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Cowboys vs. Rams: 113th edition of The Border War

Nov 4, 2017 - Wyoming Cowboys hoist the Bronzed Boot against the Colorado State Rams at War Memorial Stadium. (Troy Babbitt-UW Media-Athletics)

By Tim Harkins, University of Wyoming athletics

It is a rivalry for the ages. It is a series played in three different centuries, dating back to the first meeting in 1899. And for both of this week’s teams – the Wyoming Cowboys and the Colorado State Rams – it is the oldest rivalry in both schools’ histories.

This Saturday will see the Cowboys and Rams meet on a football field for the 113th time in The Border War. The game is schedule to kick off at 1:30 p.m., from Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium.

Wyoming will enter Saturday’s game with a 4-4 overall record and an 0-4 record in the Mountain West. Colorado State is 3-5 overall and 2-2 in the Mountain West.

The history of The Border War

The Border War series has been played in three different centuries, dating back to Nov. 30, 1899, when CSU won the first meeting 12-0 in Fort Collins, Colo. This year is the 122nd anniversary of that first meeting.

Since 1968, the two schools have battled for the “Bronze Boot” traveling trophy. This year will be the 54th meeting in the Bronze Boot portion of the series. Wyoming leads the Bronze Boot portion of the series 28-25. The Bronze Boot trophy was created from an actual boot worn in Vietnam by Dan Romero, a CSU ROTC instructor.

Since the end of World War II, Wyoming and CSU have played every season for 76 consecutive seasons from 1946 to this season.  Over the past 75 consecutive meetings, dating back to the 1946 season, Wyoming leads 43-32-0.

Colorado State leads the overall series 59-48-5.

Colorado and Wyoming Cowboys who’ve grown up with the Border War rivalry

The Border War series with Colorado State holds a special meaning for several Wyoming Cowboys who played their high school football in the state of Colorado.  There are 23 Cowboys on the current Wyoming roster from the state of Colorado.  Seven of those Pokes have started for Wyoming this season, including: center Keegan Cryder, wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt, linebacker Chad Muma, safeties Esaias Gandy and Braden Smith, place-kicker John Hoyland and wide receiver Wyatt Wieland.

Gillette’s Caleb Driskill among homegrown Cowboys following the rivalry

There are also 13 players on the Wyoming roster from the state of Wyoming, who have grown up with the Border War rivalry and five of those have started for the Pokes this season.  Those five starters are: defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole, tight end/fullback Parker Christensen, offensive tackle Frank Crum, fullback Caleb Driskill and offensive guard Logan Harris.


Tickets are going fast but still available for Saturday’s Border War game versus Colorado State. Fans may order tickets online at GoWyo.com/tickets, by emailing tickets@uwyo.edu or by calling (307) 766-7220.

Xazavian Valladay approaching a career milestone

Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay will enter Saturday’s game having rushed for 2,895 career rushing yards to rank No. 4 in Wyoming history.

He trails only Brian Hill (4,287 rushing yards from 2014-16); Devin Moore (2,963 yards rushing from 2005-08); and Ryan Christopherson (2,906 rushing yards from 1991-94) on Wyoming’s career rushing list. Valladay needs only 11 more rushing yards to tie Christopherson and 68 to reach Moore.

With 105 more rushing yards, Valladay will join Hill as the only two Cowboys to ever rush for 3,000 career rushing yards. He could potentially reach that milestone Saturday versus Colorado State.

Oddly enough, Valladay rushed for 147 yards against Colorado State on Nov. 5, 2020, to become only the 12th Wyoming Cowboy in school history to rush for over 2,000 career yards.

Valladay rushed for 396 yards as a redshirt freshman, recorded 1,265 rushing yards as a sophomore and 550 rushing yards in only five games in 2020. This season, he has rushed for a total of 684 yards.

Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma in elite company

Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma was named one of 16 semifinalists for the prestigious Butkus Award on Monday, Nov. 1. The Butkus Award honors the nation’s best linebackers in the nation. This is the 37th year of the Butkus Award. Finalists are expected to be announced Nov. 22 and winners on or before Dec. 7. The pro winner will be announced in early 2022.

Muma was the only Mountain West player named a semifinalist this year. This is the second time in three years that Wyoming has had a semifinalist for the Butkus Award. Former Cowboy linebacker Logan Wilson was named a semifinalist in 2019, and now stars for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.

That wasn’t the only national honor that Muma received this week. Also this past Monday, the Maxwell Football Club announced its 2021 semifinalists for the 27th Chuck Bednarik Award powered by Mammoth Tech. The Bednarik Award is presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football.

Muma was one of only two Mountain West players named semifinalists for this year’s Chuck Bednarik Award. San Diego State defensive end Cameron Thomas was also selected as a semifinalist.

Fantastic freshman

The Mountain West Conference announced its Players of the Week on Monday, Nov. 1 and Wyoming freshman punter Ralph Fawaz was selected the Mountain West’s Freshman of the Week for his performance last Saturday against San Jose State. It was the second time this season that Fawaz earned the honor.

Fawaz averaged 48.8 yards per punt on four punts at San Jose State last Saturday. He had three punts of 50 or more yards – 51 yards, 50 yards and 55 yards.

One of the great Cowboy teams returns to War Memorial Stadium Saturday

Several members of the 1996 Wyoming Cowboy football team have returned for a team reunion this weekend. The team will be recognized Saturday on the field during the game.

It was 25 years ago that the ‘96 Cowboys, led by their late head coach Joe Tiller, posted a 10-2 season, had the nation’s longest winning streak, earned a spot in the inaugural Western Athletic Conference Championship Game and ended the season ranked No. 22 in the nation in both the Associated Press and Coaches Poll final rankings.

Wide receiver Marcus Harris won the 1996 Biletnikoff Award and earned Consensus All-America honors while setting an NCAA record for career receiving yards, with 4,518 yards.

The Cowboys were the No. 1 ranked passing offense in the nation in ‘96, averaging 359.2 passing yards per game, and quarterback Josh Wallwork was No. 1 in the nation in total offense, averaging 350.8 yards per game.

Three members of that 1996 team earned First Team All-America honors. In addition to Harris, offensive tackle Steve Scifres and place-kicker Cory Wedel were both named First Team All-Americans.

Harris, Wallwork, Scifres and Wedel were joined on the 1996 WAC All-Conference team by linebacker Jim Talich and defensive back Lee Vaughn.

Tiller was selected as the 1996 WAC Coach of the Year and was honored by the American Football Coaches Association as the Region 4 Coach of the Year.

About the Colorado State Rams

CSU’s offense is paced by one of the nation’s top tight ends in Trey McBride. He has 65 catches for 740 yards and one touchdown on the season. McBride has been named one of the semifinalists for this year’s Mackey Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate tight end each season.

The Rams also have an outstanding punter in Ryan Stonehouse, who has been named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List every year of his college career. The Guy Award is presented annually to the nation’s best punter.  Stonehouse has earned All-Mountain West honors each of the past three seasons. This season he is averaging 51.3 yards per punt to rank No. 2 in the nation and No. 2 in the Mountain West behind only San Diego State’s Matt Araiza.

Where to Watch and Listen

For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game vs. Colorado State, there are several ways to watch and listen.

Radio Broadcast Information for the Cowboy Sports Network (CSN):

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network.

Announcers are Dave Walsh, Play-by-Play (38th year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (24th year) and

Reece Monaco, Sideline Reporter (11th year)

The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Television Broadcast Information for Wyoming vs. Colorado State Game

Saturday’s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Announcers will be Dave Ryan (Play-by-play) and Sed Bonner (Color Analyst).