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Rams bring home the boot from Laramie in Border War win

After five years, the Bronze Boot will come back to Fort Collins, as the Colorado State University Rams beat the University of Wyoming Cowboys 34-24 in the annual Border War. 

This game was vital to a Ram team searching for their identity after a tough week one loss. For new head coach Steve Addazio, this game hopefully set the precedent for more to come. 

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“This game was definitely the starting of the building of our identity,” Addazio said. 

The Rams’ defense came out flying in the first quarter. Cornerback Marshaun Cameron intercepted the ball on the Cowboys’ first drive of the game, which he returned for a 30-yard touchdown as the Rams’ first score of the game.

The CSU defense didn’t stop there, as Cameron forced a fumble which was recovered by  Dequan Jackson on the Cowboys’ next drive. This turnover came after Wyoming tried to convert a third and 12 on their own 36-yard line, resulting in a very favorable field position for the Rams.

The difference from the defensive struggle of last week? According to Cameron, “I would say energy and execution.” 

Starting quarterback Patrick O’Brien made sure to capitalize on the first play after the second Cowboys turnover, throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Trey McBride.

Although being held to 13 rushing yards and 37 passing yards in the first quarter, the Cowboys’ offense exploded in the second. Both of Wyoming’s running backs would score as they notched 76 total second-quarter rushing yards. Their passing also improved as the Cowboys threw for 118 yards in the second quarter, with wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt having a 100-yard first half.

However, the Cowboys weren’t the only ones to have a dominant receiver in the first half of this year’s Border War. CSU wide receiver Dante Wright had 98 receiving yards as he took full advantage of his return to the field after missing last week’s contest against California State University, Fresno.

Aided by a 29-yard field goal and O’Brien’s single-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone, the Rams would go into the second half with a comfortable 24-14 lead over the Cowboys. 

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“The Rams decided four years had been much too long without a win in this historic matchup as they marched down the field to put the nail in the coffin by way of a 48-yard field goal from freshman kicker Robert Liss.”

The second half saw Wyoming threatening early after their tight end Treyton Welch caught a 25-yard pass right down the middle, almost guaranteeing a touchdown to come. The Rams said otherwise with an impressive goal-line stand to hold the pokes to just a field goal. 

The Rams’ answer was efficient to say the least, as O’Brien threw a 38-yard touchdown to McBride for his second receiving touchdown of the night to cap off a short but sweet 59-second drive. 

Wyoming attempted to stage a late-game comeback as quarterback Levi Williams ran in a touchdown to make it a 7-point game with eight minutes left in the contest.

The Rams decided four years had been much too long without a win in this historic matchup as they marched down the field to put the nail in the coffin by way of a 48-yard field goal from freshman kicker Robert Liss.

O’Brien looked right at home as he facilitated the offense in his first start of the season. The Ram quarterback ended up throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns. Wright finished with 146 receiving yards, proving himself to be Warren Jackson’s likely receiving successor. McBride had another phenomenal game finishing with 90 receiving yards and for the first time in his career, a two-touchdown game. 

Although the Rams’ defense looked much improved, they still gave up 321 passing yards and 144 yards on the ground. All around consistent defense will be something to focus on moving forward as they play away from Fort Collins against Mountain West powerhouse Boise State University next Thursday.

Should Boise State be worried? According to Cameron, yes — because the only plan is that, “We(‘re) gonna keep doing this every week.”

Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.

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