Saturday’s contest between Colorado State (4-5, 2-3 Mountain West) and the Wyoming Cowboys (1-9, 1-5 MW) was the 106th official rendition of the Border War and ended 26-7 in favor of the Rams.
The Rams will take the Bronze Boot back to Fort Collins in high spirits after bouncing back nicely from last week’s 41-17 loss to SDSU.
After failing to get the desired results for much of the season, the win was just what some players needed.
“It’s definitely a good momentum swing, I think we’ve just been grinding and not getting the results so this is definitely a good feeling,” sophomore offensive lineman Jake Bennett said.
The challenge now for the Rams will be carrying the momentum into this week’s practice and the final home game of the season next Saturday.
“It’s amazing because we are all having a good time, it’s just really good to win the boot,” sophomore linebacker Kiel Robinson said. “Now we have to come back ready to work on Monday and practice hard to know our schemes and everything.”
Senior safety Trent Matthews knows the importance of carrying momentum and not getting complacent.
“It just feels good to play as one team, I think we always had confidence, the whole season we have been so close, when you win it always feels better and the feeling we have now is the one we need going into next week,” Matthews said.
Owning the ground
A big part of the struggles for the Cowboys was their inability to get star running back Brian Hill going. Hill was second in the FBS entering Saturday’s contest with 140.2 per game, but the Rams held Hill to a total of 65 yards and just one garbage time touchdown.
“(Stopping Hill) makes them have to change their whole game plan. If they can’t run the ball it makes them switch and change their passing game and it just takes them out of what they want to do which is run with him,” Robinson said.
Head coach Mike Bobo was pleased with the way his defense handled Wyoming.
“Control the line of scrimmage and win the ball game and I thought we did that for the most part. … The defense played outstanding we did a great job of setting the edges, gang tackling Mr. Hill, who’s a really good running back,” Bobo said.
Senior defensive lineman SteveO Michel touched on the importance of stopping Wyoming’s star rusher.
“It’s always a good thing to stop the run and that’s what we did,” Michel said. “We executed well, communicated well with one another and we were able to stop him from doing what he’s been doing all year.”
Along with shutting down the run game of the Cowboys, the Rams were able to be very productive on the ground themselves. Leading rusher Jasen Oden Jr. was out for Saturday’s contest, but Dalyn Dawkins and Izzy Matthews were able to pick up the slack.
Dawkins had 140 yards on 25 carries, and Matthews had 55 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think it’s always great when you’re able to get the running game going just because if you do need to come out and open it up, you can. … I think we are all really satisfied with the run game,” quarterback Nick Stevens said.
Seniors preparing for final game at Hughes
Next weekend’s matchup against UNLV will be the last time the Rams play at home this season, and with that, the last time the seniors on the CSU team will play in Hughes Stadium.
“We can still get better, we’ve still got a lot to play for,” Bobo said. “Especially this week coming up, a group of seniors that has been through a lot, three different coaches, and they need to prepare like they want to go out on the right note in their last game at Hughes Stadium.”
For most of the seniors, the opportunity to step on Sonny Lubick Field and represent the Rams in green and gold for the final time means everything.
“We’re trying to get to a bowl game,” Trent Matthews said. “Going into Hughes it’s going to be senior night and I’m going to leave it all out there because that’s the last time I’m going to play at Hughes. It’s going to feel good, my mom is going to be able to come. She rarely comes out to Colorado so I can’t wait to see her and showcase my talents in front of her.”
Collegian Football Reporter Geoff Huebner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Huebnermedia93