PROVO — BYU has been contractually committed to playing in the Poinsettia Bowl for quite a while. The Cougars officially qualified to play in San Diego when they became bowl eligible on Nov. 12.
On Sunday, BYU (8-4) found out it will face former Mountain West Conference opponent Wyoming (8-5) on Dec. 21 at Qualcomm Stadium, both schools announced. The game will be played at 7 p.m. MST and televised on ESPN.
"Our guys are excited to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement. "Wyoming is a well-coached team that just played for the Mountain West championship. Coach (Craig) Bohl and the Cowboys have had an impressive season and Brian Hill is a great running back. We look forward to the game."
The Cowboys lost in the MWC championship game Saturday night in Laramie to San Diego State, 27-24.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported Saturday night that the Cowboys indeed will play the Cougars in San Diego.
Wyoming hasn't played in a bowl game in San Diego in 28 years, when they lost 62-14 in the 1988 Holiday Bowl to Oklahoma State.
Apparently, the Poinsettia Bowl would be thrilled to see Wyoming back in San Diego.
“Our board members have told this story many times that back in 1988 so many fans from Wyoming came that the governor decided to go because all his constituents were there,” John Chalker, a member of the board of directors for the Poinsettia and Holiday bowls in San Diego, told Wyosports.net. “We are very aware of Wyoming’s strong reputation for travel — and spending money.”
BYU played in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2012 and beat San Diego State 23-6.
BYU holds an all-time record of 44-30-3 against its old WAC and MW rival, Wyoming. The Cowboys and Cougars last played in 2010, when BYU edged Wyoming 25-20 in Provo in the Cougars' final year in the Mountain West.
The Cowboys finished in a three-way tie with Boise State and New Mexico in the MWs Mountain Division this year, as all three had a 6-2 league mark. But Wyoming owned the tiebreaker to advance to the title game.
In Saturday's Mountain West championship game, the Cowboys built a 10-0 lead against San Diego State before falling behind 24-10 heading into the final quarter. Wyoming couldn't complete the rally to win.
The Cowboys are led by running back Brian Hill, who has rushed for 1,767 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Josh Allen has passed for 2,996 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
On Friday, Wyoming announced it had signed coach Craig Bohl to a new seven-year contract that runs through 2023.
Wyoming is making its first bowl appearance since 2011, when it lost to Temple 35-17 in the New Mexico Bowl. The Cowboys (8-5) last won a bowl game in 2009, when they defeated Fresno State 25-28 in the New Mexico Bowl.
This is Wyoming's first appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl.
BYU (8-4) accepted its invitation to the Poinsettia Bowl following the Cougars' 37-7 victory over Southern Utah on Nov. 12. This will be BYU's 12th straight appearance in a bowl.
This will be the second postseason meeting between BYU and Wyoming. In 1996, the Cougars and Cowboys met in the 1996 WAC Championship game, with BYU winning 28-25 in overtime.