Gear up for gameday: CSU
FORT COLLINS, Colo., -- That logo. That horned helmet. Those colors.
Those elements have always brought out certain emotions for me, mainly rage. That will happen when your first road game in the series featured 28 unanswered points and a blown 24-7 lead late in the third quarter.
The year was 1994. I was all of 11 years old.
I remember talking trash in the stands inside Hughes Stadium. With a lead like that, it's warranted. My parents owned a bar in downtown Cheyenne in those days. My mom told me if I finished my book report, I could join her and dozens of rowdy, drunk Wyoming fans on a coach bus.
I "read" every word of that novel and quickly jammed out a paper. I'm certain I aced that one. There was no way in hell I was missing that game. I had been to many Border Wars before, all in Laramie. This was a chance to slip behind enemy lines and waltz out of their house, chest out, and let's be real, probably middle fingers flying.
I always keep it classy.
Now, I realize the start to this story probably makes it look like I was raised by wolves. I assure you, that wasn't the case. To this day I don't curse -- or try not to, anyway -- in front of my mom. However, it was always an unspoken rule in my house that CSU and BYU were fair game.
To this day I am thankful my mom allowed me to go all in on this rivalry.
Now, that night was brutal. A fake punt sparked the entire thing. Van Ward and Jeremy Burkett found the end zone with in a span of 62 seconds. The entire thing completely unraveled. When it was clear the Rams were going to pull it off and move to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the Western Athletic Conference, forcing a three-way tie for first place with BYU and Utah, fans -- mainly students -- started falling over the concrete wall that surrounded the stadium.
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS FROM 7220SPORTS:
* Know Wyoming's foe: CSU Rams
* UW's John Hoyland named semifinalist for Groza Award
* Wyoming's Zach Watts seeks fourth Border War win
* 114th Border War kicks off Saturday night in Fort Collins
* McGraw: 'Don't send my boy to Wyoming U'
* Week 10: Around the Mountain West Conference
* Wyoming Football: News and notes ahead of CSU
The field-goal posts were coming down. The only question remaining was whether or not the hoard would allow the game clock to expire first.
I watched the whole thing transpire. It was painful. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't tears welling up in my young eyes. I was absolutely livid.
Final: CSU 35, Wyoming 24
The crowd rushed the field. The yellow pipes didn't stand a chance. Wyoming's team was surrounded, the band left scurrying. It was the very definition of chaos. I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't scared. It got even worse when we made our way to that big dirt parking lot. We quickly loaded on to the bus, but CSU fans noticed us -- and our license plates. A handful started rocking the sides.
I'll never forget that night. In fact, in a sick way, I'm almost thankful for it.
Yes, we always hated that team, but now, it was very real. While most patrons on that ride home claimed they would never dream of going back to Hughes Stadium, I couldn't wait to get back. I needed to walk out of that place after a win.
My dream came true two years later when the Pokes knocked off the Rams on a snowy, frozen afternoon. It took a 96-yard game-winning drive to get it done, but that made it even sweeter. Wyoming pulled off the 25-24 victory and punched its ticket to the WAC title game.
That was so fun the Cowboys decided to do it again in 1998. In the mud, with smoke hovering in the winter air, Jay Stoner and the visitors hammered CSU, 27-19. I'll never forget grinning ear to ear as we waited in a sea of cars to leave that parking lot. Why? Joey Porter was on the radio, sniffling and crying during his postgame interview. Wyoming smacked him in his last game in that stadium.
Man, I'm petty, but that felt amazing.
I've now witnessed, in person, five victories on the Rams' home turf. The feeling doesn't get old.
If that number climbs to six Saturday night, it will be a much different experience for me. I won't be 12 beers deep (That's a conservative number) in the stands, I'll be pounding the keys inside the Canvas Stadium press box. While the role has changed, the feelings don't.
Better yet, they can't.
I'm a Wyoming boy.
Here is all you need to know -- and the links -- for tonight's tilt in FoCo:
WHO: Wyoming (6-3, 4-1) at Colorado State (2-7, 2-3)
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 47, low of 22, winds at 5 mph
WHERE: Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins, Colo. (41,000 capacity)
TV: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
BOX SCORE: ESPN
ROSTERS: Wyoming / CSU
BETMGM ODDS: UW -8.5, O/U 42.5 (Subject to change)
HISTORY: CSU leads 59-49-5 (UW won 31-17 in 2021)
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Jay Norvell