Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs Wyoming Cowboys, Sat, 9/3/2022, 1:30pm

Score: Wyoming 40 – Tulsa 37; Attendance: 20,574

Weather: Sunny, 84; Ticket: $42 Seatgeek, Face $50; Parking: $15

Review: “Not what we expected” by Tree

The Location:

The University of Wyoming is in Laramie, which is about 2 hours north of Denver. Cheyenne is also close but there are more flight options in the Mile High City. It is surrounded by several mountains and national forests so if you are the outdoorsy type, there is a lot to do before and after the game. The town itself is small, so plan early for lodging. We opted for a nice, small Airbnb. There is a surprisingly good mix of restaurants along with the standard chains you find in any college town. In short, we stayed for three days and found enough to do – just barely. Admittedly, the trifecta of the Lincoln Monument (no, not that monument), stone pyramid tribute to the transcontinental railroad, and the tree growing out of the rock are third tier tourist attractions. There is still plenty enough to do for a weekend stay. The campus is small by Division 1 standards, but it is worth the short stroll.

The Site:

The Cowboys play at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Given you can walk the town in fifteen minutes, the stadium is easy enough to get to. We had heard the tailgating was light, so we made no attempt to set up our gear. We arrived about a half hour before kickoff and were able to park in a cash lot right across the street for $15. The school website promotes tailgating in the lots, we just didn’t see any. I can confirm that they had a “Tailgate Park”, but it was clearly closed for business. They also have the Pepsi Pre-Game Zone at the Indoor Practice Arena for food, drinks, live and music. All heavily commercialized, I am sure. In summary, you can tailgate but I would suggest keeping your expectations low.

The University of Wyoming is also the only game in town, err state, so attendance is usually pretty good at least before the weather turns. While there was some cowboy fashion at the game, fans were mostly in t-shirts and jeans. Surprisingly, I found the Wyoming brown and yellow color scheme appealing, like a warm flannel blanket. As for other traditions, the team enters led by a cowboy on horseback followed by cheerleaders carrying flags. There is also horse (pony?) that is run out in the end zone each time the team scores. It mirrors the SMU pony experience with Purna, without the rhinestones and glitter. They also shoot off a cannon when they score. There is a strong “ C-O-W-B-O-Y-S” cheer that follows the cannon. The marching band was outstanding, and I particularly enjoyed their selections of songs from the birth year of the incoming freshman. The rousing versions of “Stacey’s Mom” and “Mr. Brightside” were very entertaining.

The Game:

If the band was entertaining, the game was over the top. This was Tulsa’s first game and Wyoming was coming of a 32-point drubbing at the hands of Illinois. I was not sure how this game was going to play out. Tulsa fumbled on the second play of the game and Wyoming jumped out by 7 with a scoop and score. Little did we know that dramatic plays and momentum swings would rule the day. Field goals and touchdowns were traded in the first half. Wyoming scored primarily by running and Tulsa by the air. Tulsa managed to go ahead with a field goal, which left the Cowboys just under three minutes till halftime. It took Wyoming less then two minutes to score on a 48-yard pass. The Hurricanes weren’t done though, scoring a touchdown with less than eight seconds less and putting themselves up 20 -17.

At the start of the second half, the Cowboys went three and out. Tulsa struggled as well but their fourth down punt was blocked for a touchdown by Wyoming. Tulsa immediately answered with a touchdown. The defenses then settled down trading some very long punts into the fourth quarter until Tulsa tacked on a touchdown to go up by ten. Wyoming answered with a 55-yard field goal to cut the lead to seven. Tulsa then missed a 49-yard field goal. The Cowboys scored on their next drive, ending with a 50-yard bomb. The game was all tied up and the real drama started. Wyoming drove all the way to the Tulsa 5-yard line only to fumble with 1:45 left in the game. Tulsa then marched to mid-field where they then fumbled. Wyoming capitalized and drove to the Tulsa 27, setting themselves for a winning field goal with two seconds left. Alas, the kick is missed, the crowd groaned, and we were off to OT. In the first overtime, the teams traded field goals. In the second, Wyoming managed to get to the 11-yard line, but the offense stalled. The kick, however, was good. Tulsa struggled on their ensuing drive, including giving up a sack. The tying 43-yard field goal was missed, and War Memorial Stadium erupted in joy.

Personal Notes:

We had low expectations for Wyoming. The University of Colorado game the night before was awful, so our spirits were low. When we arrived at War Memorial stadium, there was no tailgating to be seen. As we entered the stadium, things began to improve. First, we got a free bobble head. Granted, I had never heard of the two announcers, but free stuff is free stuff. (Note: apologies to Wyoming broadcasting legends Kevin McKinney and Dave Walsh) The classic design souvenir cup exceeded expectation. Our seats were great and the fans sitting next to us could not have been nicer. The crowd was pumped, and the game was fantastic. The whole thing really came together. The great weather helped but the atmosphere was even better. Wyoming has only ~600,000 people so it probably means that during games that Laramie is the most populated city in the state. I don’t know if that created the electric environment, but it could not hurt. Wyoming may not be a must-see stadium, but I would not avoid it either. It is an easy drive from Denver, the stadium is nice, the fans are great, and you can grab some fresh mountain air.

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