LARAMIE, Wyo. – Two rivals, two back-and-forth shootouts and two
heartbreaking losses for the CSU football team.
While the 42-35 opening-game loss to Colorado ruined dreams of
an undefeated season, Saturday’s 35-28 loss at border rival Wyoming
(4-5 overall, 2-2 Mountain West Conference) may have stung even
more because CSU (5-4, 2-2) is now in a dogfight just to make a
“(CSU) might of overlooked us a little bit,” said first-year
Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn. “They say CU is their big rival, but
the Wyoming people know it’s a rivalry and we go after it.”
The Rams came into their bye week looking impressive in three
straight conference wins, but came out of it making mistakes that
plagued them in early season losses.
“(The bye week) might of killed momentum a little bit,” said CSU
tight end Matt Bartz. “But I don’t think that that bye week can be
blamed for anything. This just shows how easily one can slip
The Cowboys, who went 2-10 last season, captured the Bronze Boot
in their win against CSU for the first time since 1998 in front of
18,511 fans, including around 3,000 CSU faithful. Wyoming fans
rushed the field, tore down one goal post and carried Glenn off the
“That sucked, all those fans rushing the field and tearing down
the goal post,” said CSU H-back Joel Dreessen, who returned after
missing four games with an abdominal strain.
With the loss, the Rams are now one of four MWC teams with two
conference losses, one behind Utah.
It makes CSU’s match up at New Mexico Friday an enormous game.
Only three bowl-eligible teams in the MWC are guaranteed bowl
births. The Lobos (5-4, 2-2) and the Rams have identical records,
and Air Force (3-2) and Utah (3-1) have better records.
“We’re going to have the best game of the year against New
Mexico,” said CSU sophomore cornerback Ben Stratton. “It’s
imperative that we bounce back. This game won’t happen again.”
Saturday’s game started with sunny skies and CSU quarterback
Bradlee Van Pelt running through the Cowboy defense. It ended in a
snowstorm and Wyoming quarterback Casey Bramlet picking apart the
In the first quarter, Bramlet was consistently pressured by Rams
defenders and went 5-for-13 passing for 66 yards. However, the
Cowboys started moving the ball with short five- or 10-yard passes.
In a third quarter drive with CSU ahead 21-14, Bramlet led the
Cowboys on an 18-play drive that took 7 minutes, 33 seconds off the
clock and tied the game at 21-21.
“They were just moving the chains,” said Stratton, a Wyoming
native. “We just couldn’t come up with the stops when we had
Although Stratton made an interception in the end zone in the
second quarter, he was disappointed with a play in the first
quarter when a ball went right through his hands into Cowboy wide
receiver Josh Barge’s for a 34-yard touchdown to tie the score at
7-7. Earlier in the same drive, sophomore cornerback David Foley
was penalized for roughing the kicker after the Rams had forced
Wyoming to punt.
CSU continued to make mistakes throughout the game.
When the Rams drove to the Wyoming 2-yard line up 21-14 right
before halftime, Van Pelt fumbled a snap from center Mark Dryer,
which was recovered by Wyoming.
Van Pelt also missed a wide-open Eric Hill in the end zone on
the opening drive of the second half. Later in the third quarter,
with the score tied at 21 and the Rams driving, running back Marcus
Houston fumbled and Wyoming converted the turnover into a touchdown
to take their first lead of the game.
And finally, with CSU down 35-28 in the fourth, the Rams drove
the ball to the Wyoming 22-yard line. However, the Rams committed
two holding penalties and Van Pelt was sacked, forcing a
third-and-38 and a fourth-and-26.
“You put all those plays together and you’re not going to win a
ball game,” said CSU head coach Sonny Lubick.
Despite the loss, Van Pelt continued his stellar year
statistically both on the ground and in the air. He kept the Rams
in the game with 20 carries for 140 yards and one touchdown
rushing, and went 17-for-28 for 205 yards and one touchdown
“He’s special, he’s really special,” Glenn said. “Right down to
the last play you’re worried about him making some scramble around,
scramble around deal and throwing it to the back of the end
However, the Rams’ mistakes gave the win to Bramlet. The senior
went 18-for-23 after the first quarter to finish the day with 377
yards passing and two touchdowns. The game-winning 51-yard bomb
over CSU cornerback Brandon Cathy to wide receiver Malcom Floyd
gave the Cowboys their first ever 9,000-yard career passer in
“I haven’t had the (Bronze) Boot since I got here,” Bramlet
said. “This is our rival game and it feels great.”