This weekend marks the annual Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming. Wyoming currently has a four game winning streak against the Rams including a 45-31 win last year in Laramie. This season the Rams will be traveling to Laramie again with the changes in the Mountain West scheduling when the conference expanded to 12 schools causing the Rams to make a second consecutive trip. Wyoming coming off a close win over New Mexico and the Rams losing a second half lead resulting in a loss to San Jose State. With Wyoming coming in at 4-2 and Colorado State at 2-4 there is a lot still riding on this game.
If Colorado State wants to win this game here are the keys:
RUN THE FOOTBALL!!! The Rams have a three headed running back monster that can use this game to fully unleash on the rest of the conference. Wyoming has had problems this season stopping the run this season especially against Texas State (Giving up 256 yards) and New Mexico (Giving up 257 yards). Texas State resulted in a loss. They also need to utilize star tight ends Crockett Gilmore and Kivon Cartwright in the passing game making it easier for Garrett Grayson to find open receivers on play action and third downs. No big drops either especially on a third and manageable down. The key here is to control the clock the last thing you want to do is to get into a shootout with this team. Don't turnover the ball in the red zone and capitalize on good field position. Run the football, control the clock, no key turnovers, extending drives on 3rd downs and utilize the tight ends will give the Rams the best chance to win on Saturday.
Don't allow for Brett Smith to extend plays with his legs. He is a fantastic player and by letting him extend plays much like David Fales did last week will result in a disaster for the Ram defense. Going off the last point is getting pressure on him up the middle with Calvin Tonga and the other interior defensive lineman will force him to stay in the pocket increasing his chances of getting sacked. The outside pressure will be come but the interior pressure will collapse the pocket for Smith. The secondary needs to play its best game of the year along with its smartest. They cannot have any repeats of the mistakes against Colorado, UTEP and SJSU, otherwise Brett Smith will throw for 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. Getting off the field on 3rd down is the biggest key. Too many third down conversions for San Jose State last week allowing them to extend drives. Keep Smith in the pocket and don't allow him to extend plays with his legs, communication in the secondary, and getting off the field on third down will be key for the Rams to win.
If the Rams successfully execute these keys I believe the Bronze Boot will come back to Fort Collins.
Colorado State 28, Wyoming 23
If they don't then the Boot stays in Laramie for the fifth consecutive year
Wyoming 38, Colorado State 23