• Kick set for 2:30 on Dec. 30 on The CW
For the third consecutive season the Wyoming Cowboys will be playing in a bowl game, which is the first time that has happened in Wyoming school history. The Cowboys have accepted an invitation to the 2023 Bartstool Sports Arizona Bowl, marking the second consecutive year the Pokes will play in Tucson and the third time in the past five seasons. Wyoming will face the University of Toledo Rockets in this year’s Arizona Bowl.
The 2023 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 2:30 p.m., Mountain Time in Tucson, Ariz. Wyoming will bring an 8-4 overall record and a 5-3 Mountain West Conference record into the game. Toledo finished its season with an 11-2 overall mark and an 8-0 record in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Wyoming’s Athletics Ticket Office has sold out of its allotment of tickets for the Arizona Bowl. Wyoming fans may still purchase tickets to the game through Seat Geek at the link here.
Where to Watch and Listen
The 2023 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl will be telecast live nationally on the CW and on Barstool TV.
The game will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, with Keith Kelley (play-by-play), Kevin McKinney (color analyst) and Randy Welniak (sideline analyst) describing the action.
All-MW Cowboys: The Mountain West Conference announced its 2023 All-Mountain West football teams on Nov. 28 and eight Wyoming Cowboys were honored. The team was selected in voting by the 12 Mountain West head coaches and media members covering the league.
For the fifth consecutive season, Wyoming has a linebacker on the All-Mountain West First Team. For the second straight season Wyoming middle linebacker Easton Gibbs was named to the First Team. Gibbs was joined on the First Team by Cowboy offensive tackle Frank Crum, who earned First Team honors for the first time in his career. Wyoming defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole was voted to the Second Team. It was also Bertagnole’s first All-Conference honor.
Five Cowboys achieved Honorable Mention honors. Those five are: safety Wyett Ekeler, quarterback Andrew Peasley, running back Harrison Waylee, tight end Treyton Welch and wide receiver Wyatt Wieland. It marked the second consecutive season that Peasley and Welch earned Honorable Mention honors. Ekeler, Waylee and Wieland all received Honorable Mention recognition for the first time.
Cowboy Bowl History: The Cowboys are 9-9 all-time in Bowl games dating back to their first contest against Washington & Lee in the 1951 Gator Bowl. Wyoming has won three of their last four bowl games dating back to 2017 and are 3-2 in Bowl Games under head coach Craig Bohl. It marks the fourth time in the last five trips to a Bowl that Wyoming has played against a team from the MAC. Wyoming owns wins over Central Michigan (37-14 in 2017) and Kent State (52-38 in 2021) and fell last season against Ohio in overtime by a score of 30-27.
Against the MAC: The Cowboys are 11-6 all-time 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 11-5 all-time against current teams from the MAC. UW is 5-3 against MAC foes in Laramie, 4-2 on the road and 2-1 at neutral sites. Wyoming fell in overtime last season against Ohio in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl 30-27. Wyoming will meet Toledo for the third time, which is tied for the most games against a MAC team with Ohio and Central Michigan.
Forcing Turnovers: The Cowboys head into the bowl game ranked seventh in the nation and second in the mountain West in turnover margin at 0.83. The group also rank No 20 in the nation in turnovers gained with 21, as Wyoming ranks sixth in the nation in fumbles recovered with 11 on the season. Wyoming has 10 interceptions on the season.
Against The Run: The Cowboys have been solid against the run all season allowing 144.6 per game. The Pokes have allowed opponents to rush for under 100 yards in six games this season including three of the last four games. Nevada recorded only 18 rushing yards in the last contest. In the month of November, Wyoming allowed only 76 yards rushing per game.
November Opponent Rushing
Nevada- 18 | Hawai’i – 67 | UNLV – 165 | Colorado State – 54
Offense Over Last Two Games: The Cowboy offense has been solid to close out the regular season. The group has averaged 440.5 yards of total offense in those two games with 198.5 yards rushing and 242.0 yards passing. The group has also averaged 22 first downs per game and have scored 42 points per game. Wyoming has scored six rushing scores and had five passing scores in the last two contests.
Ekeler Named MW Defensive Player of the Week: Wyoming safety Wyett Ekeler racked up another Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honor after Wyoming’s win over Nevada in the regular season finale on Saturday. He was also named MW Defensive Player of the Week following Wyoming’s win over New Mexico. Ekeler, a native of Windsor, Colo. finished the contest with five tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He also added an interception and returned it 38-yards or a score breaking five tackles in the process for the first interception for a score since Cam Stone did so against New Mexico in 2022.
Head Coach Craig Bohl to Coach Last Game: University of Wyoming head football coach Craig Bohl announced on Dec. 6 that he is retiring as head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys. Bohl’s retirement will end his 10-year tenure leading the Cowboys, which is the longest of any head football coach in school history. He will coach the Cowboys through this year’s Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30 in Tucson, Ariz. Bohl steps away from Wyoming Football after one of the most sustained periods of success in program history, including: more bowl victories (3) and more bowl appearances (6) than any coach in school history; six winning seasons — second most of any Wyoming coach; and more NFL players developed than at any time in program history.
Jay Sawvel to Take Over for Craig Bohl: Jay Sawvel was introduced by University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman as the new head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys during a team meeting on Dec. 6. He will replace head coach Craig Bohl following Wyoming’s bowl game against Toledo in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30. Bohl announced he will retire after the Toledo game to the team on Wednesday. Bohl leaves the program after 10 seasons that saw him engineer one of the most successful runs in program history. Sawvel is the 33rd coach in Wyoming history and has served as the team’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach since February of 2020. Over his career, he has been part of 21 teams who advanced to postseason play, including 14 bowl appearances and seven NCAA Playoff appearances. Sawvel has learned from some of the top minds in college football history. Some of the names include Craig Bohl, Lou Holtz, Roy Kidd and Jerry Kill. Of the seven head coaches that Sawvel has worked for, the group owns over 1,200 wins.
Getting After the Quarterback: The Cowboys recorded a season-high six sacks in the last contest against Nevada. It was the most sacks in a game for the Cowboys since recording six against Utah State on Oct. 22, 2022. Sabastian Harsh led the Pokes with two sacks in the game, as five Cowboys had at least a half sack in the contest.
Wyoming-Toledo Previous Meetings Marked by Two Close Games Both Won by the Road Team: This year’s Wyoming-Toledo match-up in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl will be only the third time the two teams have met in history. Both of the previous meetings were decided by one possession. Here is a breakdown of the previous meetings between the Cowboys and Rockets.
- The road team won each of the previous two meetings.
- Wyoming won the first meeting on Oct. 2, 2010, in Toledo by a margin of five points (20-15).
- Toledo won the second meeting on Sept. 8, 2012, in Laramie by a margin of three points (34-31).
Other Wyoming-Toledo Comparisons: In addition to both the Cowboys and Rockets featuring dual-threat quarterbacks, the two teams share other similarities.
- Running Backs: The two teams’ leading running backs both rank among the Top 25 rushers in the nation this year. Wyoming’s Harrison Waylee has averaged 95.1 rushing yards per game this season to rank No. 23 in the nation. Toledo’s Peny Boone has averaged 107.7 yards per game, and ranks No. 11 in the country.
- Linebackers: Both teams two leading tacklers are their linebackers. For Wyoming Easton Gibbs is the Cowboys’ leading tackler with 106 tackles in 12 games this season and his 8.8 average per game ranks No. 32 in the nation. Cowboy linebacker Shae Suiaunoa has been credited with 88 total tackles this season to rank second for Wyoming. Toledo’s leading tackler is linebacker Dallas Gant, who has recorded 110 tackles in 13 games and his 8.5 average ranks No. 42 in the FBS. Fellow Rocket linebacker Daniel Bolden ranks second on the team with 85 total tackles.
Wyoming Defense Among the Best in the Mountain West in 2023: The 2023 season was an outstanding one for the Wyoming Cowboys and a big part of that was the Wyoming defense. The Cowboy defense held opponents to 22.9 points per game to rank No. 2 in the Mountain West. In terms of total defense, Wyoming’s defensive unit allowed opponents 360.2 yards of total offense per game to rank No. 3 in the Mountain West Conference. UW also ranked No. 3 in the MW in rushing defense, allowing only 144.6 rushing yards per game, and ranked No. 4 in pass defense, giving up only 215.7 passing yards per game. In terms of pass efficiency defense, the Pokes ranked No. 2 in the conference with a rating of 124.26.
Wyoming Incoming Head Coach Jay Sawvel and Toledo Head Coach Jason Candle Trace Their Football Roots Back to Their Alma Mater Mount Union: Following this year’s Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, Wyoming’s current defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel will take over as head coach of the Cowboys for retired head coach Craig Bohl. Sawvel is the latest in a long line of former players from the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, to go on to successful coaching careers. Sawvel shares that with Toledo head coach Jason Candle. Sawvel is a 1993 graduate of Mount Union. Candle graduated from Mount Union in 2003. Other notable Mount Union alumni who’ve gone on to great success as coaches include: current Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, former NFL head coach Dom Capers and current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni.
2023 Extends Series of Winning Seasons: The 2023 season marks the sixth time in the last eight seasons that Wyoming has posted a winning record. The last time that Cowboy Football had six winning seasons in an eight-year period was from 1993-2000.
Below is a breakdown of Wyoming’s six winning seasons over the past eight years.
Season Record Postseason Results
2023 8-4 (1 game to play) Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30
2022 7-6 Arizona Bowl Participant
2021 7-6 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Champions
2019 8-5 Arizona Bowl Champions
2017 8-5 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Champions
2016 8-5 MW Championship Game Participant & Poinsettia Bowl Participant