Preview: 102nd Border War - Battle for the Bronze Boot

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Despite the disappointing records for each team this is still an important game.  It's the Border War: Benjamin and a Deuce edition.  The Bronze Boot has been fought for 42 times and the series is split even 21-21.  So for Colorado State (3-8) and Wyoming (2-9) this game means everything.  Two schools that are separated by 65 miles and recruit the same players are looking for any advantage when it comes to beating their rival.

The last two years one school has had a 5-6 record and needed a victory in order to play in a bowl game.  Last year Wyoming scratched out a 17-16 victory on a late field goal by Ian Watts.  In 2008 Colorado State used a 31-20 victory to make it to the New Mexico Bowl. 

The proceedings will begin on Friday when each school's ROTC program will meet at the Wyoming-Colorado border on Highway 287.  CSU's outfit will run from Fort Collins in 1 mile segments with the ball to reach the border.  There they will be met by Wyoming officials and ROTC unit who will take game ball and deliver it to War Memorial Stadium that evening.

Colorado State lost nine straight to end last year but there have been signs of hope for the Rams this year.  They have been breaking a freshman QB Pete Thomas for 2500 yards, 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.  For most of the season the Rams went with a pass heavy scheme and abandoned the run. 

Lately the ground game has been getting the emphasis and having some success.  Leonard Mason has nearly reached 500 yards rushing this year to lead the team.  Chris Nowoke and Raymond Carter will also get several touches during the game.  Nwoke has missed the last two games due a head injury but is expected to play on Saturday. 

The key to success for the Rams does lie in the arm of Thomas.  In all three victories Thomas has achieved a QB rating of at least 114.  In all eight losses his rating has never been higher than 75.  All three of the victories for Colorado State have come at home this year.  A great sign for Wyoming who will take it's turn to host the game.

Wyoming is losing to break out of a nasty slump that has lasted six games.  The most recent losses came on road trips to New Mexico and UNLV.  The Pokes were feeling good about their chances and would be sitting at four wins right now.  Instead the Pokes have locked up a last place finish in the Mountain West for 2010.  

Currently Wyoming is 2.5 point favorites and usually home field itself usually gives a team 3 points.  So call this game as evenly matched as you want.  Obviously Wyoming wants a win on Saturday.  Here is a list of what the Cowboys need to do in order to keep the Boot in Laramie another year.

  • Forget the last two weeks.  After six losses the Pokes were mad/down/pissed at themselves and started to vent.  Hopefully some of the anger and aggression for the last eight weeks can be poured on on the field.
  • Secondary needs to be to stop the pass.  Shamiel Gary will miss his second game in a row due a death in the family.  Marqueston Huff is getting the start at cornerback and one of the Gipson brothers moved to Strong Safety to replace Gary.  Luke Ruff will also see some play time.
  • Get the spread going.  Smart passes from Austyn Carta-Samuels and some big running lanes for Alvester Alexander
  • Hold onto the ball.  Turnovers have been costly the last two games.  Ball control is essential to keeping the Rams off the field.

So who would win in real life?

So a Cowboy and a Ram?  This is just tooeasy...

Verdict:  Cowboys can tame sheep on and off the field.  Bronze Boot stays in Laramie!

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