November 3, 2023 |

Photo – WY Cowboys vs CSU Rams – Bigfoot99 file photo

Friday night under the lights: The Border War goes down tonight in Laramie.

Throw out the record books. They never matter in this age-old rivalry. It’s been a grudge since game one in the 19th century. Now the showdown includes college football’s most recognizable trophy: The Bronze Boot.

Wyoming hosts Colorado State University in the 115th edition of an interstate rivalry that dates to November 30, 1899.

It was Thanksgiving Day. President William McKinley occupied the White House. Earlier that year, Colonel Teddy Roosevelt led the Rough Riders up to the Battle of San Juan Hill to win the Spanish American War. Ferdinand von Zeppelin received a U.S. patent for a navigable balloon. Ragtime composer Scott Joplin was granted a copyright for his “Maple Leaf Rag.”

College football had been invented 20 years earlier. The Wyoming Cowboys were off to a rough start. They lost their first three games to CSU without scoring a point. The Pokes fell to CSU in the next three games, as well. The Cowboys bounced back with shutout wins over the Rams in 1910 and 1911.

The College of Agriculture, as CSU was known originally, and then Colorado A&M, won most of the games against Wyoming through 1949.

The Cowboys dominated the matchup in the 1950s and 1960s winning 17 of 18 Border War matchups from 1956 to 1973. Over the past 77 consecutive meetings, dating back to the 1946 season, Wyoming leads 45-32.

The Bronze Boot became part of the rivalry in 1968.

The very first Border War between the two schools in 1899 ended in controversy, a disagreement between officials. The cross-border college rivalry has had few equals ever since.

According to the record book, CSU leads the series 59-50 with five ties. Over the last decade, Wyoming has dominated.

Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl’s Border War record is 6-and-3 since coming to Laramie in 2014. Last year, the Pokes won by one point. 14 to 13.  The Rams led 13-7 in the fourth. Wyoming came back with a touchdown and the Rams missed the go-ahead field goal with time running out.

The Cowboys left Fort Collins with the 14-13 win and took the Bronze Boot back to Laramie. Head coach Craig Bohl and his team escaped with the win.

The Cowboys are coming off a bad loss last week at Boise State where the team was essentially a no-show after a strong start to the season. Coach Bohl and his assistants have spent the week getting the train back on track.

The Cowboys will face a Rams team tomorrow that is built around the passing game. The five starters on the Rams offensive line have played every snap this season, allowing freshman quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi to grow with each start. Nicolosi is a walk-on QB who won the job in September. He and his front line were tested last week against Air Force. The Rams allowed just two sacks, but they’ll face another test this week against a Wyoming defense that is third in the conference in scoring defense.

The Bronze Boot will sit on the Wyoming sidelines at War Memorial Stadium tonight under the lights. Both teams will be vying to hoist high in the air at the end of the game.

By the way, the first Border War back in 1899 in Laramie was a fiery and controversial game that was suspended before the end of the fourth quarter. It ended with the referee ruling a forfeit in favor of the Rams due to a rule violation.

The Rams kept the so-called “win” in its record book until the university sports office revised the CSU media guide in 2009. The NCAA does not recognize forfeited games that were not completed.

That was then. This is now. The teams are back in Laramie like it’s 1899 over again. The Cowboys have the boot and are looking to keep it. Wyoming and CSU will kick off this evening at six. We’ll be on the air at 4:30 with the pregame show.

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