On Saturday afternoon the Wyoming Cowboys 3–9 (1−7 MWC) took on the Colorado State Rams 3–9 (2−6 MWC) in the 102nd meeting in the Border War. The Cowboys are coming off of six straight losses and need any momentum they can salvage heading into the off-season. The Rams are coming off of back-to-back MWC losses and had only won one of their previous four games. Both teams needed a win to send them into the off-season with optimism for the 2011 season.
In the first quarter both defenses came to play. The first spark of offense came in Wyoming’s second drive. The spark was lit by a lateral to Austyn Carta-Samuels who ran for 37 yards to put the ball on the one-yard line. The Cowboys scored on the very next play, a one yard touchdown run for Alvester Alexander. The drive put the Cowboys up 6–0 after a botched PAT. In the following drive, CSU quarterback Pete Thomas threw an interception on the second play of the drive to Tashaun Gipson. The pick was Gipson’s third of the season and sixth of his career. The Cowboys capitalized on the early turnover with a 20 yard field goal to put the Pokes up 9–0 over CSU with 4:22 left in the first quarter. The Rams began their next drive by getting into Cowboy territory but were stuffed in their rushing attempts and turned the ball over on downs. To end the first quarter Wyoming pushes the ball into Ram territory and is ahead 9–0. Carta-Samuels went 8-of-9 with 80 yards in the air and 34 yards on the ground to end the quarter.The Cowboys looked strong in the first quarter, but needed to keep the intensity up to keep themselves in the lead. On the first play of the second quarter the Cowboys gave the ball to Alexander who rushed 34 yards for a Wyoming touchdown. The score put the Pokes up 16–0. On the Ram’s next possession little was accomplished and CSU was forced to punt after Josh Biezun’s fourth sack of the season on third down. Neither team had much success in their next drives. The Cowboys showed no signs of letting up and moved the ball into the redzone on their next possession. The Pokes found the endzone with a pair of solid rushes by Carta-Samuels to further the Wyoming lead to 23–0 with less than five minutes left in the half. UW wasn’t able to do much more on offense to end the half but they were able to force a fumble, which Hendricks recovered for Wyoming.
At halftime of the Border War, the Cowboys enjoyed one of their biggest leads of the season at 23–0.
Leading Wyoming was quarterback Carta-Samuels and runningback Alexander. Carta-Samuels had a great completion percentage, going 13-for-17 for 140 yards in the air and rushed for an additional 41 yards and a touchdown. Alexander did a good portion of the Pokes damage with 63 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries.
The Rams were led by freshman quarterback Pete Thomas who went 9-for-18 for 57 yards and an interception. Leading the ground attack was Leonard Mason with nine carries for 23 yards.
To start the second half, the Cowboys got the ball and matriculated the ball down the field with relative ease. On the first two drives of the quarter the Cowboys had a long pass downfield which led to a pair of thunderous touchdowns by Alexander for his third and fourth touchdowns of the day. At the end of the third quarter the Cowboy fans enjoyed an incredible 37–0 lead over the despised CSU Rams.
In the fourth quarter the Rams tried to find a glimmer of hope in attempting to get the goose egg off of the board. Unfortunately, the wind battled their best chance to do so. The Ram’s kicker attempted to put something on the board with a long field goal. The gusting winds acted in Wyoming’s favor and aided the ball in sailing wide-right. The score remained 37–0 and the Cowboys got the ball back with over ten minutes left in the game. The Cowboys played conservatively and milked some time off of the clock in their next two possessions and kept the Rams on the ropes. Late in the game the Cowboys showed no sympathy for the flailing Rams and shoved another Alexander rushing touchdown down their throats. Alexander set a new Wyoming Cowboy football record with his fifth rushing touchdown of the day, notching the score at 44–0. Surely, Alexander made himself a MWC player-of –the-week candidate.
The Cowboys were led statistically by the “Alvester Alexander Show”. Alexander had 23 carries for 147 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Alexander was ‘en fuego’ throughout the game and carried his team to an enormous victory. Carta-Samuels did his part too going 23-for-32 for 267 yards in the air and 46 rushing yards of his own. On defense Biezuns took over his side of the ball with seven tackles and 3.5 sacks on the struggling Rams offense.
Head Coach Dave Christensen seemed very happy with his team’s performance. Christensen commented post-game, “No one in our organization gave up.” Christensen also commented on Alexander’s role this season stating, “He [Alexander] has gotten better all year.”
His performance on the last game of the season certainly showed that the coach was right!
The Cowboy players and fans were in need of a victory to save face after a tough season. They got what they needed. This victory over the much-hated Rams is sure to fuel the off-season fire for the Wyoming Cowboys. The end of a rough season has come but there is always ample optimism for Wyoming football’s future. Especially when you end the season by shellacking your most hated opponent.