Oct. 19, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- The Colorado State Rams are bringing the Bronze Boot back home to Fort Collins for the first time in five years after defeating Border War rival Wyoming 52-22 Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
The 52 points are the most scored by Colorado State in a Border War game since 1922 when the Rams defeated the Cowboys 60-0 in Laramie. The 30-point margin of victory is the largest for Colorado State (3-4, 1-1 MW) over Wyoming (4-3, 2-1) since 1925, when CSU defeated Wyoming 40-0 in Fort Collins.
The Rams built their most dominant win of the season around a solid defensive performance that limited Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith and an offense that rushed for 290 yards, converted 8 of 14 third-down chances and held the ball for 35:27 to Wyoming's 24:33.
"Today was a great win for so many people; this rivalry means so much on both sides," Head Coach Jim McElwain said. "This game was a good one, and I am so happy for our seniors. I had to take a minute and realize what all this means. It was nothing about me today, it's all about those kids in the locker room that have accepted this challenge and had a goal."
Junior quarterback Garrett Grayson completed 18 of his 23 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns, marking the third consecutive game that the junior has thrown for three touchdowns, tying his career high. Grayson is the first CSU quarterback since Terry Nugent in 1982 to throw for three touchdowns in three consecutive games.
Sophomore running back Kapri Bibbs had a career day, rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, while fellow sophomore Donnell Alexander rushed for a score and added a 34-yard touchdown reception from Grayson on a pretty one-handed grab down the west sideline.
Defensively, senior Curtis Wilson sacked Smith twice among the Rams' six tackles-for-loss, sophomore Trent Matthews and senior Shaquil contributed interceptions of Smith passes and junior Max Morgan led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo).
"We had some great individual performances but those individual performances would not have happened if it weren't for the whole team," McElwain said. "We did a good job of keeping them off the field and defensively we stayed in our rush lanes and stayed in coverage."
Colorado State got off to a picture-perfect start, marching down the field on their opening drive for a touchdown. Using just four plays and taking 1:36 off the clock, CSU went 75 yards and found the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown pass from junior Grayson to junior tight end Kivon Cartwright. It was Cartwright's fifth touchdown in the last three games.
The quick start was only a sign of what was to come for a Rams offense that continues to put up impressive numbers week after week. The difference today was maintaining consistency from start to finish.
After forcing the Cowboys into consecutive three-and-outs, the Rams' offense took the field just 40 yards away from the end zone. CSU needed just five plays to cover that distance as it capped off the 1:38 drive with a 3-yard touchdown run from Alexander to give the Rams a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
As its defense continued to frustrate the Cowboys, Colorado State's offense maintained its efficiency against its rival. With 3:52 left in the first half, Bibbs found the end zone from seven yards out for the first of his three scores on the day and stake CSU to a 21-0 lead.
On its next drive, Wyoming finally got things moving a bit better and finished off an 11-play 75-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run from Shaun Wick with 55 seconds left in the half.
Just as it did all day, a big key for Colorado State was the way it responded with what little time it had left in the half, robbing the home Cowboys of snagging all the momentum heading to the locker room.
The Rams drove 35 yards from their own 38 yard line in just 52 seconds to set up a 45-yard Jared Roberts field goal to push their lead to 24-7 at the intermission.
The second half began just as the first half did for CSU, as Barrett picked off Smith's throw on the Wyoming 26 yard line after sophomore cornerback Jasen Oden deflected the pass. On the second play of the drive, Grayson rolled left and found junior wide receiver Austin Gray open for a 22-yard touchdown. It was Gray's first career reception and came at an important time, helping to set a tone that CSU would not suffer the same second-half offensive doldrums that plagued it in a narrow loss just one week earlier to San Jose State.
The Cowboys answered with a quick 71-yard touchdown strike from Smith to Dominic Rufran. A successful two-point conversion brought Wyoming to within 16 points of CSU at 31-15, but that would be as close as the Cowboys would get on the day.
The Rams again responded with three consecutive touchdowns to push the lead to 52-15. The first touchdown came with 7:26 left in the third quarter. Facing 3rd-and-6, Grayson saw a mismatch with Alexander that he thought he could exploit. Lined up against a linebacker, Alexander hauled in the Grayson pass with one-handed catch and finished off the rest for a 34-yard touchdown.
With 11:24 left in the game, Bibbs again found the end zone with an electrifying 59-yard touchdown run up the middle. After a quick turnover gave the Rams the ball back on the Wyoming 15 yard line, Bibbs crossed the 200-yard mark and scored his third touchdown of the day with a 9-yard run.
Bibbs' 201 rushing yards were the most by a Ram since Chris Nwoke galloped for 269 vs. Air Force on Nov. 26, 2011. It was his second game of the year with at least 100 yards rushing and the third by a CSU rusher this year.
McElwain, who claimed his first true road win as the Rams' head coach, took advantage of the opportunity to insert many second- and third-team players late in the game, when the Cowboys added a final touchdown with 3:58 to play, producing the final score of 52-22.
Colorado State will stay on the road as it travels to Hawai'i to take on the Warriors on Oct. 26 for another important Mountain West matchup. The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network and is slated to begin at 10 p.m. MT.
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