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Wyoming football welcomes visit from nearby Northern Colorado this weekend

Sept 3, 2022; Laramie, WY, USA; Wyoming Cowboys running back D.Q. James (7) against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at War Memorial Stadium. (Troy Babbitt-UW Media-Athletics)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — One week after pulling off a thrilling double-overtime win over Tulsa in its home opener, Wyoming football will face off this week against an opponent that won’t be driving very far to get to Laramie.

Northern Colorado, based in Greeley and about 100 miles from the UW campus, will play the Cowboys for the first time in nearly a decade at 2 p.m. Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. Wyoming and Northern Colorado’s football teams have played 26 times in their history, the last of which came in 2013, when the Cowboys rolled to a 35–7 victory in Laramie.

The Bears, who play in the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision, started their season with a 46–34 defeat to Houston Baptist this past weekend in Greeley. Coached by former Denver Broncos great Ed McCaffrey, Northern Colorado is coming off of a 3–8 campaign that was McCaffrey’s first as head coach after the Bears didn’t play in 2020 due to COVID-19.

As for Wyoming, the Pokes roared back from a disappointing 38–6 season-opening defeat at Illinois to squeeze past Tulsa in a 40–37 classic, improving its record to 1–1 overall for the season. UW quarterback Andrew Peasley earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week honors for his 256-yard, two-touchdown passing performance, while kicker John Hoyland nabbed the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week award following a 4-for-5 kicking performance on field goals that included a long of 55 yards and two made kicks in overtime.

Northern Colorado split quarterback duties between Dylan McCaffrey (the coach’s son) and Jacob Sirmon in the defeat to Houston Baptist, with the duo combining for 425 yards and four touchdowns passing in the shootout loss. However, the Bears defense struggled mightily to contain the Huskies’ offense, allowing HBU quarterback Justin Fomby to throw for four scores while also letting running back Ismail Mahdi scamper for 187 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

UW has not lost to an FCS opponent since North Dakota defeated the Cowboys to open up the 2015 season. The last opponent that the Pokes faced from the division was Montana State on Sept. 4, 2021, in Laramie, when Wyoming escaped over the eventual FCS runner-up with a 19–16 win.

For those who can’t make it to War Memorial Stadium, the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Digital Network.