Cowboys and Rams Meet in 106th Border War Saturday

Oct. 21, 2014


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The 106th meeting of the "Border War" will take place on Saturday when the Wyoming Cowboys and Colorado State Rams play in Fort Collins. The game is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. from CSU's Hughes Stadium. Wyoming and Colorado State first played each other in football in 1899. The series has spanned three centuries, with this year's meeting marking the 115th anniversary of that first game. The series is the longest for both schools. Wyoming trails in the overall series 44-56-5. Since the end of World War II, the two teams have played for 69 consecutive seasons, beginning in 1946. Wyoming leads the series in the last 68 meetings by a margin of 39-29-0.

Wyoming enters this Saturday's game with a 3-4 overall record and a 1-2 record in the Mountain West Conference this season. Colorado State is 6-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

The Cowboys and Rams will be competing for the Bronze Boot traveling trophy for the 47th time this Saturday. The traveling trophy was established in 1968. Captain Dan Romero, a CSU Army ROTC graduate, wore the actual boot in combat in Vietnam from 1966-67. In 1968, CSU Army ROTC cadre member Maj. Vic Fernandez introduced the idea of the Bronze Boot as a traveling trophy between the two schools, and Romero donated his combat boot, which was bronzed and placed on a wooden base. Wyoming leads the Bronze Boot portion of the series 24-22.

The Border War rivalry always features numerous players and coaches with ties to one another. The regional makeup of both teams' rosters features many players who grew up playing with or against one another. There are 10 players on the 2014 Wyoming roster who came to UW from the state of Wyoming and 20 who hail from the state of Colorado. Of the 20 Colorado Cowboys, 13 have starting experience for the Pokes. CSU has 44 players listed on its roster from Colorado. There are no players from Wyoming on the 2014 CSU roster.

This year's Border War game will feature some unique ties between the two teams' coaching staffs. Wyoming Defensive Coordinator Steve Stanard was previously the defensive coordinator at Colorado State from 2003-07. Current Colorado State Co-Defensive Coordinator Marty English was previously the defensive coordinator at Wyoming from 2009-11, and coached the Cowboy linebackers from 2003-08. Two other staff members with the CSU football program have former ties to Wyoming Football. CSU Director of Recruiting Operations Tim LeRoy served as a graduate assistant football coach at Wyoming in 1999. CSU Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Michael Ray played safety for the Cowboy Football team from 2005-08, and served as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Wyoming from 2011-13.

Wyoming's defense will play a key role in Saturday's game. The UW defense enters this week having converted a turnover into an immediate touchdown in each of the past two weeks. On Oct. 11 at Hawai'i, senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha forced a fumble when sacking the Hawai'i quarterback and fellow senior linebacker Devyn Harris picked up the loose ball and returned it 78 yards to give Wyoming a 14-0 lead. On Oct. 18 vs. San Jose State, senior cornerback Blair Burns ripped the ball loose from a Spartan running back and proceeded to take the forced fumble 63 yards for the score and tie the game at 10-10.

A trio of Cowboys moved up University of Wyoming career charts last week. Senior wide receiver Dominic Rufran, junior running back Shaun Wick and junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough all made moves up career charts.

Rufran extended his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 44 games. That is the longest current active streak in the NCAA. He is chasing former Cowboy Jovon Bouknight, who caught a pass in 47 consecutive games from 2002-05. Rufran also ranks No. 6 on UW's career reception list (185) and No. 7 in career receiving yards (2,293).

Yarbrough recorded 3.5 tackles for loss against San Jose State to improve his career total to 23.5. That moved him into the No. 5 spot in UW history in career tackles for loss.

Wick scored his 18th career rushing touchdown vs. San Jose State to move into 10th place in UW history. Wick ranks No. 11 in career rushing yards (2,036) at UW. Wick not only ranks among the top running backs in the nation this season (currently ranked 26th in the NCAA in rushing yards this season), but he has shown an ability to break big runs against some of the nation's top teams. Here are some stats on his big runs this season. Wick has broken 21 runs of 10 or more yards this season. He has had 15 runs of 15 or more yards his junior season. Wick has had nine runs of 20 or more yards in the 2014 season. He has had five rushing plays of 40 or more yards. Wick has scored three of his five rushing touchdowns this season on big plays, including TD runs of 20, 48 and 57 yards. His longest rushing plays of the season have been: 40 yards vs. Florida Atlantic, 41 yards vs. Florida Atlantic, 42 yards versus Oregon, 48 yards for a TD against San Jose State and 57 yards for a TD against Michigan State.

Four Cowboys have been recognized as Midseason All-Mountain West selections by Phil Steele's College Football. Those four are: Mark Nzeocha, senior linebacker, First Team Midseason All-MW Defense; Shaun Wick, junior running back, Second Team Midseason All-MW Offense; and Darren White, senior free safety, and Eddie Yarbrough, junior defensive end, Second Team Midseason All-MW Defense.

Saturday's game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS Rocky Mountain beginning at 5 p.m., Mountain Time. The game will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Networks, beginning with the pregame show at 4 p.m. on Saturday.