LAS VEGAS -- Chad Muma doesn't know if Colorado State's Trey McBride is the best tight end in the Mountain West, but he did crown him for one of his many talents -- trash talking.

"There's no doubt he's the best at that," Wyoming's junior linebacker joked last week at the league's media day festivities in Las Vegas. "He's always got something to say."

The media voted Nevada's Cole Turner as the top returning tight end in the conference, but McBride was honored none the less to be thought of as being the best at something.

"That's good. I guess once I'm out there, I don't really know what I say but maybe I get after it a little bit," McBride said with a smile. "I'm a competitor. I'm definitely sure I've said some things. I definitely get it back, too. It's definitely both ways.

"I guess that's an honor."

The Rams' 6-foot-4, 260-pound junior from Fort Morgan talked the talk and walked the walk in the annual Border War in 2020, snagging five balls for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a rare 34-24 win over the Cowboys, McBride's first victory in the series in his career.

Muma was tasked with covering McBride. So was Charles Hicks, Keonte Glinton, Esaias Gandy and anyone else who dared get in his way.

Wyoming wasn't the only victim, either.

McBride rumbled for 130 yards and a score against Fresno State. He added another touchdown catch against Boise State and tallied 62 yards in what would be the premature season finale against San Diego State.

That's 22 catches for 330 yards and four touchdowns in just four games.

 

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COVID-19 altered the Rams' schedule maybe more so than any other team in the conference. What was supposed to be an eight-game debut for new head coach Steve Addazio was cut in half and featured a layoff of nearly a month between Nov. 12 and Dec. 5.

The pandemic took plenty away from McBride and his teammates, but it's also a major part of the reason he decided to return to Fort Collins this season despite briefly entering the NCAA Transfer Portal last August and kicking around the idea of leaving early for the NFL.

"I think, I just didn't want to leave on a short year," McBride said. "It wasn't quite what I wanted. Ultimately, there's a lot of things that you can still improve on. You can never be the best, you can never be perfect. So that's something I always strive to continue working on my game, mentally, physically, you know, try to be a better leader, a better person, and just ultimately, get me ready to go this season."

There's another reason McBride is returning. His brother Toby McBride was granted an additional season thanks to the NCAA ruling that essentially made 2020 a mulligan.

"That's always special," he said. "You know, I'm very fortunate that I have the opportunity to play with my brother. I'm excited that he's decided to come back for one more year. He's like 30 years old now or something, I don't know. But I'm excited to play one more year with him."

Following Toby has become a theme.

The 6-foot-3, 270-pound defensive end was once a Wyoming recruit. So was Trey. When the elder McBride decided CSU was the place for him, that became the landing spot for little brother, too.

Was Wyoming ever truly in the mix?

"You know, I really did like Wyoming," Trey McBride said. "Coach (Craig) Bohl and his staff, they do a really good job. He actually reminds me a lot of coach Addazio. They kind of have the same traits. I did look at Wyoming. I went on visits, they had an unbelievable facility they just built, but ultimately it worked to where I could stay in state and play for my home state ... It's close to home and I love Fort Collins and what they've done for me and my family.

"... I felt at home in Fort Collins. It definitely helped that Toby was here and could comfort me and show me the way. It was definitely a factor, but not the ultimate decision."

McBride had never been part of a team that beat Colorado, Air Force or Wyoming, the Rams' three main rivals. CSU was zero for its last 12 in those contests. McBride was 0-6.

Last November, inside an empty Canvas Stadium, the Rams finally won. In fact, it was their lone win of the season. There were no fans to celebrate with. That was admittedly weird for McBride, but it didn't matter in that moment.

"It's definitely special," he said of knocking off Wyoming. "You know, as a Colorado guy, that game means a lot. It's very special. It's it's one of the biggest games of the year. So coming out victorious on that game is ultimately the goal. Hoisting that Bronze Boot in Fort Collins is very special.

"We plan on doing that again in Laramie this year."

Muma and McBride hung out together in Las Vegas. Both are from Colorado. Both received offers from each other's schools.

McBride joked that he's tried to get under Muma's skin inside the white lines though Wyoming's middle linebacker rarely obliges with a response.

"He's a hard player, his motor continues to run," McBride said of Muma. "He's a good kid. It's unfortunate he left the state, but I'm excited to play against him again."

With this new found friendship, will the chirping stop?

"No, not at all," McBride laughed. "We're there for one reason ...  There are no friends on the football field."

We'll see who gets the last laugh Nov. 6 inside War Memorial Stadium.

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