As usual, I start with my top key for Wyoming in Saturday’s Border War football game with Colorado State:
Keep emotions in check: The Border War is an important game for both squads, and more often than not emotions are amped up for the players. That’s fine, but you still have to execute the game plan. The team that does that the best has the upper hand. Emotion is a good thing, but not when it leads to mistakes. How both teams manage their emotions will be key, especially early in the game.
Here is my preview of the game:
— One of the more interesting things about this game is it features similar offenses. Colorado State, like UW, runs a pro-style offense. It uses fullbacks, as does UW. The Cowboys haven’t faced an offense like this in 2015, and has to go back to fall
camp and spring ball when going against it. Not sure what that will mean for both teams today. Defensive coordinator Steve Stanard said it will be important for UW to stay on top of Colorado State’s talented wide receives and now allow them to complete long passes — especially in the play-action pass game.
Speaking of Stanard, he’s been on both ends of the Border War as a coach. He was an assistant at Colorado State from 2003-07.
“My impression is I think (the game) means a lot to the people of Wyoming, the university and this football program. Our guys hopefully will have on a chip on shoulder and and edge for what the Bronze Boot means to this state. I enjoy playing in it. I love the importance of this game. The bragging rights are nice when I go to Fort Collins and see friends I have there and we have the Boot up here.”
Stanard said the game meant a lot when he was an assistant at Colorado State with coach Sonny Lubick. Many of the assistants on that staff played at Colorado State.
— UW redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Smith is from Merrett Island, Florida, but he and his family have ties to the Border War. Smith said he had a cousin play at Colorado State a couple of years ago, and a couple of other cousins who go to school there now.
Smith is expected to make his second-career start against the Rams Saturday.
“We’re all family so not as big, but it was more intense when my cousin was still playing and he found out I was coming to Wyoming,” Smith said. “My uncle has a lot of Colorado State gear, and I would throw him some Wyoming stuff and try to get him and the cousins to wear it. It’s not that intense now, but I’ve learned what this game is like.”
— Sophomore running back Brian Hill needs 194 yards to break UW’s single-season record of 1,455 held by Ryan Christopeherson in 1994. Does he get it Saturday? There’s a chance. Colorado State allows 213.9 rushing yards per game.
— UW’s defense will have to deal with Colorado State junior wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who torched the Cowboys with 5 catches for 174 yards and touchdowns of 43 and 73 yards.”This game is big. Every year there a lot of trash talk. For both teams it comes down to who wants it more. I look forward to this game every year.”
Here is my story on Higgins from Friday: http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/know-the-foe-rams-rashad-higgins-among-nation-s-top/article_30845bd2-845c-11e5-8b93-dff976f7a9a4.html
Here are some other links from stories and videos about the Border War this week:
My column from Thursday about the importance of this game for UW. Do you agree or disagree? http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/football/column-border-war-win-would-help-ease-pain-of-frustrating/article_c2e12448-8375-11e5-b394-63484c95d1d0.html
Kelly Lyell of the Fort Collins Coloradoan weighs in on five questions I asked him about the game: http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/football/border-war-football-q-a-with-kelly-lyell-of-the/article_5bfb0ae0-8268-11e5-9e01-3f4171b6312a.html
UW sophomore cornerback Robert Priester is from Florida, but he already gets the meaning of the Border War.
And, be sure to check out Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net as I have a feature on UW senior Eddie Yarbrough and his uncle, Ray Jackson, who was a defensive back at Colorado State in the 1990s and currently works for the Denver Broncos. Here is my video interview with Yarbrough this week.