Cowboy upset

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Nov 022003
 
Authors: Vince Blaser

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

bowl game.

“(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

away.”

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

field.

“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

Rams’ secondary.

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

to.”

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

passing.

“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

zone.”

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

Bramlet.

“I haven’t had the (Bronze) Boot since I got here,” Bramlet

said. “This is our rival game and it feels great.”

 

 

 

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