Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2001

Cowboys try to regroup

Last year’s 1-10 season school worst

August 11, 2001

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Wyoming University football hit rock bottom during its dismal 1-10 season last fall.

The 10 losses represented the most in school history. Wyoming also went without a league victory for the first time since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1962.

Wyoming finished last in the Mountain West Conference in scoring defense (35.7 points), rushing defense (183.2), total defense (400.7) and third down conversions (29.0). In its season home finale, the Cowboys drew only 10,195 fans.

Wyoming was riddled by injuries in 2000, and the season quickly went up in flames. The Cowboys actually played reasonably well in a 51-34 loss to Air Force, 42-23 defeat to UNLV and 19-7 loss to Brigham Young.

Before the injuries set in, the Cowboys opened by pushing Auburn before losing 35-21. Wyoming's lone victory was a 31-10 decision over Central Michigan.

All in all, it was not a memorable year for Vic Koenning, a former Kansas State linebacker who took over the UW program last fall.

Wyoming will have an experienced offense with eight starters returning. The running game in particular should be improved.

The woeful defense lost its best player linebacker Patrick Chukwurah, who had a league-high 19 tackles per game to graduation, but senior Al Rich returns in the secondary with five other starters.

Soph Ryan McGuffey was the lone bright spot on offense last season, leading the Mountain West Conference with 5.73 receptions per game as a freshman. McGuffey has been elected a team captain.

The good news for Wyoming is many young players received substantial playing time because of numerous injuries. The bad news is the Cowboys lost so many top players.

Wyoming was seldom competitive in 2000, and the consensus is Koenning will head into his second season facing a monumental rebuilding task.

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