Rams Outgun Cowboys for Lubick's 100th Win

Overcoming defensive lapses and special teams breakdowns, the Colorado State Rams relied on Cecil Sapp's 143 yards and 2 touchdowns, and freshman quarterback Justin Holland's 2 scoring passes to outgun the game Wyoming Cowboys 44-36 Saturday in the Mountain West opener for both teams. The win was the 100th in the head-coaching career of Rams Head Coach Sonny Lubick, and allowed the Rams to retain the "Bronze Boot" trophy in the 94th meeting of these two rivals – a battle dubbed "The Border War."

CSU (5-2) outgained Wyoming 501-362, but the Rams, who led 30-14 early in the third quarter, needed two fourth-quarter scores to break a 30-30 tie against the Cowboys (1-5), whose only win had come against The Citadel.

Late in the third quarter, Wyoming's Casey Bramlet completed touchdown passes to Ryan McGuffey, and Jovon Bouknight and added a pair of 2-point conversion passes - all within a span of 1:20 - as Wyoming rallied from a 30-14 deficit.

Holland usually plays only sparingly, but this time he was in for five series, including much of the fourth quarter, and he led the Rams on a 71-yard drive for the go-ahead score. Rams starting QB Bradlee Van Pelt was benched for disciplinary reasons in the fourth quarter.

Chris Pittman ran 24 yards on a reverse, and Sapp broke several tackles on a 16-yard TD run off the left side on the opening play of the final period for a 37-30 lead.

Van Pelt directed most of a subsequent 80-yard scoring drive, passing 17 yards to Pittman and 20 yards to Henri Childs. But he was whistled for an unsportmanlike-conduct penalty near the goal line, when he kicked a Wyoming defender after the whistle. Lubick immediately called on Holland to replace Van Pelt, and the freshman promptly throwing a 17-yard TD pass to freshman tight end Matt Bartz with 6:15 remaining.

Van Pelt and Holland each threw a touchdown pass in the first half as Colorado State took a 23-14 lead at intermission. The two quarterbacks combined to complete 12 of 16 passes for 144 yards.

The Rams scored on four straight possessions after Joey Huber's punt was blocked barely two minutes into the game, putting Wyoming up 7-0. Tom Vincent blocked the kick, and Leonard Jones recovered it in the end zone.

CSU rebounded with a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive, highlighted by Van Pelt's 28-yard pass to Joey Cuppari. Sapp scored from the 1.

Dexter Wynn's 46-yard punt return and Van Pelt's 28-yard pass to Pittman set up Jeff Babcock's 21-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead late in the opening period.

With Holland directing the next series, the Rams fashioned another 13-play, 80-yard drive that included three straight runs totaling 31 yards by Rahsaan Sanders. Holland passed 8 yards to tight end James Sondrup for a 17-7 lead.

Wyoming countered with a 17-play, 76-yard scoring drive, kept alive by Bramlet's 4-yard pass to a diving Brock Ralph on fourth-and-2. Derek Armah scored from the 4 to cut the deficit to 17-14.

Van Pelt returned and took the Rams 51 yards for another score, capped by his 4-yard pass to Bartz.

Van Pelt's 16-yard touchdown scramble early in the third quarter gave the Rams a seemingly comfortable 30-14 lead.

The Cowboys, however, converted three fourth-down plays on an 80-yard drive, culminating on Bramlet's 22-yard pass to a diving McGuffey.

Two plays later, Guy Tuell's interception set up another Wyoming score. Bouknight hauled in Bramlet's 36-yard TD pass, and the 2-point conversion pass to Scott Sorensen made it 30-30 with 2:18 left in the period.

The Rams offense took charge again, rebuilding the two-touchdown lead before a late Wyo score drew the Pokes within eight points. But the Cowboys, who have yet to convert a field goal attempt this season, (including a miss in the third quarter), missed the extra point attempt. CSU recovered the on-side kick and ran out the clock for Lubick's milestone win.

Inside the Rams Top Stories