WHEN WYOMING IS RUNNING THE BALL:
The Cowboys employ a thunder-and-lightning platoon in their backfield. While starter Wynel Seldon weighs in at only 208 pounds, he provides the power game that Wyoming has employed in wins versus New Mexico and Utah. The change-of-pace back is Devin Moore. Moore has rushed for more yards off the bench, 268, than CSU’s starter Gartrell Johnson (251). Despite the lackluster performance against Air Force, CSU’s rush defense is still ranked in the top half of the nation and the Rams will be ready to prove they belong in Mountain West Championship talk.
WHEN WYOMING IS PASSING THE BALL:
As football fans know, it is tough to judge a quarterback who only has two starts at the college level. However, it would be tough to top the first two starts of redshirt freshman Karsten Sween’s career. After leading his team to a comeback victory in his debut against New Mexico, Sween did his best Caleb Hanie impersonation against Utah. Sween put up an extremely efficient 17 for 24 performance, for 202 yards with both a rushing and passing touchdown and most importantly for a young quarterback, Sween had no interceptions. CSU’s pass defense, however, is ranked 12th in the nation and should be able to hassle Sween, even with key injuries to Joey Rucks and Mike Pagnotta.
WHEN CSU IS RUNNING THE BALL:
The good news is Johnson set his season and career highs in rushing with a 75-yard performance against Air Force. The bad news is that CSU’s season-long starting running back’s career high is 75 yards. Despite Johnson’s lackluster beginning to the season, he has produced a higher rushing yard total in each of his last three games. However, it will be hard for him to continue that trend against inside linebacker Ward Dobbs and the rest of the quick Cowboy defenders.
WHEN CSU IS PASSING THE BALL:
If this game were a slate of boxing matches, this would be the main event. In one corner, there is Caleb Hanie and his stable of receivers who have been consistent throughout the season. The emergence of Damon Morton, who is averaging 18-plus yards per reception, has given the Rams a deep threat. In the other corner, weighing in at an average of 228 pounds, there is the Wyoming Cowboys’ pass defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Pokes’ pass D gives up a miniscule average of 106.86 yards a game. This is the match-up to watch in the game.
The key word in this game is pride. CSU and Wyoming first met on the football field in 1899 and they have hated each other ever since. More than half of Wyoming’s starters played their high school ball in Colorado, so high school pride will spill out onto the field Saturday. Also, the winner of this game will still have a chance at a conference title, while the loser will have to fight for survival in the cutthroat conference race. The home team has won this game every season since the Rams’ victory in Laramie in 1999 and that streak will continue, to the disappointment of Ram fans.
WYOMING 16, CSU 14
Sports Editor Mike Donovan can be reached at email@example.com.