This was your typical Border War which meant throw out the records because anything can happen. The Wyoming Cowboys needed a victory to give them a 6th win and become bowl eligible. The Colorado State Rams were looking to play spoiler and end the season on a high note after losing eight straight games.
Wyoming has a knack for fourth quarter comebacks this season and pulled off their fourth of the season in a 17-16 victory. Ian Watts made a 33 yard field goal with 1:29 left to give the Cowboys (6-6) a one point lead. The Rams were driving down the field but Ghaali Muhammad intercepted a Jon Eastman pass to secure the victory and give the Cowboys the Bronze Boot trophy for the first time in three years.
With the victory the Cowboys locked up fifth place in the Mountain West and will be heading to their first bowl game since a 2004 Las Vegas Bowl win over UCLA. The New Mexico Bowl is the likely destination for the Cowboys but the Armed Forces and Humanitarian Bowl are still possibilities.
The Rams (3-9) went winless in the Mountain West this year and finished with a 9 game losing streak but they controlled the momentum most of the game. CSU out gained the Cowboys 352 to 233 and had the ground game working all game. Leonard Mason put 119 yards on the ground, John Mosure had 36 yards on four attempts before leaving the game with an injury. QB Jon Eastman got his first start for the Rams and completed his first eight passes, Eastman finished the day 22 of 30 for 185 yards.
The Rams scored first on a 8 yard touchdown by Lou Greenwood. John Fletcher blocked the extra point for the Pokes and that would end up being the difference in the game. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels got the Cowboys on the board with a 6 yard TD run. Eastman found Zac Pauga in the third on a 6 yard pass to give the Rams a 13-7 lead. Later in the third Carta-Samuels broke out again for a 49 run to give the Cowboys the 14-13 edge. The Rams used nearly 7 points to drive down and a Ben Deline 23 yard field goal gave them the 16-14 lead.
On the winning drive Carta-Samuels kept the drive alive with a 14 yard run on 3rd and 11 and then found Greg Bolling for a 7 yard pass on 4th and 6. Brandon Stewart broke out a 20 yard run to move the ball inside field goal range. The Cowboys drive stalled at CSU 16 and on 4th and 2 Ian Watts nailed the game winning field goal.
The Cowboys evened the Border War at 21 wins a piece and now have the Bronze Boot back for the first time in three years. This has been an impressive season for the Cowboys as they were picked to finished last in the Mountain West and have surpassed all expectations despite playing 12 freshman and one of the toughest schedules in the nation. First year Coach Dave Christensen has changed the minds of those in Laramie who thought this program was going nowhere after struggling for years during the Joe Glenn era.
Christensen had a great quote after his earning first Border War victory:
"The boot's back where it belongs," Wyoming's first-year coach shouted. "Gimme a beer."