Bronze Boot headed back to Laramie after Cowboys win third consecutive Border War

Eddie Herz

The Colorado State Rams were defeated in the Border War by the University of Wyoming Cowboys 34-21 as the visitors not only hoisted the boot at Canvas Stadium Friday, but did so convincingly. 

The storyline of the 110th Border War was a defensive onslaught assembled by Wyoming.

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“We are not a very good football team,” Coach Mike Bobo said. “Ownership is on me in every phase. Not just offense. In offense, defense and special teams. A lot of things have gone wrong this year.”

In the first half, the Rams’ offense accumulated only 121 total yards, including -12 combined rushing yards. By the end of the game, the unit produced a total of 20 rushing yards.

“We knew we were going to have trouble running the ball against this team,” Bobo said. “I may have gotten away from the running game early but I basically didn’t have any confidence in the running game. We are inept at running the football right now, and you aren’t going to win a lot of games when you throw it 54 times.”

The rivals began the game with polar opposite offensive game plans as the Rams emphasized moving the ball via the air, while the Cowboys kept the ball on the ground for the majority of plays. 

CSU Quarter Back Collin Hill looks down field during the third quarter of the Border War game against Wyoming. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Redshirt sophomore Collin Hill went 14-23 through the air for 133 yards while the running game accumulated negative yardage early. 

True freshman quarterback Sean Chambers of the Cowboys only attempted five passes last week against Utah State. Chambers also rushed the ball 19 times for 100 total yards. The quarterback had similar motives against the Rams. 

Chambers went 2-4 through the air for 33 yards during the first two quarters and accumulated 60 rushing yards on 10 carries.

The Rams’ defense was able to keep up in the opening half, keeping them in contention for the most part. An 11-play, 50-yard drive capped by a Wyoming field goal from 30 yards out represented the only points within the games’ first 40 minutes.

After punting the ball away on five consecutive possessions to begin the game, the Rams put themselves in their lone scoring position of the first half with the second-period clock coming to a close. 

“We are not a very good football team. Ownership is on me in every phase. Not just offense. In offense, defense and special teams. A lot of things have gone wrong this year.”Coach Mike Bobo

Hill and senior receiver Olabisi Johnson connected for 12 yards to set up senior kicker Wyatt Bryan for a potential game-tying 53-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the half. 

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Bryan’s kick had the distance, but it sailed wide right.

“It hurt (missing the field goal),” Hill said. “But there were a lot of plays in the game like that. I think we turned it over three times and I don’t think we got any.”

Unfortunately for the Rams, the second half provided a similar story, only worse for the green and gold. The Cowboys’ stout defense troubled the Rams even more, which was accompanied by a resurgent Cowboys’ offense.

Chambers and the Cowboys made a statement to begin the final half by waltzing down the field for a touchdown on an efficient 9-play, 75-yard drive in under four minutes.

The visitors’ defense created offensive opportunities as well.

Later in the third quarter, Hill was tackled while forcing a pass. The quarterback lost the ball and the Cowboys recovered inside the Rams’ 25-yard line, scoring a touchdown less than a minute after.

On the Rams’ ensuing offensive possession, Hill threw an interception with the team trailing 17-0, fighting for any sign of life. The Cowboys’ senior tailback Nico Evans immediately made the hosts pay by rushing for a 48-yard touchdown on the next play.

Evans’ touchdown put the nail in the proverbial Border War coffin, and perhaps the Rams’ season, as they fell to 3-6 overall. An undefeated trio of games to end the year is now the only route to a bowl game for the Rams. 

“I think (staying positive) is huge, no matter if you are 0-0 going into week one or you are in our situation,” Hill said. “You just have to take it one game at a time, one week, one practice at a time. You really can’t look down the road too far.” 

Running Back Marvin Kinsey Jr. flies into end zone for CSU first touchdown of the game against the University of Wyoming on Oct 26. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Junior Marvin Kinsey Jr. scored two touchdowns in a matter of six minutes to erase the shutout and reduce the deficit to 27-14, but it was already too late to salvage a victory. 

Besides Kinsey, who scored multiple touchdowns in a game for the first time since Oct. 22, 2016, against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, redshirt junior receiver Preston Williams was one of the other few bright spots. Williams finished with 10 receptions for 176 yards.

In his first start since 2016, Hill totaled 333 passing yards on 34-54 completions in addition to the two interceptions.

Chambers finished the evening with two triple-digit figures in his statline as the first-year signal caller tallied 101 yards on the ground and 116 through the air for three total touchdowns.

“You know (running quarterbacks) are going to run the ball 40 times a game and are going to continue hitting you in the mouth,” senior safety Jordan Fogal said. “Getting into the third and fourth quarters when they are still running the ball at you, it gets hard for a defender.”

CSU will have a week off before traveling to Reno, Nevada to play the University of Nevada Wolfpack Nov. 10. The kickoff time has not been announced yet.  

Eddie Herz can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.