FORT COLLINS, Colo., -- Four straight years the Cowboys have won this game.

Four straight years Wyoming's bench has bolted for the Bronze Boot at the final whistle.

Four straight years players have gathered and bounced as the all-too-familiar chant rings out, "It sucks to be a CSU Ram."

Not this year.

Colorado State capitalized on early UW miscues, built an early 17-0 lead, and fended off any and all attempts at a Cowboy comeback in the 112th version of the Border War.

“The boot belongs in Fort Collins,” CSU tight end Trey McBride said after the Rams' 34-24 victory Thursday night at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins. "Going out there and getting that boot — holding it, kissing it, loving on it — it’s just exciting to have it back."




CSU snapped a four-game losing streak in this series. The Rams also peeled a 500-pound gorilla off their collective backs -- they finally won a rivalry game. That 0-12 mark against Colorado, Air Force and Wyoming that likely cost Mike Bobo his job is now a thing of the past.

"It’s the best energy I’ve felt since I’ve been here," CSU quarterback Patrick O’Brien said. "The boot has been gone from Fort Collins for a long time. It’s really special for me."

Chad Muma was a sophomore at Legend High School in Lone Tree, Colo., the last time CSU hoisted that trophy.

This rivalry is nothing new for Wyoming's junior middle linebacker, though. His father Ty Muma was a Cowboy. His grandfather, Rick Desmarais, also played football in Laramie.

Muma talked about the difficulty of watching that bench explode onto the field and head toward the Cowboys' bench and their most prized possession.

"It definitely hurt seeing those guys run over there and for it not to be us," he said. "That's definitely the first time that's happened to me. It gives me fire to do better this season, and especially next year, the next time we get to see them."

Wyoming quarterback Levi Williams was a freshman at Smithson Valley High School in Canyon Lake, Texas, when CSU knocked off the Cowboys 26-7 back in 2015.

Though he is new to all of this, he did get a taste of the rivalry last fall when the Pokes held off the Rams 17-7 inside a frigid War Memorial Stadium. That was Williams' first collegiate action. He scored his first career touchdown that night.

The redshirt freshman didn't mince words when it came to his feelings about the situation.

"It pisses me off, frankly," he said. "We should've won this game. We shot ourselves in the foot way too many times: stupid penalties, not finishing in the red zone, miscommunication with personnel. You name it, we did it this game. We've got to clean it up. It was a short week but that's no excuse for the performance we put out there.

"That was not good. It was poor."

Though dropping this game was never in the plans, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said he doesn't blame his team for the strong emotions following the loss.

"This loss stings," he said. "Watching them run across to grab the trophy, those things hurt. It's OK to be upset and disappointed. We did some good things but we got to recognize we can play better and clean stuff up." 

CSU now holds a 59-48-5 advantage in the overall series, dating back to 1899. The Cowboys have claimed the Bronze Boot 28 times in 53 tries since its inception back in 1968.