LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys got off to a slow start, while Colorado State scored on its first four possessions of the game, resulting in a 26-7 home loss for the Cowboys in the 107th meeting in the "Border War" series.
On the day, the Cowboys were unable to get their offense on track. Wyoming entered the game averaging 177 rushing yards per game and 196 passing for a combined average of 373. But Saturday, the Cowboys could manage only 239 total yards -- 130 rushing and 109 passing. UW also turned the ball over four times on three lost fumbles and one interception, while forcing only one turnover by the Rams.
"I think Colorado State did a great job creating turnovers," said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. "They did a great job neutralizing our rushing game, and we had a hard time protecting Nick (Smith).
"I was pleased with the second half. We did generate a touchdown, but it was too little too late. With a game like this, we needed to start well.
"We told our guys we win as a team and lose as a team. We need to keep on encouraging one another. We will learn from this and move forward."
While Wyoming's standout running back Brian Hill moved into second place on UW's single-season rushing list on Saturday, he was held to 65 yards rushing -- 75 yards under his average of 140 per game. Hill has run for 1,327 yards thus far this season to rank No. 2 in Wyoming history behind Ryan Christopherson's 1,455 yards in 1994.
Quarterback Smith was sacked three times by the Rams on Saturday.
"For our offense to jive well, it's all about balancing the attack," said redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Smith. "It was key with them taking Brian (Hill) away and stopping the run.
The game began with CSU taking the opening kickoff and marching 72 yards in 12 plays on its first possession of the game, culminating in a two-yard touchdown run by running back Izzy Matthews to put the Rams up 7-0 with 9:34 remaining in the first quarter.
On its first possession, Wyoming committed its first turnover of the day. On a second-down-and-four play Hill fumbled and CSU safety Trent Matthews recovered at the UW 33-yard line. But Wyoming's defense stiffened and eight plays later forced the Rams into a 33-yard field goal from Wyatt Bryan, giving CSU a 10-0 lead.
Wyoming's frustration continued on its second possession. The Pokes committed a holding penalty on the kickoff return, and began its possession at its own 17-yard line. A false start penalty followed and a three-and-out possession led to Ethan Wood punting for the first of six times on the day. CSU took over at the Wyoming 46-yard line.
The Rams would score their second touchdown four plays later on three consecutive pass completions by quarterback Nick Stevens followed by a nine-yard TD run from Izzy Matthews -- his second of the first quarter. The score was 17-0 at the end of quarter number one.
The Cowboys generated their first, first down of the day on its next possession when redshirt freshman running back Nico Evans gained 14 yards on a rushing play. Wyoming was later forced to punt for the second time, but a 44-yard punt by Wood pinned the Rams deep in their own territory at the CSU 12.
Wyoming could not take advantage of the poor Colorado State field position. CSU would end up driving 88 yards on it fourth possession of the game, gaining 68 of those yards on the ground and 20 yards through the air. Stevens would cap off the drive with a one-yard TD run to give Colorado State a 23-0 lead.
Later in the second quarter, Wyoming freshman quarterback Nick Smith would be sacked and fumbled. CSU recovered at the Wyoming 17-yard line. But the Wyoming defense came up with a big turnover of its own two plays later as freshman free safety Andrew Wingard picked off Stevens in the end zone.
That interception helped fuel Wyoming's best drive of the first half. Smith guided the Cowboys on a seven-play, 45-yard drive down to the CSU 28-yard line. He completed three passes on the drive for 37 yards, but on a fourth-and-five from the CSU 28, he was sacked for a loss of seven yards to end the drive.
The first half concluded with the Rams holding a 23-0 lead. Wyoming generated only 80 yards of total offense in the first half -- 30 rushing and 50 passing. CSU had 273 yards -- 164 rushing and 109 passing.
The third quarter saw Wyoming punt on its first two possessions and CSU punt on its first before the Rams would put together an eight-play, 48-yard drive late in the third quarter that resulted in a 31-yard field goal by Bryan for the only points of the quarter to build their lead to 26-0.
The fourth quarter would see only one scoring threat by either team. That was a nine-play, 74-yard drive by the Cowboys. Smith completed four of five passes to four different receivers for 51 yards on the drive, and he had two carries for 17 yards. Hill finished off the possession with a four-yard TD run, giving the Cowboys their one score of the game.
In the second half, Wyoming out-gained the Rams. The Cowboys accounted for 159 second-half yards -- 100 rushing and 59 passing. Wyoming held CSU to only 75 total yards in the second half -- 64 rushing and 11 passing.
The loss dropped the Cowboys to 1-9 on the season and 1-5 in the Mountain West Conference. CSU is now 4-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play.
Next up for Wyoming is a road trip to San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 14. That game is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m., Mountain Time kick off. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.