9:30 PM ET, October 22, 2004
Hughes Stadium (CO), Fort Collins, CO
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- The Colorado State Rams recaptured the Bronze Boot and found a few other important elements while they were at it -- like a running game, a new quarterback and a good deal of hope for the rest of the season.
Jimmy Green ran for 124 yards and a touchdown Friday in a 30-7 victory over Wyoming in one of the West's longest-standing rivalries, the game known as "The Border War."
Subbing for the injured Justin Holland, freshman quarterback Caleb Hanie threw for 167 yards for the Rams (3-4, 2-1 Mountain West), who recaptured the boot -- originally worn by an American solider in Vietnam -- after falling to the Cowboys last year for the first time since 1998.
"The boot is back where it belongs," Hanie said.
After the game, the Rams ran to the Wyoming sideline, snatched the boot off the table where it sat and paraded it to midfield.
The Cowboys (4-3, 1-2) shuffled off slowly, knowing they gave away much more than just the boot. They hurt themselves with four turnovers, a botched fake field goal and some bad clock management at the end of the first half that cost them points.
"Poor coaching," was how Wyoming coach Joe Glenn described it.
The Rams took advantage behind Green, a junior, who made his first career start and carried the ball 32 times. He was the first CSU back to surpass 100 yards this season, and CSU gained a season-high 233 yards on the ground.
"We were going to grind it out," Green said. "That was our challenge. We didn't break the big run. It was down and dirty, four or five yards at a time."
Other stars included Jeff Babcock, who kicked three field goals to become the school's all-time career leader with 47, and linebacker Luke Adkins, who returned an interception 35 yards for his second touchdown in as many weeks.
After a 1-4 start, CSU has won two in a row -- both in conference -- and enters the heart of the season just one loss behind Utah (2-0) with a game still to come against the Utes.
"We're still in the race," CSU receiver David Anderson said. "It's a coin flip from here on in."
Wyoming looked like the better team early, when quarterback Corey Bramlet led his team on an 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game.
But the Cowboys were error-prone the rest of the way.
Three plays after recovering a fumble deep in Rams territory, Wyoming lined up to try a fake field goal, but holder J.J. Raterink received the snap that was supposed to go to the kicker and was forced to throw an incomplete pass.
Trailing 17-7 at the end of the first half, Bramlet (26-for-38, 256 yards) led the Cowboys from their 20 to the Rams 6. But he had used his last timeout earlier in the drive and when his final pass was completed in-bounds, there were only 2 seconds left and the Cowboys couldn't line up in time to spike the ball and stop the clock.
"We got the right play, got to the line of scrimmage OK," Glenn said. "The plays were there and we couldn't get it done."
The Rams, meanwhile, made lots of good things happen, none better than when tailback Uldis Jaunarajs fumbled into the end zone and receiver Kory Sperry recovered for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead.
In the preseason, coach Sonny Lubick said Holland, who broke his leg last week, was the one player the Rams couldn't do without. It didn't appear that way Friday, and Hanie was a big part of it.
While the freshman from Forney, Texas, was far from perfect, he managed a good game and threw a couple pretty passes, including a well-timed 41-yard sideline route to Johnny Walker that set up CSU's first field goal. The score capped an 88-yard drive that began at the Rams 1.
"I was nervous as heck the first possession, and then I settled down," Hanie said. "I needed that drive from our own 1 to get going. And then the turnovers helped make it easier."
Now, the only debate is whether the win means more to CSU because of the rivalry, or because of what it means in the standings -- not a bad discussion to have before next week's game against New Mexico.
Regardless, the Rams surely righted a wrong from earlier in the week, when vandals broke into Hughes Stadium and painted a big "UW" on the middle of the field. The grounds crew worked hard over the next two days, and there were no signs of the hijinks for the nationally televised game.
"What they did to our field showed us their disrespect for us," Green said. "It fired us up."