LARAMIE -- Two games, two last-minute comeback wins.

That's the Cowboys' story so far in 2021.

For Ball State, its season started with a 10-point home victory over FCS Western Illinois. Last Saturday, the Cardinals' eight-game winning streak came to a crashing halt with a 44-13 blowout loss to Penn State in front of 105,000-plus in Happy Valley.

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Things have arguably never been better on the football field in Muncie, Indiana.

Drew Plitt and the Cards rolled off seven straight wins after an opening-day loss to Miami (Ohio). That streak included a 38-28 victory over Buffalo in the MAC title game and the program's first postseason triumph, a 34-13 win over San Jose State in the Arizona Bowl.

They also finished in the Top 25 for the first time ever.

Who has it better than Ball State?

"All season we kept saying, 'The job's not finished.' Well, the job is now finished," BSU head coach Mike Neu said after the win over the Spartans last December. "We are so excited to bring a bowl win back to Muncie, Indiana."

These two programs have never met before, but the Cowboys are all-too-familiar with the Cardinals' conference.

Last Saturday in DeKalb, Illinois, it took a 10-play, 75-yard drive with less than five minutes on the clock for Wyoming to avoid disaster.


The Cowboys led 42-16 late in the third. Four straight Huskies' touchdowns later, the home team led 43-42 with 4:56 remaining.

That kind of disaster.

Wyoming has won its last three games against MAC opponents. Two of those came at expenses of NIU. The other, a 37-14 victory over Central Michigan in the 2017 Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise. The Pokes are 9-4 all-time against that conference.

Kickoff in Laramie is scheduled for 2 p.m. MDT.



DENVER - OCTOBER 4: An exterior view of the Pepsi Center -- now Ball Arena -- taken before opening night for the Dallas Stars at the Colorado Avalanche on October 4, 2006 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

What kind of name is Ball State?

That's an unusual name for a university, huh?

A quick trip to Google says the Indiana institution was named after the five Ball brothers who founded the school in 1918: Lucius, William, Edmund, Frank and George.

Those guys made their fortune in the canning business. As in canning jars and canning glass jars.

Ball State, however, wasn't the original name. There were eight variations before that.

* Eastern Indiana Normal School

* Palmer University

* Indiana Normal College

* Indiana Normal Institute

* Indiana State Normal School - Eastern Division

* Ball Teachers College

* Ball State Teachers College

* Ball State College

In 1965, the name was officially changed to Ball State University.

By the way, if the name "Ball" sounds familiar in the Rocky Mountain Region, that's because it's the new name of the former Pepsi Center in Denver where the Nuggets and Avalanche call home.



NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26: David Letterman speaks onstage at the First Annual Comedy Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on March 26, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Famous alumni

Late Night king David Letterman once strolled the halls of Ball State. So did Jim Davis, the creator of "Garfield." Joyce DeWitt of Three's Company fame is also an alum.

Oprah's main squeeze, Stedman Graham, went to BSU. Papa John himself, John Schnattner, is also a Cardinal.

On that sports side of things, current San Diego State head coach, Brady Hoke, once played and coached in Muncie. Former NFL wide receiver Willie Snead was a Cardinal. So was Bonzi Wells, former shooting guard of the New Orleans Hornets.

Controversial sports writer, Jason Whitlock, also studied at BSU.



Here is all you need to know about Saturday's tilt in Laramie:

WHO: Ball State (1-1, 0-0) at  Wyoming (2-0, 0-0)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 18 at 2:00 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 81, low of 50, mostly sunny, winds at 15-25 mph
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, Wyo.
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
TICKETS: UW Ticket Central
BOX SCORE: StatBroadcast
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Ball State
BETMGM ODDS: Wyoming -7, O/U 53 (Could be subject to change)
HISTORY: First meeting
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Mike Neu

UW vs. NIU September 11, 2021