Keys to Victory: Rams host Cowboys in Border War

Colorado State football hosts Wyoming in the 110th edition of the Border War Friday night. Both teams have struggled in 2018, but the annual rivalry game is almost always competitive, and with bragging rights on the line, Friday’s showdown under the lights should be a great atmosphere for college football. Here are the keys to victory for CSU as the Rams attempt to keep its postseason dreams alive.

1. Protect the quarterback: Colorado State’s offensive line has consistently struggled in pass protection this season, which is concerning against a stout defensive line like Wyoming’s. The Cowboys have 20 sacks in 2018 and what is particularly impressive is five different players have reached the QB. If the Rams are going to secure the Bronze Boot Friday night, protecting Collin Hill is going to be a big factor. The redshirt sophomore was able to get in a rhythm in the fourth quarter last week, but it is going to be difficult to do that again if the ‘Pokes’ are constantly in his face.

2. Stop the run: Wyoming’s passing offense has been inept this season, so Craig Bohl is likely going to want to rely on running back Nico Evans and the ground game. Evans leads the team with an average of 6.6 yards per carry and is coming off of a monster performance against Utah State. In the loss to the Aggies, Evans carried the ball 25 times for 133 yards and one touchdown. If CSU can limit Wyoming’s production between the tackles, it will force them to rely on the passing offense, which generally has been bad news for the visiting Cowboys.

3. Win the battle on special teams: Special teams have struggled for CSU this season, and in an intense rivalry like the Border War, small mistakes can add up quick. Wyoming’s junior kicker Cooper Rothe is a perfect 12-of-12 on field goal attempts this season, but the Pokes have used three different punters this year. If the Rams can execute on special teams and potentially make an impact play, it may end up being the difference between winning and losing.

PHOTO: Elliott Jerge | Rocky Mountain Collegian