A key stretch of games within the Mountain Division of the Mountain West starts Saturday for the Wyoming Cowboys at Utah State.

Last year in their run to the Mountain West Championship game, the Cowboys went 4-1 in division games, which aided them in a conference tie-breaker to represent the Mountain Division in the title game, which UW hosted in Laramie.

After a victory over Hawaii to open MW play three weeks ago, the Pokes have their next five games over the next five Saturday’s versus teams in the division. First up is the Aggies.

Wyoming (3-2, 1-0) ventures to a place that hasn’t been too kind recently. The Cowboys have lost their last three trips to Logan, UT by an average of 34.3 points. Last year’s 52-28 victory at home over Utah State snapped a four-game skid in the series for the Pokes. Their last road victory in the series was back in 2003, 48-21.

Utah State (3-3, 1-1) is coming off a home loss to Colorado State last week, 27-14. The Aggies have wins over Idaho State, BYU and San Jose State, while they’ve dropped games to Wisconsin and Wake Forest.

Despite their most recent setback, UW head coach Craig Bohl still has high praise for Utah State.

“I think they’re a really talented football team. They had a couple of impressive wins, one over San Jose, and then a big one over BYU. Really impressed on how they battled back, Colorado State ran up a pretty strong point totals, but credit Utah State with a resolve, they fought back into the game and came up a little bit short.”

Senior QB Kent Myers guides the Aggies offense that averages 376 yards and 31 points per game. Their defense is led by senior corner Jalen Davis, who has five interceptions to lead the MW and also has two sacks, tied for the team lead. They allow 406 yards and nearly 30 points per game.

Wyoming’s defense has shown its improvement this season. The Cowboys are No. 2 in the MW and No. 36 in the NCAA in scoring defense allowing only 20.8 points per game. UW is also second in the conference and 12th nationally in pass defense at 161 yards per game. In total defense, the Pokes allow 345.6 yards per game, which is No. 4 in the league and No. 33 in the country.

Both teams’ defenses rank No. 1 and No. 2 in turnovers forced this season. Utah State has 16 takeaways, while the Cowboys have 12.

Offensively, Wyoming looks to continue their recent ascension. They’ve scored only 23.2 points per game and gained only 282.2 yards per game through the first five. So far, UW has not rushed for and passed for 100 yards or more in the same game this season.

Senior guard Ryan Cummings returns to the line-up Saturday after missing the Texas State game in concussion protocol. Cummings talked with KOWB’s David Settle about the bye week, Utah State’s defense, going back on the road and more.

This will be the 68th meeting in the series that dates back to 1903. It’s “Bridger’s Battle,” a new name for the series chosen due to the legendary Jim Bridger’s ties to the Wyoming-Utah region. The traveling trophy, the “Bridger Rifle,” is widely considered to be the rifle Bridger himself used. Wyoming won it for the first time last year, after Utah State got the first three years.

Kick-off for the Cowboys and Aggies is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The game is being televised on Facebook only. Radio coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. on KOWB (AM 1290). You can also listen on KOWB’s live stream or through the new KOWB app.

In other MW action Saturday, it’s all conference games. UNLV is at Air Force, New Mexico visits Fresno State, CSU hosts Nevada, Boise State is at No. 18 San Diego State and San Jose State heads to Hawaii.

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