The Nebraska Cornhuskers announced that their upcoming trip to play the Wyoming Cowboys on Sept. 24, 2011 is going to be televised on the Versus network.
Not only does this give Nebraska fans the opportunity to see the 'Huskers every week on national television, but despite what many in the college football world may think, the scheduling of the Cowboys makes plenty of sense from a historical standpoint.
During a period of growth for college football when teams were beginning to stretch well beyond the closest state borders, Nebraska welcomed Wyoming to Lincoln. The Cowboys were then systematically torn asunder to the tune of 50-0.
That initial shutout wouldn’t be the last time that these two teams would meet and the next encounter would be far more personal.
Nebraska had a very turbulent time in 1961. Head coach Bill Jennings saw his team go 3-6-1 after a 4-6 season the year prior. Suffice it to say that the sentiment was similar to that of recent Cornhuskers head coach Bill Callahan.
While Jennings was shown the door, then-athletic director Tippy Dye’s job was to right the wrongs. Utah State’s head coach wasn’t interested, but Wyoming’s certainly was. Bob Devaney, the architect of modern-era Nebraska football, ushered in immediate success the next year going 9-2. The rest is history.
Devaney would see his former team again in 1968 when the Cornhuskers were ranked No. 14 in the polls.
Wyoming was ready to give Nebraska one big punch on the chin in the season opener that year, but thanks to a clutch 51-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the game, the Cornhuskers would escape with a 13-10 victory.
Nebraska gave birth to a group known as “The Triplets” consisting of quarterback Turner Gill, eventual-Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier and future No. 1 NFL draft pick Irving Fryar in the early 1980s. During the 1983 season, the No. 1 Cornhuskers invited their Cowboy buddies over to play once more. Wyoming’s third trip to Lincoln wouldn't end without a fight, yet again.
The Cowboys outscored Nebraska 17-14 in the second half and had possession of the ball for over 37 minutes. Nebraska's eventual 56-20 win underscored the potency of the Cornhusker offense. Though Gill, Rozier and Fryar wouldn’t see each other as teammates the next year, Wyoming came to Lincoln once more.
Much like in 2009 versus Iowa State, Nebraska kept coughing up the football, losing three fumbles out of four in the first half. The Cornhuskers only carried a 14-7 lead into the half and hopes of finally dashing the hopes of over 76,000 in attendance were high in the Wyoming locker room.
Then reality set in.
The Cornhuskers would dominate the second half, 28-0, sending the Cowboys back to Laramie with a painful 42-7 loss which featured 71 rushes by the home team.
Finally, Wyoming tripped to Lincoln for the fifth time during the 1994 season, and once again they were going to take down Nebraska or fall to the dirt trying.
The scoring was fast and furious, but thanks to a tremendous effort led by quarterback Brook Berringer and running back Lawrence Phillips, the Cornhuskers outlasted Wyoming, 42-32.
Despite being 0-5 against Nebraska, the Cowboys finally have something that they’ve never had against the Cornhuskers in their upcoming battle: Home-field advantage.
Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium sits amongst picturesque countryside and sits next to the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains. What better setting to finally exact revenge on Nebraska for snatching up Devaney and plunking their other five teams by a combined score of 203-69?
Crazier things have happened in this wacky world of college football.
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