.

"We have always been noted for our fans traveling," said head coach Craig Bohl. "I have always been heart warmed by the number of fans who come out and support the University of Wyoming."

On the Defensive: The Cowboys allowed 17.8 points per game, the 11th lowest total nationally, and second lowest in the Mountain West. They held both New Mexico and Nevada to three points. 

They also ranked sixth national in allowing 99.4 yards rushing per game, holding the opposition to fewer than 200 yards in seven of 12 games, inlcuding a season-low 48 yards to Colorado State. 

They sacked the opposing quarterbak 31 times, second most in the Mountain West and 35th nationally. Fourteen players were credited with a sack, and 17 players were credited with a tackle for loss.

Preserverence: Redshirt quarterback Levi Williams will become the 45th Cowboys player to start in a game this season, the fifth most in Division I football this season. 

Run Baby Run: The Cowboys offense ranked second in the Mountain West and 28th nationally in rushing offense with an average 208.5 yards per game. Four different Cowboys had a 100-yard rushing games this year, led by sophomore Xazavian Valladay, who surpassed the century mark in five of his last six games en route to an average 96.5 yards per game.

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With a Purpose: Valladay had 280 all-purpose yards in the Cowboys 31-3 win against Nevada, the highest all-purpose total in the Mountain West this season, and most by a Cowboy since Brian Hill had 302 all-purpose yards against Nevada in 2016.

Valladay had a career-high 206 yards rushing in the Nevada game, and caught two passes for 74 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown pass on the first offensive play of the game. 

The All-American Cowboy: Senior linebacker Logan Wilson, a Natrona County High School alum, was selected a 1st team All-American by Pro Football Focus, 2nd team by USA Today and 3rd team by the Associated Press. 

Wilson ranks fourth all-time on the Cowboys tackle list with 414. He trails linebacker Garland Thaxton (1984-87), 467; safety Andrew Wingard (2015-18), 454, and  linebacker Jim Talich (1994-97) 440.

He also is fourth all-time in the Mountain West Conference with 414, trailing former teammate Wingard and Carmen Messina of New Mexico (2008-11), who had 454 each, and Adam Seward of UNLV (2001-04), who had 433.

Wilson goes into the Arizona Bowl with 98 tackles this season, two shy of becoming the fourth player in Cowboy history to have three 100-tackle seasons. The three who have hit the century mark:

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Senior Moments: The Cowboys had 15 seniors appear in a game in 2019, six of whom played in every game during their career. Josh Harshman appeared in 53 games, including two in 2018 before he was injured and given a medical redshirt year, and will add No. 54 in the Arizona Bowl.

Austin Conway, Alijah Haliburton, Cooper Rothe, Nix Szpor and Logan Wilson will be appearing in their 52nd game in the Arizona Bowl.

Placekicker Cooper Roth and Wilson both started a team-high 51 games.

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                                                               Know the Foe

-- Offensive Flare: Georgia State ranked 14th nationally with an average 245.2 yards per game. They averaged 201.8 yards per game passing, giving them 446.9 yards per game total offense, which ranked 27th nationally.

-- Defensive Deficiency: Defensively, however, the Panthers gave up 211.6 yards per game rushing 116th in the NCAA, 238.3 yards passing to rank 88th, and 449.8 yards total offense, which ranked 110th.

--On the Offensive: Quarterback Dan Ellington threw for 2,291 yards and rush for 598 yards. He threw 21 touch passes and rushed for five touchdowns. He completed 65 percent of his passes, and threw only seven interceptions.

-- On the Run: Tra Barnett led the Panthers with 1,389 yards rush and 12 touchdowns.

-- Opening Salvo: Like Wyoming with a a 37-31 against Missouri in its season-opener, Georgia State knocked off a Power Five school in it's season opener, claiming a 38-30 win at Tennessee.

-- Something in Common: Wyoming and Georgia State had one common opponent during the regular season, both playing at Texas State. Wyoming beat Texas State, 23-14. Georgie State lost to Texas State, 37-34 in overtime.

-- Gone Bowling: Georgia State is making its third bowl appearance in seven years since becoming a member of the Football Bowl Division, only its ninth year after putting a football team on the field for the first time. The two previous games were in the Cure Bowl, losing to San Jose State, 27-16, in 2013, and beating Western Kentucky 27-17 in 2017.

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