What: Wyoming Cowboys @ Colorado State Rams
When: Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, 5 p.m. MT
Where: Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins, Colorado
Line: Wyoming -8.5, O/U 42.5
History: The Wyoming Cowboys and the Colorado State Rams have played football games against each other dating all the way back to 1899, believe it or not, and have gone head to head for the Bronze Boot since 1968. Colorado State owns the all-time advantage 59-49-5, however, they lost last year to the Pokes 31-17 in Laramie.
On Veteran’s Day, Coach Bohl and Coach Norvell met on the state line to exchange the game ball, which was run 65 miles by ROTC members of both schools and traditionally delivered to the ceremony, kicking off the Border War.
Wyoming (6-3, 4-1) will head to Fort Collins on Saturday to take on Colorado State (2-7, 2-3) in the 2022 edition of the Border War. Though the two teams have had drastically different seasons up to this point, Wyoming competing for a Mountain West Conference championship and CSU being very much outside of that conversation, the matchup between the two longtime rivals is sure to bring its share of fireworks this Saturday evening no matter the disparity in their records.
As previously mentioned, the Pokes will have a lot to play for this weekend. Not only do they want to keep pace with Boise State in hopes of playing for a conference championship in the near future, but they want to maintain control of the Bronze Boot, a trophy that holds plenty of meaning to this Cowboys team. A win would also mean a trophy sweep for Wyoming, as they’ve already beaten rivals Hawaii and Utah State on the campaign.
What to expect from Colorado State:
CSU has had a rough go of it in Jay Norvell’s first season as Head Coach, though the Rams have been playing better football in recent weeks and are starting to see their growing pains fade. Though penalties and mental mistakes have plagued their developmental offense this year, QB Clay Millen has been a bright spot for the Rams in recent weeks. Millen notched a career-high in passing yards with 261 of them last week against San Jose State before being taken out of the game due to injury. His status for this weekend is still up in the air, but he did practice this week so it seems like he may be trending toward being available. In his absence, Millen has been replaced by Freshman Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, as well as Redshirt Freshman Giles Pooler, but both have looked very shaky in their respective appearances so far. If CSU wants to have a chance at beating Wyoming this weekend, they’ll need Millen to be fully suited up and ready to go.
They’ll also need to keep him standing upright, which won’t be easy going up against a formidable Wyoming front that ranks just behind SJSU in the conference for sacks. Prior to their last matchup against SJSU, the Rams had been doing a much better job of protecting their QB than they had in their first few games. But the Spartans had their way last week, as they’ve shown they have the ability to do on a weekly basis this year, sacking the QB nine times with the last sack being the cause of Clay Millen’s exit.
When Millen is able to get the ball out and isn’t face down on the turf, he’s probably looking to connect with WR Tory Horton. Horton, along with Millen, is another one of the Nevada transfers who made their way over to Fort Collins this summer. He currently leads the conference in both receptions and receiving yards with 50 catches for just under 800 yards, proving to be a major problem for opposing secondary units on a weekly basis. Last week, Horton had nine catches for almost 200 yards and 1 touchdown, adding to his season already inflated total. RB Avery Morrow has also shown that he’s a force to be reckoned with in the backfield in recent weeks for the Rams. Last week, Morrow had 17 carries for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. Morrow will be a vital piece to the offense in the game against Wyoming.
What to expect from Wyoming:
The Pokes enter Fort Collins winning their last three conference matchups against New Mexico, Hawaii, and Utah State. Though they are the much better team on paper this year, the Cowboys must avoid becoming their own worst enemy this week against a Rams team that is sure to be heavily motivated with the Bronze Boot hanging in the balance.
Luckily for the Pokes, it seems that they will have one of their offensive workhorses in RB Titus Swen this week. Swen was hurt early in the game against Hawaii, so his addition to the offense is very welcomed and his tough running style is sure to come in handy against a CSU run defense that ranks seventh in the Mountain West. Dawaiian Mcneely and D.Q. James are sure to get their share of carries as well when Swen is on the sideline.
QB Andrew Peasley will also be a threat with his legs. Peasley has rushed for 334 yards on 63 carries this season which is second most on the team, as the Wyoming attack has mainly been ground-heavy this season. Though the Poke offensive attack has been very ground-heavy, Peasley and the Pokes will still be looking to exploit a vulnerable Rams secondary that ranks second-to-last in the Mountain West against the pass. Peasley has shown that he can throw the ball when asked, though it isn’t his strength by any means.
The real game-changing factor in this one could be the Poke defense. The air attack from Colorado State will be dangerous and players like Cam Stone, Wyett Ekeler, and Jakorey Hawkins will need to stay disciplined in the secondary defending big plays. The Pokes will also need to live in the CSU backfield as the Rams allow a dreadful 4.76 sacks per game, so players like Omotosho and Devonne Harris have huge opportunities for field days.
The Pokes are riding high and I think they will continue doing so heading into their matchup next week with Boise State. Wyoming has more discipline, is much more physical, and is playing with much more at stake in this battle for the Bronze Boot. Though, I think this game turns out being closer than some may think. Last year Colorado State was arguably the better team and ended up getting trounced by Wyoming 31-17. Rivalry games also tend to be close affairs. This year, though I don’t foresee a massive upset or anything along those lines, I do think that home-field advantage could benefit CSU early and make things interesting, at least heading into the half. The Rams have a talented team and have been starting to find an identity. Alas, I think the Cowboys front will be overpowering against a CSU offensive line that ranks 130th out of 131 FBS teams in sacks allowed per game. I have the Cowboys winning this game by at least a touchdown.
Colorado State 20