Dec. 3, 2011
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Wyoming freshman wide receiver Josh Doctson had never played in a Border War. On Saturday, he made sure his debut in the annual game was memorable.
Doctson had three catches for a career-high 129 yards and his two touchdown catches went for 80 and 35 yards to power Wyoming to a 22-19 come-from-behind win over Colorado State in Hughes Stadium. The win kept the traveling Bronze Boot trophy in Laramie, where it has been for the last two years.
An announced crowd of 17,207 braved the 26-degree temperatures and snowy stands to watch the back-and-forth battle between the Rams (3-9 overall, 1-6 in Mountain West Conference play) and Cowboys (8-4, 5-2 MW) for the Bronze Boot trophy. It was the 103rd edition of the "Border War" between the two squads, and it was UW's third-straight win in the series.
Wyoming's defense got an early test after Colorado State returned the opening kickoff 65 yards to the UW 27-yard line, but stiffened near the goal line, holding the Rams to a 21-yard field goal, which made it 3-0 CSU in the first quarter.
Junior running back Alvester Alexander proceeded to give Wyoming the lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter with a 36-yard scamper into the end zone to make it 7-3 Wyoming. The scoring drive consisted of seven plays and covered 69 yards. Alexander's score gave him 27 career rushing TDs, which puts him No. 3 on UW's all-time list.
CSU kicked another field goal with 10:56 remaining in the second quarter to draw closer, making the score 7-6.
Later in the second quarter, Wyoming's young guns showed off their skills as Smith and Doctson got together on an 80-yard catch and run TD to make it 14-6 with 10:39 left in the second quarter. That was the longest play from scrimmage for Wyoming this season.
Senior safety Tashaun Gipson picked off a Garrett Grayson pass late in the second quarter for his ninth interception of his career, moving into fourth-place all-time in UW history with four other players.
Later, with 15 seconds left in the first half, CSU had driven to the Wyoming 6-yard line. The Rams attempted a fade pass into the corner of the end zone, but sophomore corner back Marqueston Huff read the play and intercepted the ball to squash the threat. The Pokes took a 14-6 lead into halftime.
The Rams came out of the intermission and drove 87 yards in 16 plays and scored on a 4-yard run from Raymond Carter to make it 14-12, but the two-point try failed and Wyoming held a two-point lead with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter.Carter added another rushing TD later on and CSU took a 19-14 lead with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter.
The Wyoming defense held the Rams to a 32-yard field goal attempt with 12:59 left in the fourth quarter, but the kick bounced off the right upright and Wyoming kept it at a one-score game.
The Cowboys reclaimed the lead for good when Smith and Doctson connected on a 35-yard TD pass with 8:46 to go in the fourth quarter, but the ensuing two-point attempt failed. UW took a 20-19 lead on the 11 play, 90-yard drive.
With 2:43 remaining, Colorado State took possession on its own 6-yard line with intent to drive down the field for the winning score. Junior defensive tackle Mike Purcell had other ideas, and sacked CSU quarterback Garrett Grayson in the end zone for a safety. That gave Wyoming a 22-19 lead, and that proved to be the final margin.
The Cowboy defense had to snuff out another Ram scoring drive at the end of the game, as CSU took possession at its own 4-yard line with just 47 seconds left. Freshman cornerback Blair Burns picked off Grayson's pass at the Colorado State 45 to effectively end the threat, and the Cowboys went on to the win.