Last year’s surprise team of the West, Arizona State, takes on Wyoming, who Sun Devils coach Gary Lane thinks could be this year’s dark horse, Saturday at 7pm MT in Tempe, Arizona.
“Wyoming, we believe, are going to be the surprise team of our league. Last year they were a big, physical team. They were missing a few bits and pieces, a few components last year, but that was mainly a freshman team,” said Lane.
“But if they have those numbers back again and those players back again, I think Wyoming are going to shock a lot of people. We won 26-0 last year, but we’re preparing for this like it’s Cal.”
For the Cowboys, Saturday will be one of their first hit-outs of the spring.
“We’ve been training hard. We’re looking forward to playing Arizona State,” said Wyoming coach Rich Cortez. “We’re looking forward to getting out of the cold and snow and into some warm weather.”
Arizona State, on the other hand, has played lots of quality matches – against Arizona, Army, BYU, Penn State and Cal. The Sun Devils went 0-5 in those matches, but were competitive in all of them.
“(Arizona coach) Dave Sitton likes to say he plays the toughest schedule, but I think we have played the toughest schedule, and I think it’s been really good for us. You don’t get better unless you play good teams, and that has been our philosophy,” said Lane.
“We’ve learned a lot, we’ve improved significantly, and as long as you’re making improvements game to game, that’s all you can ask. Athletically, we have stepped up. Skill wise we have stepped up. It’s been a great learning experience for our team…We’ve enjoyed it.”
With a win, Arizona State would improve to 1-1 after falling to BYU last week, and Wyoming would start off 1-0.