Gear Up For Game Day: Texas
AUSTIN, Texas -- As always, I love to utilize this space each week during the season to not only give you the important info -- game time, TV channel, betting lines, etc. -- but also drop a bit of randomness on your plate.
I have a ton of respect for the University of Texas.
For starters, in 2009, just four years removed from one of the great national championship games the sport of college football has ever witnessed, the mighty Longhorns actually kept their word and made the trip to Laramie.
They certainly didn't have to do that.
Until that opening-week upset of Texas Tech just three weeks ago, I had never heard War Memorial Stadium louder than it was that September day when freshman safety Luke Ruff laid out and blocked a UT punt only for fellow rookie Ghaali Muhammad to land on the loose change in the end zone.
That score gave Wyoming a brief 10-6 lead over Colt McCoy and the 'Horns with just 92 ticks remaining before the half.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, on this day -- against that team -- that was way too much time. Texas would score the next 35 points and zip right down the field for a 6-play, 70-yard drive that would culminate with a 25-yard scoring strike from McCoy to James Kirkendoll.
The Longhorns would roll through the regular season undefeated before eventually losing to Nick Saban's Alabama squad in the national title tilt, again inside the famed Rose Bowl.
Another reason I respect this school so much is for a simple gesture it made before the meeting in Austin a year later.
Wyoming and its program suffered an unthinkable tragedy when Ruben Narcisse, 19, a freshman linebacker, was killed in an automobile accident on HWY 287 south of Laramie in northern Colorado.
Fellow Cowboy football players Trey Fox, Christian Morgan and J.J. Quinlan were also injured in the crash but all survived.
During the pregame performance, the Showband of the Southwest, the marching band at the University of Texas, slowly made its way to the strip of brown-and-gold inside a sea of 100,000-plus inside Darrell K Royal Stadium.
A familiar tune rang out -- "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" -- while a photo of Narcisse and Wyoming's famous logo, Steamboat, illuminated on the jumbotron:
That is a moment this young fan will never forget.
Wyoming will say hello to a couple of "old friends" this Saturday in Austin.
Isaiah Neyor, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound wide receiver, began his career in Laramie back in 2020. The now senior (by classification only) hauled in 52 passes for 1,126 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns (he also scored one time on the ground) during his two-year stint on the high plains.
His best season at UW would ultimately be his last.
The Fort Worth native caught a team-best 44 throws for 878 yards and all dozen of those scores while helping lead the Cowboys to a win in the 2021 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The following day, he entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.
Neyor's first season in Austin ended before it began when he suffered a torn ACL. He has just one catch for 14 yards through two games this fall.
"It sucked for us to see him tear his ACL last year," former UW teammate and fellow receiver Alex Brown said in August. "I think last year was really going to be a breakout year for him at Texas. So, it'll be exciting to see him again. I don't think there was any bad blood between Wyoming and him leaving, in my opinion. I think all that love is still there."
Wyoming safety Isaac White will likely come face-to-face on the field with Neyor Saturday night. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to face him, but added, practicing against Neyor has prepared him for matchups like this one.
"I helped a lot," White said. "He's a big receiver. Texas Tech has some big receivers, too. So, just knowing how to play against those big guys and be physical with them, it helped a lot with planning and practicing with him."
Standing across the sideline Saturday is a man whose name still brings back those bitter old feelings in me.
That's former BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian.
"Sark" completed 26-of-37 throws for 250 yards and a touchdown in a 28-25 overtime victory over the Cowboys in the 1996 WAC Championship game in Las Vegas. His 13-yard scoring toss to tight end Chad Lewis gave the Cougars a brief 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
My fondest memory of that outing was watching from the upper deck of Sam Boyd Stadium as Sarkisian was hammered to the turf by Jim Talich, fumbling the ball right into the awaiting arms of linebacker Jay Jenkins, who raced 25 yards to the end zone to put the Pokes on the board in the third quarter.
Joe DeCamillis, along with his former wrestling teammates from the mid-1980's, were inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this month.
He wasn't there.
Instead, he was preparing for the upcoming football season. DeCamillis is a special teams analyst for the Longhorns. The former All-American has spent a long career in football, beginning his journey with the Denver Broncos in 1991 as an assistant special teams coach. He's even won a couple of championships in the process, including Super Bowl 50 with Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
He was also the special teams coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, who hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in January of 2021.
You might recall in May of 2009 when the Dallas "bubble" practice facility collapsed during a wind storm. Then a coach on the Cowboys' staff, DeCamillis and 11 other players and coaches were injured. He suffered a fractured cervical vertebrae.
Nine days later, sporting a neck brace, DeCamillis was back at practice with his team. Tough dude.
DeCamillis is married to Dana, daughter of former Broncos head coach Dan Reeves.
Here is all you need to know -- and the links -- for Saturday's tilt in ATX:
WHO: Wyoming (2-0) at No. 4 Texas (2-0)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 16 at 6:00 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 87, low 70, scattered thunderstorms, 59% chance of rain
WHERE: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (100,119 capacity)
TRAVEL: Drive Texas
STREAMING: Longhorn Network
TV: Longhorn Network
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
TICKETS: Wyoming Ticket office
BOX SCORE: ESPN
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Texas
HISTORY: Texas leads the all-time series 5-0
ODDS: Texas (-30)
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Steve Sarkisian
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS VIA 7220SPORTS:
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players