Rams must bounce back in Border War to save bowl game dreams

Jack Taylor

After a heartbreaking loss at home to Air Force, Colorado State football must regroup and get prepared for this Friday’s Border War against the University of Wyoming. 

CSU’s season seemed to be doomed from the start with an abysmal 1-5 opening record. Collin Hill, the Rams’ starting quarterback this season, suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the team’s third game. If losing your starting quarterback isn’t already terrible, in late October, CSU had to indefinitely suspend and then cut starting running back Marvin Kinsey Jr.

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Fortunately for the Rams, adversity is one of the strongest tools a team can use to improve. The CSU football team stood up to the doubt surrounding the team with an impressive three-game win streak. Although it was a short win streak, CSU was able to prove to its fans and critics that they weren’t going to roll over and forget the season ever happened.

Although CSU lost against Air Force last week, it was not a blowout.

The Rams opened the game with a 14 play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. This offensive execution continued for the entire first half; CSU was in the groove. The stalwart defense was giving the offense great starting field position, opening up the playbook for head coach Mike Bobo. For one of the first times this season, the Rams offense and defense seemed to be firing on all cylinders. CSU ended the half with a 14-10 lead on the Falcons.

Player celebrates score in end zone
Tight end Trey McBride (85) celebrates as he runs into the end zone in the Rams’ 38-21 loss to Air Force on Nov. 16. The Rams started off the game with a touchdown pass from Patrick O’Brien to McBride to cap off their opening drive. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

Unfortunately, the third quarter was less than eventful. Both teams traded fumbles and punts. Then dawned the fourth quarter, where the Falcons would go on a 28-7 run, ending the game with a 38-21 loss for the Rams.

This loss put CSU on the brink. The team will need to win their next two contests to qualify for a bowl game. And with the Rams hosting Boise State in their last game of the season on Nov. 29, a win and a trophy will help give CSU momentum before they face their toughest test of the season.

Coming into this Friday, CSU has lost the past three Border War matchups. But this season, CSU fans shouldn’t expect the same result.

Although the Cowboys’ 6-4 record is two wins better than the Rams’, Wyoming football has had a less than stellar season. Last Saturday, Wyoming played against Utah State in a nail-biting 26-21 loss. The Cowboys paid for their loss with turnovers, posting four in the game. The most costly of their turnovers was an interception on the Utah 25-yard line, where the Cowboys had a chance to win within the last minute of the game. 

This season, both the Rams and Cowboys have a 3-3 conference record. Even more surprisingly, their wins and losses are equitable to each other. 

Wyoming has home advantage this year. Playing football in Laramie, Wyoming, has proven to be a challenge itself, with brutal weather and fans that will be cheering or booing far after the last whistle is blown. The CSU football team and its fans have to overcome the elements, as well as the Cowboys. 

If the Rams can limit their turnovers and capitalize on turnovers from the loosely-organized Cowboys offense, fans should expect CSU to carry home the Bronze Boot. 

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Kickoff is Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Larimer. Be sure to bring your loudest cheers and warmest coats!

Jack Taylor can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @j_taylr.