The Wyoming Cowboys entered the 2011 Border War game at Colorado State on Dec. 3 looking for their third consecutive win over the Rams and were coming off a 44-0 shutout of CSU the previous season in Laramie. The Pokes led for the majority of the 2011 meeting, but after falling behind late in the third quarter it would take a memorable comeback by the Cowboys to capture a 22-19 road win.
Cowboy football fans can re-live the 2011 win over Colorado State this Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m., M.T. when the radio call of the game will be re-broadcast on Cowboy Sports Network affiliate stations. Fans unable to access the radio re-broadcasts on a Cowboy Sports Network affiliate may listen to the broadcast by clicking on the link that accompanies this story on the Wyoming Football page at GoWyo.com.
In the only December meeting in the over 100-year history of the Border War rivalry with Colorado State, CSU would strike first, kicking a 21-yard field goal in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, Cowboy junior running back Alvester Alexander would break loose on a 36-yard touchdown run to give Wyoming a 7-3 lead. For Alexander, it was his sixth TD versus the Rams in two games. He set a UW single-game touchdown record in 2010 when he scored five TDs in UW’s 44-0 shutout victory over the Rams. That record still stands today.
Colorado State would cut the lead to one point, 7-6, at the 10:56 mark of the second quarter with its second field-goal of the game — this one from 44 yards. But the Cowboys would quickly expand their lead. On Wyoming’s first play of its next possession, true freshman quarterback Brett Smith would connect with true freshman wide receiver Josh Doctson on an 80-yard touchdown pass to extend Wyoming’s lead to 14-6 and that is where the score would remain going into halftime.
In the third quarter, Colorado State running back Raymond Carter would score on a four-yard TD run with 6:01 remaining in the third to cap off a 16-play, 87-yard drive. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, UW retained a 14-12 lead. The Pokes were forced to punt on their next possession. A short punt combined with a 17-yard return by the Rams put the ball at the Wyoming 48-yard line. Seven plays later, CSU’s Carter scored his second rushing touchdown, this one from one yard out, with the successful extra point Colorado State took the lead at 19-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter began with Colorado State having a chance to extend their lead, but a 32-yard field-goal attempt hit the upright and bounced out. A personal foul penalty after the play moved the ball back to the Wyoming 10-yard line. The Cowboy offense responded, driving 90 yards in 11 plays with Smith again connecting with Doctson on a 35-yard TD pass to give the Pokes a 20-19 lead with 8:46 remaining in the game. The Cowboy defense came up with a big stop on Colorado State’s next possession. On a fourth and three from the Wyoming 41-yard line, Wyoming forced an incomplete pass by the Rams. After gaining 15 yards on its ensuing possession, Wyoming attempted a deep pass that was intercepted by the Rams at their own five-yard line. CSU gained six yards on its first play. It was then that junior defensive tackle Mike Purcell would come up with the play of the game. Purcell would tackle Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson in the end zone for a safety that would build Wyoming’s lead to three points at 22-19 with 2:43 remaining in the game. Wyoming received the kick after the safety, but would have to punt the ball back to the Rams for one final possession. On the Rams’ second play from scrimmage, Cowboy true freshman cornerback Blair Burns would intercept Grayson with only 28 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Pokes.
There were a lot of heroes on the day for the Cowboys. Smith accounted for 281 yards of total offense (90 rushing and 191 passing) and threw two TD passes. Doctson caught three passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Alexander rushed for 87 yards on the day and one TD. Defensively, the Pokes intercepted three passes. In addition to Burns’ interception, senior safety Tashaun Gipson and sophomore cornerback Marqueston Huff each picked off one pass each. Purcell added six tackles and 1.0 sack to go with his safety. Senior linebacker Brian Hendricks and junior safety Luke Ruff led the Cowboys with nine and eight tackles, respectively. For Purcell, Hendricks and Ruff the victory was extra sweet as they were all Colorado natives. Other Colorado natives who made an impact on the game included senior defensive end Gabe Knapton (5 tackles), junior linebacker Korey Jones from Fort Collins (5 tackles), sophomore linebacker Devyn Harris (4 tackles), sophomore running back Brandon Miller (57 all-purpose yards), redshirt freshman wide receiver Sam Stratton (1 catch for 15 yards) and true freshman wide receiver Dominic Rufran (2 catches for 8 yards). Other Cowboy defenders who had big days were: senior defensive end Josh Biezuns (7 tackles), junior safety Luke Anderson (6 tackles) and redshirt junior defensive tackle Kurt Taufa’asau (4 tackles).
The Saturday re-broadcasts will feature a pre-game segment with the Cowboy Sports Network’s radio broadcast team of Dave Walsh and Kevin McKinney reminiscing about the game followed by the original broadcast of the game and the original postgame interviews conducted the day of the game. Walsh and McKinney will also have some closing comments at the end of each broadcast.