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Rams can’t bring home Bronze Boot in loss to Cowboys

In Border War No. 115, the Bronze Boot stays with Wyoming for at least another year after a 24-15 defeat for Colorado State.

Coach Jay Norvell has hammered home the point that the Rams need to score on about half of their possessions to put them in position to win. 

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“I’ve got to help these kids,” Norvell said. “I’ve got to help them execute better. We’ve got some young guys out there fighting and playing, trying to give us a chance to win. And then I’m the coach: It’s my responsibility, so I take it.”

The Rams didn’t even come close to that, scoring on only two of their 12 drives. 

CSU found even less success on third downs. The Rams are 42% on third-down conversions this year, but going 0/10 in one of the biggest games of the year is not a recipe for success.

“Our execution on third down, we didn’t execute well enough to sustain drives on third down,” Norvell said. “And to really make it a game, you can’t score 15 points in this league and expect to win. You just can’t.”

Rams quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi struggled mightily against the Cowboys, throwing two interceptions that set the Cowboys up on a short field. Wyoming capitalized on both turnovers, scoring 14 points. 

Up to that point, the game was a competitive one. The Rams defense started the game struggling, allowing the Cowboys to get out to an early 10-0 lead, but after the first few drives, the Rams defense shored up.

“I think we just settled into the game,” CSU linebacker Chase Wilson said. “Everybody knows this game is played with a lot of emotion, a lot of anticipation.”

Driving down once again, Wyoming was in position to go up 13-0, but Wyoming kicker John Hoyland missed a 55-yard field goal, and the Rams turned their good field position into a touchdown that would eventually set up a 10-7 game at the half. 

While the Rams made it interesting in the fourth quarter, their comeback effort this time was just not enough. Kick-started by Rams cornerback Dom Jones intercepting Wyoming QB Andrew Peasley — just the fourth interception Peasley has thrown all season — the Rams went down and scored a touchdown.

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Opting to go for a two-point conversion, the Rams ran a Philly Special-esque play, and CSU wide receiver Tory Horton found Fowler-Nicolosi in the end zone for two.

Forcing a punt on the very next drive, CSU was in position to once again make an improbable comeback. However, an errant snap and a Cowboys recovery would put any hopes the Rams had to rest.

The Rams started slow again this week and haven’t been able to put together a complete game this season.

“It’s always important to start fast,” Norvell said. “And in the last two weeks, we’ve got to finish better. So (that) will be our emphasis going forward.”

Horton was a game time decision prior to kickoff. He’s been dealing with injuries the past couple of weeks but has toughed through the injuries and has been on the field.

“It means a lot, shows his toughness,” Rams wide receiver Dylan Goffney said. “It shows a lot as him being a captain, as a leader. And it just makes us want to work even harder for him because we know he’s going through a lot, so we need to step up.”

Despite the loss tonight, CSU is still on bowl watch. With three games remaining this season, the Rams will need to win all three in order to make a bowl game. 

The remaining contests are the easiest three-game stretch of the Rams schedule. They take on San Diego State, Nevada and Hawaii — three opponents that are under .500 — with two of the games in Canvas Stadium.

The first of the three is against SDSU and kicks off at 5 p.m. Nov. 11 in Canvas.

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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