Cougars, Broncos To Meet For First Time Since 1970

Dec 16, 2018, 6:11 PM
Jon Wassink #16 of the Western Michigan Broncos throws a pass against the Syracuse Orange in the th...
Jon Wassink #16 of the Western Michigan Broncos throws a pass against the Syracuse Orange in the third quarter of a game at Waldo Stadium on August 31, 2018 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Although they played against each other nearly every other year in the 1960s, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl matchup between BYU and Western Michigan will be their first meeting since 1970.

The Cougars hold a 3-2 all-time record against Western Michigan and have never met the Broncos on a neutral field.

Broncos Take The First Game

The two teams first met in 1962 in Kalamazoo. The Cougars, coached by Hal Mitchell, trailed 21-14 before going into the fourth quarter. The Cougars scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Doug Wardell, but missed the extra point attempt to keep Western Michigan ahead 21-20. Bronco running back Bill Schlee scored with less than a minute remaining to shut the door on a Cougars comeback attempt and sealed the 28-10 win.

Cougars Win Three In A Row

Two years later, in miserable freezing and snowing conditions in Provo, the two teams met again. The Cougars blew away the Broncos 43-8. In that game, the Broncos were held to just 19 yards while BYU gained 317.  Cougar running back John Ogden scored four TDs in the win, the Cougars’ final win in a 3-6-1 season.

The next two meetings against Western Michigan, in 1967 and 1968, carry a connection to this year’s matchup. In those games over five decades ago, the Cougars were quarterbacked by Marc Lyons, who went on to be the color analyst in the radio broadcast booth, beginning in 1980. In fact, Friday’s bowl game will be the final call of Lyons’ radio career, which began in 1980.

In 1967, the Cougars again smashed the Broncos, this time by a 44-19 score. It was considerably warmer than the 1964 game, with a temperature of 71 degrees at kickoff. However, the Broncos’ rushing attack was still freezing cold, as they gained just 46 yards.

The Cougars weren’t nearly as dominant against Western Michigan the next season. They squeaked out a 17-7 win in Kalamazoo behind Lyons under center.

“Even though we weren’t spectacular, it was a win,” said Lyons to Jeff Call of the Deseret News.

Broncos Snap Streak

The Broncos finally snapped the Cougars’ three-game winning streak over them with a 35-17 victory in 1970.

It would have been a blowout, with the Broncos leading 35-3 going into the fourth quarter. Cougar running back Chris Reading found the end zone twice in the final period to help make the score more respectable.

Broadcast Info

The 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will kick off Friday at 2 p.m. from Boise. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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Cougars, Broncos To Meet For First Time Since 1970