Oct 302003
 
Authors: Joelle Milholm

The Rams return to action this week in another Mountain West

Conference showdown as they travel to Wyoming to face the Cowboys

in the 95th annual Border War.

The Rams (5-3, 2-1 MWC) enter the game as one of four teams with

one loss in the conference, sitting behind Utah and Air Force and

tied with New Mexico. Wyoming (3-5, 1-2 MWC) beat BYU earlier this

season and had two close losses, with the margin of defeat being

six points or less against both San Diego State and Air Force.

“Everyone is confident enough and our offense is ready to go out

and play football for four quarters,” senior quarterback Bradlee

Van Pelt said. “We do have a more physical team, but Wyoming is

good and they have some good players.”

CSU has a four-game winning streak against the Cowboys and has

not lost in Laramie since 1991. Wyoming put up a fight last year

after coming out first to score and barely lost to the Rams 44-36.

Wyoming’s record may not be as strong as CSU’s, but the Rams know

they cannot afford to look past the Cowboys.

“Every time we play Wyoming it is a good game,” said senior

defensive back and return man Dexter Wynn. “I believe it is a huge

rivalry. There is not much recognition for this game, but we

realize what a big rivalry it is.”

The Cowboys are lead by senior quarterback Casey Bramlet, who

has thrown for 2055 yards and 17 touchdowns in eight games. He is

the current passing-yards leader in the MWC, ahead of Van Pelt by

85 yards. Bramlet will be a challenge for the Rams defense, but

they believe they are prepared.

“We are confident right now,” senior safety Benny Mastropaolo

said. “We respect him but our game plan is sound and we are ready

to go. We’ve had five good practices and we are back in the

flow.”

Bramlet’s go-to man this season is sophomore wide receiver Jovon

Bouknight, who averages 16.8 yards per reception for a total of 571

yards and six touchdowns. Wyoming’s aerial attack, averaging 256.9

a game, towers over its ground game in which senior running back

Derek Armah averages 69.25 yards a game.

“Our secondary has been playing a lot better,” head coach Sonny

Lubick said in a news release. “It will still be important to put

pressure on the quarterback and make him throw on time.”

The Rams have been successful in limiting opposing quarterbacks’

time in the pocket, dealing out 18 sacks this season to match the

season total from last year.

On the other side of the ball, Wyoming will have its hands full

trying to stop the dynamic duo of Van Pelt and sophomore receiver

David Anderson. Van Pelt averages 309.5 yards a game in total

offense and is fourth in the nation with a 168.1 quarterback

rating. Anderson is currently third in the country with 908

receiving yards.

Junior Marcus Houston leads the running attack and has scored

seven touchdowns in his last three games. Houston averages 68.8

yards a game followed by Van Pelt with 63.2 and senior running back

Rahsaan Sanders with 33.7 yards a game.

Quarterbacks:

Cowboy Casey Bramlet has already thrown for more than 2,000

yards and is the main force behind Wyoming’s offense. He has a

strong arm but has also thrown seven interceptions. His lack of

mobility and a weak offensive line has led to 30 sacks. Van Pelt is

about even with Bramlet in passing yards per game with 246.2 and

eight interceptions, but the extra 63.2 he gains on the ground

gives him the upper hand. The Rams’ strong offensive line has

limited opponents to eight sacks on CSU quarterbacks this

season.

Advantage: Rams

Running Backs:

Wyoming’s Derek Armah is the man in the Cowboys’ backfield,

averaging 69.3 yards a game and 4.3 yards per carry. Houston is

very similar to Armah, averaging 68.8 yards a game and 4 yards per

carry. Houston has eight touchdowns compared to Armah’s three, and

combined with the ground game of Van Pelt gives the Rams the

advantage.

Advantage: Rams

Receivers:

Wyoming has three receivers with more than 500 yards receiving

with Jovon Bouknight with 571, Malcom Floyd with 535 and Ryan

McGuffey with 502. They have proven reliable targets for Bramlet.

David Anderson is arguably one of the top receivers in the nation

with 908 yards and shares the field with Chris Pittman, who has 545

yards. Wyoming may have more receivers with more yards, but no one

can stop Anderson.

Advantage: Rams

Defense:

Wyoming is last in the conference, giving up an average of 429.5

yards a game compared to 358.9 yards by the Rams. Wyoming is also

last in rush defense, giving up more than 200 yards a game. The

Rams come off a game in which the defense forced three turnovers.

They are fourth in conference, yielding 215.2 passing yards a

game.

Advantage: Rams

Special Teams:

Jeff Babcock averages 41.8 yards per punt and Wyoming’s Luke

Donovan averages 42.3 yards. Dexter Wynn has 14.5 yards on punt

returns and Cowboy Josh Barge averages 12.2. Wyoming’s kick return

man, Bouknight, averages 26.9 yards per return and Wynn averages

24.6.

Advantage: Even

 

 

 

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