November 23, 2012
Wyoming vs San Diego State Preview
SDSU AZTECS (8-3) at WYOMING COWBOYS (4-7)
War Memorial Stadium - Laramie, Wyoming
Saturday, November 24th. 1:30 PM MST
Television: Root Sports
Radio: Cowboy Sports Network (Walsh, McKinney)
Wyoming will host San Diego State in an intriquing showdown, where a win by the visiting Aztecs will guarantee at least a tie for the MW Championship while the Pokes are looking for their fourth win in a row and want to finish the season on a high note heading into the offseason.
Head coach Rocky Long's San Diego State will have the major motivation playing for a championship, while the Pokes want to send 14 seniors out with a victory with them playing their last game in a Cowboy uniform and at War Memorial Stadium.
WYOMING KEYS: The Cowboys have found late season momentum and UW head coach Dave Christensen wants continue success in the air, and balance it with effective rushing of the football.
Containing the SDSU rushing attack and finding timely turnovers in key situations.
SAN DIEGO STATE KEYS: The Aztec good pass pressure defense will focus on hot Cowboy quarterback Brett Smith who has hit his stride after dealing with early season head injuries.
Containing Smith while establishing a run in the unruly Wyoming late November climate.
San Diego State's offensive strength is running the football averaging 214 yards per game and they will look to continue relying on their strength.
COWBOY NOTES: Wyoming is led by seniors Mike Purcell at defensive tackle and Ghaali Muhammad and Korey Jones at linebacker.
Purcell has led all Mountain West defensive linemen in tackles throughout the 2012 season, and he ranks 13th in the Mountain West in tackles for all players at all positions, averaging 7.1 tackles per game.
Muhammad leads the Cowboys in tackles this season, with 98 total tackles. Jones is close behind with 93.
Muhammad also ranks among the nation's leaders in fumble recoveries. He has recovered three fumbles in 11 games this season to tie for the league lead and rank 8th in the country.
AZTEC NOTES: Running back Adam Muema for San Diego State is one to watch on offense. Muema has rushed for exactly 1,100 yards through 11 games. His 100-yard average ranks him 5th in the league and 31st in the country.
San Diego State's catalyst on defense is senior cornerback Leon McFadden, who was selected by conference media members as the 2012 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West.
McFadden has three interceptions this season to rank third in the conference and 59th in the NCAA. He also ranks third in the MW and 28th in the nation in passes defended, averaging 1.18 per game.
The Aztecs' leading tackler is junior defensive back Nat Berhe, who is averaging 7.6 tackles per game to rank 8th in the conference.
San Diego State has two of the league's leaders in sacking the quarterback. Sophomore linebacker Jake Fely is third in the Mountain West and 46th in the nation, with 7.0 sacks this season.
Fely and junior linebacker Nick Tenhaeff are tied for second in the league in tackles for loss, with 11.0 TFLs each.
HONORING 14 SENIORS: Wyoming will honor fourteen seniors who will be playing their final game as Cowboys.
The 2012 seniors are: #3 Luke Anderson, a safety from Southlake, Texas; #60 Nick Carlson, a center from Arlington Heights, Ill.; #9 Patrick Hartford, a linebacker from Rock Springs, Wyo.; #5 Korey Jones, a linebacker from Fort Collins, Colo.: #76 Josh Leonard, an offensive tackle from Helena, Mont.; #65 Kyle Magnuson, an offensive tackle from Elkhart, Ind.; #80 Chris McNeill, a wide receiver from Simi Valley, Calif.; #54 Miraldo Michel, a defensive end from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; #23 Ghaali Muhammad, a linebacker from St. Joseph, Mo.; #50 Mike Purcell, a defensive tackle from Highlands Ranch, Colo.; #29 Luke Ruff, a safety from Castle Rock, Colo.; #35 Oliver Schober, a linebacker from Munich, Germany; #58 B.J. Sumter, a defensive tackle from Columbia, S.C.; and #98 Kurt Taufa'asau, a defensive tackle from Pago Pago, American Samoa.
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