This weekend was a big weekend in Laramie as this week was Sheep Week! The Border War made its return for the 2015 season. Neither Colorado State nor Wyoming are having the types of seasons that they envisioned coming into today. Wyoming freshman safety Andrew WIngard described this as being the Cowboys’ bowl game, as they will not be able to get eligible for a bowl. Colorado State, on the other hand, needs to basically win out to become bowl eligible this season.
Border War week is always a big deal for both team, as both circle this game on their calendars. The winner of this event gets to take home the Bronze Boot, the travelling trophy made from a Vietnam War veteran’s boot mounted on a piece of walnut.
This would not be the weekend the Cowboys would be able to kidnap the boot and bring it back to its rightful home in Laramie. The Pokes would fall in this Border War game 26-7. Colorado State now leads the all-time series 58-44-4. The series is knotted at 24 since the Bronze Boot has been introduced.
Colorado State came out firing on all cylinders in this game, scoring on its first four possessions. The game started with Colorado State taking the opening drive 12 plays and 72 yards and ended with Izzy Matthews jumping over the top of the pile for a score.
The following possession would see the Cowboys turn the ball over on a Brian Hill fumble. Colorado State would settle for a field goal and take a 10-0 lead.
Wyoming would continue to shoot itself in the foot with mistakes as a nice return by DJ May was negated by a holding call. The drive would end in a three and out and Colorado State would take over in Wyoming territory after an Ethan Wood punt.
Colorado State scored on the following drive as Izzy Matthews scored his second touchdown of the day and by then the rout was one and Colorado State was up 17-0. They never looked back.
Colorado State would go on another touchdown drive, this time an 88 yard drive, with quarterback Nick Stevens taking the ball into the endzone himself for a touchdown. The Cowboys would block the PAT and CSU would take a 23-0 lead.
Wyoming started its next possession with another turnover, this time Nick Smith being hit from the blind side and fumbling the ball. Colorado State would then commit its first turnover of the day when Andrew Wingard picked off Stevens in the endzone.
Wyoming started to gain a slight bit of momentum on the following drive and marched the ball into Colorado State territory for the first time in the game. Drive would stall when Smith was sacked on 4th down the drive and momentum ended right there.
The Cowboys managed 80 yards of offense in the first half, compared to Colorado State’s 273 yards. The defense had a hard time getting off the field on 3rd down, and even let a 4th down conversion slip on the first CSU drive of the game.
The third and fourth quarters of the game were far less eventful for both teams as they traded punts and field position for the majority of the half. Colorado State put together one drive in the 3rd quarter that would end in a field goal for them, their last score of the game.
Wyoming managed to put together one touchdown drive, a four yard score from Brian Hill on an option pitch but the game was long decided at this point. Brian Hill would finish the game with 77 yards rushing on 21 attempts. Hill moved into 2nd all-time for single season rushing yards with 1327. He is now 128 yards away from breaking the UW all-time record held by Ryan Christofferson.
Nick Smith turned in another sub-par game for the Cowboys as he was 10-21 for 109 yards and an interception to go along with his fumble. The 109 yards passing was a career high for Nick Smith. Smith also rushed for 35 yards on nine attempts.
On a good note in the game, senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough tied John Fletcher for the all-time lead in tackles for loss on a sack of CSU quarterback Nick Stevens.
Colorado State running back Dalyn Dawkins rushed for 142 yards, while Izzy Matthews rushed for 58 yards and two scores.
After the game Craig Bohl said that he thought, “Colorado State was more physical than we were today.” He also noted that “Colorado State did a great job creating turnovers. They did a great job neutralizing our rushing game and we had a hard time protecting Nick (Smith).”
The Cowboy quarterback was under constant pressure all day and was sacked three times.
Three Cowboys registered double digit tackles in this game, Marcus Epps (13), Lucas Wacha (12), and Wingard (11).
It was a sloppy game for both teams, they combined for 19 penalties. Late in the second half the Cowboys started to come unwound and were called for some personal fouls, including two on Robert Priester within three plays.
The Cowboys were hurt by injuries all game, several Cowboys going down at some point during the game but most returning to action within a few plays. Freshman safety Andrew Wingard noted, “I thought everyone on the team continued to fight today. We lost some guys during the game, but the players who came in did a good job of stepping up.”
Wyoming will be on the road next week as they head to San Diego to take on the Aztecs. The Aztecs are led by running back Donnel Pumphrey who has rushed for 1031 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. The game is scheduled for a 8:30pm Mountain kickoff and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.