Troy Babbitt-US PRESSWIRE
Cowboys make it four straight Border Wars over the Rams on a beautiful day in Laramie.
New coach for Colorado State equals the same result. Coach Christensen was 3-0 against Steve Fairchild, now he is 1-0 against Jim McElwain. The Pokes used a potent and balanced offensive attack and took advantage of three Ram turnovers to win 45-31. The Cowboys had a 45-17 lead in the fourth quarter but allowed two touchdowns to make the game look closer than reality.
Brett Smith led the Pokes offense all game with poise and confidence. He threw for 235 yards and four touchdowns while adding another rushing touchdown. He was able to keep the offense moving and spread the ball with each touchdown pass going to a different receiver: Chris McNeill, Brandon Miller, Jalen Claiborne and Dominic Rufran. McNeill, Miller and Claiborne all had at least 50 yards receiving.
Miller had a very busy day as he also played running back due to D.J.May missing the game with a injury. On the day Miller ran for 89 yards and caught five passes for 59 yards. Jalen Claiborne had several key catches as well as a nice punt and kick return. The running game got a big boost from Shaun Wick who ran for a career high 98 yards.
The big play for the defense was a 99 yard pick six by Blair Burns. He was finally able to hold on for his first interception of the season and he made the Rams pay. CSU was driving and could have tied the game at 14, instead Burns gave the Pokes a 21-7 and a ton of confidence. Chad Reese had two interceptions himself, though one was called back due to a Wyoming penalty. Reese has improved a ton over the last three weeks. He has interceptions in the last two games and had a career high nine tackles.
The Wyoming defense allowed 512 yards but I'd say their performance was better then what that number indicates. 75 yards came on their first play from scrimmage. A batted pass was deflected and landed into the hands of Thomas Coffman who scored. That pass could have just as easily been intercepted or fallen incomplete. 159 yards came in the fourth quarter with Wyoming up by 28 points. One of those long drives wouldn't have happened if Reese's second interception wasn't called back due to penalty.
The players have endured a ton this year. It was exciting to see them come out victorious against their biggest rivals. One win doesn't fix the season but it shows that the Cowboys have not given up. Hopefully the confidence gained this week will be carried into the next three weeks and help build some momentum for next year