FACTS & STATS: Site: Hughes Stadium (30,000) — Fort Collins, Colorado.
Television: ROOT Sports. Home Record: Wyoming 3-1, CSU 3-0. Away Record:
Wyoming 0-3, CSU 2-1. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, CSU 1-0. Conference Record:
Wyoming 1-2, CSU 2-1. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 55-44-5.
GAME NOTES: Riding their longest single-season win streak in more than a
decade, the Colorado State Rams saddle up to challenge the Wyoming Cowboys in
the annual Border War this weekend at Hughes Stadium.
The Rams, who have won five straight decisions since losing to Boise State in
the Mountain West Conference opener (37-24) back on Sept. 6, are bowl eligible
after just seven games. The squad managed to survive against Utah State last
Saturday by a score of 16-13 at home.
Colorado State, which has been playing football since 1893, now has a total of
Meanwhile, the Cowboys started out the 2014 campaign well enough with three
wins through the first four games, but the team has since dropped three in a
row. The latest setback came in overtime last Saturday as the squad bowed to
San Jose State at home, 27-20.
Colorado State whipped up on the Pokes last season in Laramie, registering a
52-22 victory, pushing its lead in the all-time series to 55-44-5 as a result.
The Cowboys could have easily worked their way back into the win column last
week, but after missing what could have been the game-winning field goal with
only seconds remaining in regulation, the team ended up allowing a touchdown
to San Jose State in overtime. Kicker Stuart Williams had made both of his
earlier field goal attempts, but those were from only 19 and 36 yards away,
the last chance was at a distance of 46 yards.
Quarterback Colby Kirkegaard converted just 11 of his 27 passes for 119 yards.
Running back Shaun Wick not only ran for a game-high 97 net yards and scored
once on the ground, he also caught a team-best four balls for another 27 yards
Defensively, the Pokes were given a boost by Blair Burns who returned a fumble
63 yards for a score, accounting for the only points of the third quarter.
Burns, who had six tackles, was also credited with a forced fumble, as was
Eddie Yarbrough who posted 3.5 tackles for loss and the only two sacks of the
outing for Wyoming.
Unfortunately for Wyoming, sacks have been extremely hard to come by this
season. The unit as a whole has but six through seven games, compared to 28
for the competition. The other area in which the Pokes are lacking is in pass
defense, or more specifically, interceptions. Already midway through the
campaign, Wyoming is the only FBS school yet to pick off a pass, and still the
team is a respectable minus-0.14 in turnovers per contest.
Kirkegaard is a serviceable passer these days, converting 56.9 percent of his
attempts for seven TDs, but also six INTs. Dominic Rufran continues to be his
favorite target, something all defenses already know, resulting in 27 catches
for 402 yards, but the receiver has yet to make his way into the end zone.
Wick is holding his own in the rushing attack, averaging 101.0 ypg and he has
scored five TDs while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
Despite their lowest point total of the season, the Rams still came out on top
against Utah State last weekend, partly due to the fact that the CSU defense
knocked out quarterback Darrell Garretson and was able to handle yet another
backup USU signal caller.
Garrett Grayson, who had to pick himself up off the turf following eight
sacks, did convert 20-of-31 passes for 243 yards, but he failed to get any of
his completions into the end zone. Instead, it was running back Dee Hart with
60 yards and a TD on 12 carries, while kicker Jared Roberts converted three of
his four field goal tries.
Grayson, now with five career fourth-quarter comebacks, is also now the all-
time leading passer in terms of yardage in Colorado State history, his 7,250
yards surpassing the 7,142 yards generated by Kelly Stouffer almost three
decades ago. The signal caller has completed 63.4 percent of his attempts for
295.1 ypg and a total of 16 TDs, against only five INTs.
Providing the greatest outlet for Grayson is wide receiver Rashard Higgins,
who is among the nation’s best with 54 catches for 963 yards and 10
While Higgins attacks down the field, Hart has become a solid contributor in
the run game with 6.3 yards per attempt and a total of 603 yards and six TDs
on the season.
While Grayson, Higgins and Hart take care of the offense for the Rams, Aaron
Davis leads the charge on the other side of the ball with his team-best 64
tackles. Although he is much further down on the total tackles list with just
25, Joe Kawulok leads the unit with 3.5 sacks and has one of its blocked kicks
as well. However, what the Rams do not have is a recovered fumble by a
defensive player at this stage of the campaign.
Capable of attacking opponents both on the ground and through the air, the
Rams have become a tough team to slow down these days. CSU may not be a
dominant beast in any one particular area, but when you add all the pieces
together it is clear that the Rams are a tough out in the MWC this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 37, Wyoming 17