The Colorado State Rams could not have asked for things to go any better.
The Rams (6-6 4-4) defeated the Wyoming Cowboys (4-8 2-6) Saturday afternoon in a 31-20 come from behind victory, winning the coveted bronze boot trophy and achieving bowl eligibly for the first time in three years.
Wide receiver Dion Morton was stellar for CSU in the win, catching six passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns including a 31 yard game winning strike from quarterback Billy Farris, silencing Wyoming fans populating War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
Head coach Steve Fairchild was pleased with the Rams win, but explained that it wasn’t a pretty victory. CSU trailed Wyoming by as many as 11 points during the game and was behind 14-10 going into halftime.
“We came out and played good enough to win in the second half,” Fairchild said. “It doesn’t feel like a well played game. We made some real nice plays and the defense kept them out of the end zone and that was good.”
The Rams trailed the majority of the game, but jumped ahead of the Cowboys early in the fourth quarter on the strength of Morton’s touchdown catch. CSU’s defense took over from there, shutting out the Cowboy for the final fifteen minutes of the game, while recovering a fumble by UW running back Wynel Seldon. The turnover set up a five yard touchdown run from running back Gartrell Johnson that secured the Rams sixth win of the year.
Farris took pride in the win and explained that he was impressed by how much CSU improved during the season.
“It’s great because we haven’t done this in so long,” the senior said. “It’s great to feel like we’re turning this thing around. No body thought we could do it, but that’s the greatest thing about this team.”
Farris led the Rams air attack, passing for 235 yards, three touchdowns with one interception.
Linebacker Ricky Brewer, who led the Ram’s with 15 tackles, shared Farris’s excitement and said that the win provided one of the best feeling ever.
“I couldn’t be more elated not only for myself but also for my teammates,” the sophomore said. “This has been a long run all the way back to January. I feel it’s finally paid off.”
With the win, CSU reaches bowl eligibility and increases their chances for the post season. The Rams bowl hopes received a boost from University of Utah. The Utes defeated the BYU Cougars 48-24 and likely earned a BCS bowl birth. The win opens up a fourth contracted bowl spot for a Mountain West Conference team, one which could possibly be filled by CSU. The Rams will have to wait until Dec. 1 to know their official fate.
For now Farris said he was happy to win his first regular season game and accomplish their season long goal.
“It’s just been a lot of fun working with the guys on this team, and I’m never going to forget it,” he said. “Getting a group of guys together, going out, doing what you said you were going to do and getting to a bowl game is really special.”
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org