CSU players eager to secure the Bronze Boot for first time since 2015

Colorado State football (3-5, 2-2) will attempt to keep its postseason hopes alive against the University of Wyoming, Friday night. Following a disappointing road loss to Boise State last week, the Rams have an opportunity to pick up a rivalry win over a struggling Cowboys team at home, and secure the Bronze Boot for the first time since 2015.

After watching the Cowboys hoist the traveling trophy in back-to-back seasons, the CSU players are eager to return the favor and celebrate in front of the team’s biggest conference rival.

“It’s always fun to go out there, get a win, and then run to that boot,” Olabisi Johnson said. “The energy is always huge around this game.”

The Bronze Boot rests on the sidelines during the 2015 edition of the Border War.   PHOTO:   Abbie Parr | Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Bronze Boot rests on the sidelines during the 2015 edition of the Border War. PHOTO: Abbie Parr | Rocky Mountain Collegian

The senior wide receiver was a freshman during the 2015 season when the Rams defeated the Pokes, 26-7 in Laramie, Wyo. Having experienced back-to-back losses in the Border War though, Johnson is eager to get the bitter taste of defeat out of his mouth.

Johnson explained that while all games are important, this matchup means a little bit more to everyone involved because the pride of the schools, teams and states are on the line.

“It’s my senior year, and I would love to go out and get it for this state,” Johnson said.

Wyoming (2-6, 0-4) battled Utah State (6-1, 4-0) tough last week, before ultimately falling, 24-16. However, it has certainly been a tough year for Craig Bohl’s Pokes, since the team lost quarterback Josh Allen to the NFL.

So far this season, Wyoming has averaged 138 passing yards per game, and only three of the team’s 11 offensive touchdowns have come through the air. Putting things into perspective, CSU already has 20 passing touchdowns, and the Rams are averaging a full two more yards per passing play than the Cowboys.

The key difference this week will be that Collin Hill will be the team’s starting quarterback, instead of K.J. Carta-Samuels. As a true freshman, Hill started in the 2016 edition of the Border War and played well in a losing effort. Hill finished 23-of-41 for 370 yards, with one touchdown and one interception in the 21 point loss to the Cowboys.

According to Hill, the only thing he remembers about the game is how the Wyoming players got to celebrate on CSU’s home turf.

“I just remember them running to get ‘the Boot’ in Hughes. That stuck with me,” Hill said. “And then last year in all that snow, just watching them go get it and grab it to celebrate. I think that’s the thing that sticks out the most.”

Hill also explained how he has never even gotten to touch the Bronze Boot. So between the motivation of keeping the season alive, making his first start of 2018 and an opportunity to take down a rival, the 21-year old is itching to get on the field and compete.

“I think we’re really excited about it,” Hill said of his himself, and his teammates.

The annual Border War will take place on Friday, Oct. 26 at Canvas Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

PHOTO: Abbie Parr | Rocky Mountain Collegian