It is that time again — the annual Border War football game between Wyoming and Colorado State. The two teams meet for the 110th time at 8 p.m. Friday at CSU’s Canvas Stadium.
It is a great time for both Cowboys and Rams fans to get a copy of “The Border War” book co-authored by myself and Ryan Thorburn. The book depicts the long history of this rivalry, and includes some of the most memorable games and participants in this rivalry — the longest continual college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River.
I will be signing books from 4-6 p.m. Friday at the CSU Bookstore in the Lory Student Center. Hope to see a lot of Cowboys and Rams fans there. I may be a little biased, but it is a must-read for fans of both schools. And, if you are looking for a gift for fans of either school, this is a great opportunity to get a book.
Also, books can be purchased at the following locations:
— Online at Amazon and Kindle.
— Both Brown & Gold Outlet locations in Laramie and Cheyenne.
— The Second Story & Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse in downtown Laramie.
— Phoenix Books & Music in downtown Cheyenne, where signed copies are also available.
— By reaching to to myself and Ryan for individual/specific orders.
As for Friday’s game, here are some notes and quotes:
— “Knowing how much it means to the people of this state and our program is going to motivate us a little more this week.” — UW senior free safety Marcus Epps
— Twenty-four players are listed in UW’s media guide from Colorado. Most of those guys didn’t receive scholarship offers from Colorado State. That always adds some extra motivation for those guys. Some Colorado Cowboys to watch tonight include: senior safety Andrew Wingard (Arvada), junior safety Alijah Halliburton (Aurora), sophomore safety Braden Smith (Lakewood), junior defensive end Josiah Hall (Colorado Springs), senior defensive lineman Conner Cain (Littleton), senior defensive end Kevin Prosser (Aurora), junior kicker Cooper Rothe (Longmont), junior wide receiver Austin Conway (Aurora), redshirt freshman center Keegan Cryder (Littleton), freshman wide receiver Gunner Gentry (Aurora) and sophomore wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt (Loveland).
— Another interesting watch for the Cowboys will be true freshman Zach Watts, who will make his college debut as the starter at left guard. Watts is from Windsor, Colorado, which
is right next to Fort Collins and the CSU campus. Fifth-year UW coach Craig Bohl talked a lot about injecting more competitive players into the offense, and feels Watts will bring that. Here’s more on Bohl about the competitiveness.
“We need to be more competitive in practice. During course of games, we have to make sure we’re not doing things like jumping offsides, finish plays, finish blocks, finish runs, making sure we’re running the right routes. it bleeds into execution. Some of that comes into confidence, being demanding and the DNA of a player.”
— Colorado State announced Monday it will start redshirt sophomore Collin Hill at quarterback in place of senior graduate transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels — younger brother of former UW quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels (2009-10). Carta-Samuels could play tonight, and that would add some more intrigue and twists to this rivalry if he does. As for UW’s starting quarterback, Bohl has held true to not announcing a starter until game time. I would be shocked if true freshman Sean Chambers isn’t the guy, but it will be interesting to see if redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal gets into the mix. What do you all think?
— One interesting thing to watch in the game is the punting of both squads. UW will continue to use two guys — sophomore Dontae Crow of Sheridan and walk-on sophomore Ryan Galovich, who likely will be used when trying to pin teams deep in their own territory. Colorado State sophomore Ryan Stonehouse (a player UW offered a scholarship to out of California) is second in the nation at 50.4 yards per punt and can flip the field at virtually any time. But Colorado State’s net punting is among the worst in the country. Perhaps UW can get some action going in the return game, or even block a punt.
— UW will try to keep the Bronze Boot traveling trophy for a third consecutive year. Since that trophy was introduced to the rivalry in 1968, the Cowboys hold a 26-24 edge in the series. UW gave up two other traveling trophies earlier this season with losses (Paniolo Trophy to Hawaii and Bridger’s Rifle to Utah State).
See Friday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net, for my feature on former UW nickel Jalen Ortiz and his transition into coaching. He is a graduate assistant for the Cowboys. Also see my story on Hill and his long journey back to the field after learning the ACL in his left knee twice since he’s been at Colorado State.