Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s game in Ft. Collins
LARAMIE -- That kid kept turning around and smiling at me.
As the game got closer and closer the grins kept coming. They got wider and more mean-spirited. The rage building up inside me is unexplainable. Even at just 11 years old, I knew physical violence was next on the docket.
Wait, 11? Where is this going?
Straight to crazy town. Stick with me.
We were in the Wyoming section of Hughes Stadium on Nov. 5, 1994. By "we" I mean my mom and I. Back in those days she owned a bar in downtown Cheyenne called O'Brien's. And on that night, a large bus filled with drunk, rowdy Wyoming fans headed down Interstate-25 toward Fort Collins.
It was my first game in that place. The Cowboys jumped out to commanding 24-7 lead through three quarters on the 14th-ranked Rams. It couldn't have been a sweeter start.
Plus, that punk a few rows down didn't dare glance my way during that time.
Then, it all went to hell in a hurry.
A fake punt -- or the biggest missed false start of all time, as I like to call it -- sparked the home team.
Anyone else catch the right-hand side of the Rams' line flinch?
CSU scored 28 unanswered points in the blink of an eye. With nearly five minutes to go, my stunned section watched as Rams' fans began to flood the sidelines.
That kid, coupled with what was transpiring in front of my young eyes, led to some adult words and my mom restraining me.
To make matters worse, leaving the stadium was no walk in the park. When we finally made it on the bus, CSU fans walked by and started rocking it. The place was in a total frenzy.
My hatred for that team was already high.
Watching its fans tear down the goalposts and mess with UW players and band members trying to leave the field sent me on an anti-CSU crusade for the next quarter century.
Fast forward to today.
I've been a professional sports journalist for more than a decade. When I wasn't covering the Pokes for living, you bet I was raising hell, especially this week. Things are different now. They have to be. At least publicly.
But the memories last forever.
There have been plenty of great moments in the Border War for me. "The Drive" in 1996 will always top that list. Beating them in the snow, in that place, with 94 yards to go and a WAC Championship game on the line was unforgettable. Watching Josh Wallwork and Marcus Harris dissect CSU's secondary still brings a smile to my face.
Two years later, in the mud and the cannon smoke, Jay Stoner and Co. ruining senior day for Joey Porter and Clark Haggans on senior night -- on national television -- was a thing of beauty, too.
The 35-28 victory in Laramie in 2003 is one near and dear to my heart.
For one, Wyoming was coming off four straight losses in the rivalry. You remember the Vic Koenning years, right? Joe Glenn brought a renewed sense of hope to UW fans. Beating CSU, who also featured some very unlovable characters at the time like Bradlee Van Pelt, along with Wyoming traitors Ben Stratton, Bob Vomhof and Clint Oldenburg, set off an unbelievable -- and underage -- celebration that lasted well into the workweek.
Hey, that trio had their reasons for leaving the state. Doesn't mean I have to like or accept it.
Seeing those guys leave the field with their heads down while local products like Casey Bramlet, Ryan McGuffey, Jacque Finn and Casey Adams hoisted the Bronze Boot was something special.
The Pokes' four-game win streak from 2009-12 had some awesome moments. The 44-0 Alvester Alexander five-touchdown showcase comes to mind. So does the Austyn Carta-Samuels stiff arm and the Mike Purcell safety.
Wyoming is on another four-game streak as we speak. Josh Allen shut the lights off at ol' Hughes with a 38-17 victory in 2016. Sean Chambers made his first career start at the new Canvas Stadium. He made it look easy as the visitors rolled to a 34-21 win.
Can't forget Drew Van Maanen diving for a big first-down catch in the snow in Laramie, Chase Appleby and his birthday pick-six or Blair Burns racing a 99-yard interception to the end zone.
Brett Smith owned the Rams. So did Allen and Carta-Samuels. Wallwork and Bramlet got just one win against CSU, but they were the unforgettable kind.
What's the whole point of this?
This is what rivalries are supposed to be about -- memories, passion and stories.
So, when the Pokes and Rams tee it up for the 112th time Thursday night in Fort Collins, oddly, on the same exact date that kid in '94 nearly lost his teeth, share a cold beer and a Border War story or two.
We all have one.
Here is all you need to know about Thursday's tilt down south:
WHO: Wyoming (1-1) at Colorado State (0-1)
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 70, low 40 degrees, sunny, winds at 5 mph
WHERE: Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins, Colo.
TRAVEL: WYDOT / COtrip
TV: CBSSN (Channel 158 on Dish Network; 221 on DirecTV; 94 on Verizon Fios; 734 XFinity)
RADIO: Wyoming affiliates
TICKETS: Not available to the public
BOX SCORE: ESPN
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Colorado State
VEGAS ODDS: Wyoming -3.5, O/U 54
HISTORY: CSU is 58-48-5 in the all-time series (Last meeting: 17-7 Wyoming win in 2019)
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Steve Addazio
TROPHY: Bronze Boot