Over the years, the annual Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming has had its share of memorable games, with their share of jubilation and heartbreak.
Saturday’s game was another that could have gone either way. Wyoming left Canvas Stadium with a 14-13 victory, but it left the Rams asking themselves many “what if” questions.
What if quarterback Clay Millen hadn’t thrown an interception in the end zone in the second quarter and the Rams had scored on that possession to go ahead 17-0?
What if Tory Horton hadn’t muffed a punt return in the fourth quarter to set the Cowboys up at the CSU 33-yard line? Wyoming scored the go-ahead touchdown a few plays later.
What if Michael Boyle had made his 40-yard field goal attempt with 4:48 remaining in the game?
Had just one of those scenarios gone in CSU’s favor, it likely would have been hoisting the Bronze Boot instead of watching the Cowboys celebrate with it.
“The two turnovers we had, the interception in the red zone and the punt return were really critical,” CSU head coach Jay Norvell said at his weekly Monday news conference. “We had a chance to hit a field goal at the end that would have gave us the lead and that’s a real makeable kick. We have to follow through on those things.”
CSU now has two games remaining on its schedule — another rivalry game against a tough Air Force team this week and then its season finale at home against New Mexico the day after Thanksgiving.
Saturday’s game against Wyoming wasn’t the first time the Rams could have flipped the script and earned a conference victory. Their 17-13 loss to Utah State could have gone either way as well. So could their 28-16 loss to San Jose State two weeks ago.
Over the next two weeks, the Rams will look to clean up those mistakes and end the season on a positive note. They need one victory to match last year’s win total of three.
“We’re doing a lot of things right,” Norvell said. “We have to learn to finish. But since we started the conference season, there’s really only two teams that have beat us — Boise and CSU. We got beat pretty handily by Boise, but every other game that we’ve been in, it has been mistakes that have beaten us. We have to stop the unforced errors, the penalties, the turnovers. Those are all things that we have to learn how to overcome and that is part of learning how to win.”
The Rams’ offense again showed its potential, racking up 372 yards. Clay Millen passed for 251 yards, 168 of those to Tory Horton — who also had a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was Horton’s fourth 100-yard game of the season. Running back Avery Morrow rushed for 104 yards, his fifth 100-yard game of the season.
CSU’s defense again played well, allowing the Cowboys only 236 yards of offense while coming up with an interception.
The Rams still feel like they have a breakout game in them. However, they are running out of chances to show it.
“We just need to fix a couple of things here and there in the red zone and clean some of those little things up because we are making the big plays down the field,” CSU junior tight end Peter Montini said. “We just need the little ones here and there, to clean those up.”
Six walk-ons awarded scholarships
On Monday, Norvell announced that six walk-ons have been awarded scholarships.
Running back Keegan Holles, offensive lineman Keegan Hamilton, linebacker Drew Kulick, kickers Michael Boyle and Henry Katleman, and safety Ayden Hector were each told individually of their scholarships before Norvell made the announcement before the entire team Monday.
Holles, Hamilton and Kulick are all in-state products. Holles went to Cherry Creek, Hamilton to Rock Canyon and Kulick to Regis Jesuit.
“It was really important to award those kids scholarships,” Norvell said. “They are going to be a big part of our future here. We worked hard to find quality walk-on players that can come in and prove that they can be productive players. Those guys have played a significant role for us. We really, as a staff, appreciate them.”
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