Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 6 CSU tailbacks vs. No. 11 Rocky Long
LARAMIE -- There's a few things that can land you on a list like this one.
Beating Wyoming with regularity certainly makes you a thorn in the side. Making stupid decisions will also draw the ire of fans. Being an all-round jerk will do it, too.
This is our version of the Un-Sweet 16, pitting the biggest villains in Wyoming Cowboys football history against one another and eventually crowning the worst of the worst. This won't be our opinion, it's yours. You can vote for who will advance to the next round by clicking on the box at the bottom of this page.
We did our best to round up the ultimate enemy of the Cowboy State. We reached out to people in the know, from different decades of UW football. Don't be surprised to see plenty of rivals on this list.
Here's today's matchup:
No. 6 CSU running backs vs. No. 11 Rocky Long
Steve Bartolo. Damon Washington. Kevin McDougal. Cecil Sapp.
The list of studs to line up in Colorado State's backfield is an impressive one. And those four serve as a sample size.
Ready to cringe?
Daylyn Dawkins. Alvin Lewis. Ron Harris. Lawrence McCutcheon. Gartrell Johnson. Oscar Reed. Kyle Bell. Calvin Branch.
No matter the Rams' record, they always seem to have a 1,000-yard back blowing holes in defenses. They always seem to be big, powerful.
Sapp is a guy who never lost a game to the Cowboys. The future Denver Bronco helped CSU clinch a Mountain West title in 2000 after snagging a 41-yard touchdown pass and breaking into the open field for a 64-yard scoring run.
Two years later, Sapp gashed the Pokes to the tune of 143 yards on a game-high 34 carries. He found the end zone twice in that 44-36 victory. CSU claimed yet another conference crown that season.
Sapp capped his career in Fort Collins as the school's eighth all-time leading rusher. Think about that for a second -- eighth.
There's no doubt, CSU has had some legit ball carriers. Many that still give UW fans nightmares to this day.
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Now, Rocky Long isn't exactly an unlikeable guy. In fact, he has ties to Laramie and served as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator from 1981-85.
Long makes this list because of how dominant he has been against Wyoming on the opposing sideline.
As the head coach at New Mexico from 1998-2008, Long knocked off the Pokes eight times in 10 meetings, including a six-game winning streak in the series. Unfortunately for Wyoming fans, Long's next career move landed him ... in the Mountain West Conference.
Long became the defensive coordinator at San Diego State in 2009. During his two seasons in that role, the Aztecs and Cowboys both won a game. He was promoted to head coach in 2011, and over a nine-year tenure, he took four of six games from Wyoming, including a victory in the conference title game in 2016.
To make matters worse, Long's brief retirement was, well, brief. And, once again, he stayed in the league, returning to Albuquerque to take over the defense at his alma mater.
New Mexico has won just five games since his return to the desert. Two of those have come against Craig Bohl's bunch.
In 2020, a year marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lobos didn't play one of their seven games inside their home state, instead setting up camp at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, former home of the UNLV Rebels.
UNM stunned the visiting Cowboys that season, 17-16, snapping an FBS-worst 14-game losing streak. They had also dropped 20 straight MW games coming in.
Last fall, the Lobos limped into Laramie on a five-game skid. The week prior, CSU handed them a 36-7 home loss. UNM racked up a grand total of 69 yards on offense in that loss to the Rams, including just 16 through the air.
Then came one of the most head-scratching setbacks in UW history.
New Mexico featured a surprise option attack on offense and Long's defense held the Cowboys to just a single field goal in the 14-3 upset. Wyoming rushed for just 108 yards on 36 carries. That's an average of three yards per attempt.
Long did it again.
After he left SDSU after the 2019 season, I asked Bohl if he thought about calling his old friend and offering him the vacant DC position in Laramie. You can read what he had to say about that right HERE.
So, who do you consider more of a villain? Vote here:
* No. 1 LaVell Edwards vs. No. 16 Donnel Pumphrey (Edwards 98% of the vote)
* No. 2 Kyle Whittingham vs. No. 15 Morgan Bros. (Whittingham 90% of the vote)
* No. 3 Bradlee Van Pelt vs. No. 14 Philip Dubois (Van Pelt 63% of the vote)
* No. 4 BYU Quarterbacks vs. No. 13 Troy Calhoun (Calhoun 62% of the vote)
* No. 5 Local Turncoats vs. No. 12 Urban Meyer (Turncoats 61% of the vote)