Border War loss erases CSU football’s chance at a bowl

Leading into Saturday’s matchup with Wyoming, the Rams knew they would have to finish the year perfect to end up at 6-6 with a chance to play in a bowl game.

After a disappointing loss to the Cowboys, CSU will have to find a different motivation to get them through its remaining three games this season.

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“It’s no longer a possibility, but we just can’t think about it, that’s negative thinking. We’ve just gotta stay positive in the locker room,” wide receiver Charles Lovett said. “Because as soon as we start talking negative, we’re gonna start believing it, then we’re gonna start playing it and stuff like that. So we’ve just got to continue to rebuild on what we already got going on and just continue to fight.”

Staying positive in the face of a fourth-consecutive losing season will not be an easy task for CSU, however, especially coming off a loss in a rivalry game.

The loss to Wyoming Saturday erased the possibility for seniors like linebacker James Skelton to experience a victory in the Border War. The  Rams have now failed to defeat the Cowboys every year since 2008.

“This is the last shot (for the seniors),” a disappointed Skelton said after the game. “This game means so much that—it definitely stings more than the other (losses).”

Disappointment could be seen in many of the Rams’ faces after the loss Saturday as the matchup with one-win Wyoming was considered to be a winnable game for CSU.

“It’s very disappointing,” sophomore quarterback Garrett Grayson said. “We came up here and thought we had a good plan and we scored quite a few points, but they just played harder than us.”

Now the Rams will look forward to the remaining three games on the schedule this year, which features a battle with No. 19 Boise State on Nov. 17.

“(We) just have to keep encouraging each other to get better,” cornerback Shaq Bell said. “We still have three games left, which we expect to win. So coming to practice Monday, we just have to keep encouraging each other to compete against the offense.”

There will likely be more competition for the Rams to get playing time at the end of the year, especially on offense.

CSU has started three different quarterbacks this year, all of which are now healthy and have a backfield that has given extended playing time to four different running backs.

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In order to make those competitions more effective, the Rams will need to pick up the intensity with which they play, something that’s difficult to do while playing on a team that has struggled to get wins the last few years.

“Honestly, just play football,” Skelton said. “I mean, it’s tough and there’s not really much to say, but honestly you’ve just gotta remember why you play the game.”