Wyoming Football: News and Notes Ahead of CSU
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl likes to joke that he doesn't spend a penny in Fort Collins.
Leia Bohl on the other hand.
"Unfortunately, I hate to say this, I've paid a lot of their bills to the equestrian deal," Wyoming's ninth-year head coach said. "My wife has horses, so she's become good friends with the surgeons down there. And our bank account reflects that.
"So I told Jay (Norvell) that he needs to maybe buy me a case of beer."
Wyoming and Colorado State will meet on the football field for the 114th time in history Saturday night inside Canvas Stadium. The Rams lead the overall series, 59-49-5. The Cowboys, however, own a 29-25 record since the Bronze Boot traveling trophy was introduced in 1968.
Since Bohl arrived on campus in 2014, Wyoming has hoisted that combat boot in the air five times, including a four-game winning streak from 2016-19.
This game always carries great importance, but what makes this meeting different is what is on the line for the visitors. UW is 4-1 in Mountain West play, looking to force a battle for first place in the Mountain Division Nov. 19 against Boise State.
Norvell's Rams are standing in the way.
"I think it's going to be a fun one," he said. "You know, like I said, we're playing for the Bronze Boot. We're in November. It's a big, big ballgame."
Bohl said all the right things about CSU. He praised the week-to-week improvements. He highlighted quarterback Clay Millen, running back Avery Morrow and wideout Tory Horton. Once a player under Bohl at North Dakota State, Rams' defensive coordinator Freddie Banks received an atta boy. So did former UW linebacker, Adam Pilapil, who now serves as an assistant coach in Fort Collins.
Bohl has been a part of many traditional rivalries during his 45 years in football as a player and coach. There was Nebraska-Oklahoma, North Dakota State-North Dakota, Wisconsin-Minnesota, Duke-North Carolina and many others.
Where does this Border War rivalry stack up for the Cowpokes' bench boss?
"Well, I think it rises to the top," he said. "One of the things I think makes it so special is what the game represents, you know, the Bronze Boot and everything that goes into that. You know, this is something that I personally cherish and it's one of the great college football rivalries."
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
Here are some other tidbits from Bohl's weekly press conference in Laramie:
* Titus Swen returns to the practice field Monday after spending the previous week in concussion protocol, according to Bohl. He expects the junior running back from Fort Worth to be ready to go Saturday night. Swen was injured in the first quarter of the Cowboys' 27-20 victory over Hawaii and spent the final three quarters on the sidelines in street clothes. Swen leads the team with 679 rushing yards on 148 attempts. That's an average of 4.6 yards per carry. Swen has also scored seven touchdowns.
* It's not clear yet whether or not Millen will be under center for the Rams on Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound freshman was forced to leave late in CSU's 28-16 loss at San Jose State after suffering an apparent head injury. Millen was sacked nine times in the loss, matching a season high. The final hit came courtesy of one of his own lineman after a scramble drill.
* Speaking of sacks, CSU's front five has given up an eye-popping 43 quarterback takedowns through nine games, by far the most in the Mountain West Conference. To put that number in perspective, Wyoming has given up the second-fewest sacks with a dozen in nine outings.
* It's no secret Andrew Peasley had a rough outing through the air in the win over Hawaii. The junior completed just 7-of-15 passes for 76 yards. He also tossed a pair of interceptions. Bohl said, simply, he needs to improve. "Well, you know, first of all, anytime you throw it, you're going to sometimes put the ball in harm's way," he said. "The two interceptions, you know, you're going to have some interceptions, but I thought they were not very timely. We need to take care of the ball better and go through his progression with his reads. He's a hard critic of himself and he's going to need to make better decisions."
* Emotions play a big part in the Border War. Bohl said that's an important aspect of this game, but to be smart in the process. "Sometimes you've got to put emotions in check, however, I think, to acknowledge that it's a big game is something that's really important to our players," he said. "So, you know, we're going to talk about that during the course of this week. Our players, particularly the older guys, understand the meaning of the game. These are games that, you know, all our former players will remember their experiences in this game. So, that's one of the neat things about college football, that our players have the privilege to play in this game."
* CSU committed 13 penalties in that loss at San Jose State. That docked the visitors 101 total yards. The Rams rank 11th out of 12 teams in the conference in the penalty department. Wyoming, second.
* Brady Bohlinger (Windsor), Buck Coors (Loveland), Ethan Drewes (Longmont), Wyett Ekeler (Windsor), Gunner Gentry (Aurora), Deron Harrell (Denver), Cayden Hawkins (Highlands Ranch), Haegun Hoffschneider (Parker), Jeremy Hollingsworth (Longmont), John Hoyland (Broomfield), Zaire Jackson (Parker), Max Jones (Fort Collins), Ryan Marquez (Arvada), Nick Miles (Parker), Emmanuel Pregnon (Denver), Luke Sandy (Elizabeth), Mason Schultz (Aurora), Braden Siders (Thornton), Malique Singleton (Aurora), Kevin Sjogren (Palisade), Zach Watts (Windsor) and Wyatt Wieland (Colorado Springs) all hail from the state of Colorado. That's 22 players on Wyoming's roster, nine of which are on the Cowboys' two-deep for this Saturday's game in Fort Collins. "You know, we've done some things to acknowledge those guys in the past," Bohl said of Colorado natives on the roster. "You know, some of them were not recruited by CSU that are here and a couple guys chose to come here over CSU. So we acknowledge those things, but more than anything else, I just think it's a rallying point for people within our program, the former players, former coaches and the people in the state of Wyoming. This is a very meaningful game."
* Marty English has been on both sides of this rivalry. From 2003-11, he served as a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in Laramie. In 2012, he assumed the same role in Fort Collins. He coached down south for six seasons. In a 2016 interview with The Coloradoan, English said this about Wyoming: "This is their Super Bowl; this is their everything game," English said. "Well, it has to be as important to us as it is to them. And so I still see it that way. My approach is still that way ... I do know that they still come here for all their fun, their luxuries, all that kind of stuff. It’s just not the same there. I know when that happens, it’s like anything, you kind of look around at what everybody else has and you don’t have or those kinds of things; there’s some jealousy stuff there. There’s some want. And those harbor tough feelings.” English returned to the sidelines at UW in 2020 and has coached the defensive ends since. This fall, Wyoming is second in the conference in sacks with 26, 17 of which have come courtesy of the edge rushers.