Two words say it all "Border War". It is the week veteran Cowboy and Ram players know will be more intense than normal as their fan bases prepare for a rivalry that is the longest for both the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University. Saturday's game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff in Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium. Tickets to Saturday's game may be purchased by going online at GoWyo.com/tickets or by calling 877-WYO-FAN1.
This year's meeting will be the 107th meeting in the "Border War" series between the Cowboys and Rams. A series that has been played in three centuries dating back to the first meeting in 1899. It will also mark the 70th consecutive season the two schools have played. That streak dates back to the 1946 season after the end of World War II.
For the 48th time, the two schools will be battling for possession of the Bronze Boot traveling trophy, which was introduced into the series in 1968. The Bronze Boot trophy was created from an actual boot worn in Vietnam by Dan Romero, a former CSU ROTC instructor.
Wyoming leads by one game in the Bronze Boot series, winning 24 times since 1968 to CSU's 23. In the last 69 consecutive meetings since the series was resumed in 1946, the Cowboys have won 39 times to the Rams' 30 wins. Colorado State leads the overall series with 57 wins to Wyoming's 44. There have been four ties in the history of the "Border War".
The makeup of the two teams' rosters adds to the rivalry. Wyoming will enter Saturday's game with 10 players from the state of Wyoming and 25 from the state of Colorado on its roster. CSU has 51 players from the state of Colorado on its roster this season.
Wyoming's offense will be led by running back Brian Hill, who ranks second in the nation in rushing entering this week. Hill has ran for 1,262 yards on the season. Only LSU's Leonard Fournette, who has rushed for 1,352 yards in 2015, has more. Last week versus Utah State, Hill ran for 201 yards, becoming the first Cowboy in school history to rush for 200 yards in four or more games during a career. He also surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career, and will enter Saturday's game with 2,058 rushing yards. Hill needs 194 yards in the final three games of the season to set a new UW single-season rushing record. He needs 69 yards to break into the UW career Top 10.
Yarbrough, who has earned First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors the past two seasons, played his high school football at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colo. He recorded one tackle for a loss last week at Utah State to improve his career total to 34.5. He needs only 1.5 more tackles for loss to tie former Cowboy and former Colorado native John Fletcher for No. 1 on the UW career list. Yarbrough has averaged 5.0 tackles per game this season, and he ranks No. 2 in the conference among all defensive linemen in that category.
Wingard, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year last year for the state of Colorado, has averaged 9.6 tackles per game this season to rank No. 3 in the MW and No. 21 nationally. He leads all Mountain West defensive backs in tackles for 2015. Wingard is making on average 6.1 solo tackles per game, which leads the league and ranks 14th nationally among all players at all positions.
Another native Coloradoan, junior punter Ethan Wood from Liberty High School in Colorado Springs, was honored this past week by being selected as a candidate for the 2015 Ray Guy Award, which honors the top collegiate punter in the nation each season.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Smith impressed in his first career start versus Utah State last week. Smith completed 10 of 18 pass attempts (55.6 percent) for 83 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran the ball 19 times for 53 yards and scored a TD rushing. Smith ended the day with 136 yards of total offense and a QB rating of 130.96.
Smith and redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman were listed as co-starters for this Saturday's game versus CSU. Coffman is coming back from a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago at Boise State. He did not play in last week's game at Utah State.
Wyoming is 1-8 overall this season and 1-4 in league play. Colorado State is 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the Mountain West. Wyoming's one conference win came over Nevada in the Pokes' most recent home game on Oct. 17. CSU's lone conference win was also in an Oct. 17 home game versus Air Force.
Colorado State is led on offense by one of the league's top receivers in Rashard Higgins. Higgins leads the Mountain West and ranks 21st nationally in receptions, averaging 6.57 per game. He was an All-American a year ago in 2014, but has been hampered by a hamstring injury this season. Wyoming's top receiver Tanner Gentry, who like Yarbrough played his high school football at Grandview High in Aurora, Colo., was ruled out for Saturday's game by head coach Craig Bohl earlier this week. Gentry is No. 2 in the league and 15th in the nation in receiving yards this season (96.9 yards per game).
Sophomore quarterback Nick Stevens runs the Ram offense. Stevens is third in the league in passing (211.4 yards per game) and second in total offense (213.6). UW's Coffman ranks No. 2 in the league in passing (224.9) and third in total offense (212.0).
On defense, junior linebacker Kevin Davis averages 8.0 tackles per game to lead the Rams and rank seventh in the MW. He also ranks fifth in the conference in tackles for loss, with 10.5 on the year.
Saturday's game will be televised on ESPN3. Cowboy fans may also listen to the game on radio over the Cowboy Sports Network. The CSN broadcast will begin with the pregame show one hour prior to kick off.