FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Jimmy Green helped Colorado State win back the coveted Bronze Boot, running for 124 yards and a touchdown Friday night in a 30-7 victory over archrival Wyoming.
Freshman Caleb Hanie threw for 167 yards in his first start 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.
Wyoming (4-3, 1-2) gave away a lot more than just the boot on this blustery night in Fort Collins. The Cowboys hurt themselves with four turnovers, a bobbled snap on a field-goal try and some poor clock management at the end of the first half that cost them points.
The Rams took advantage behind Green, a junior, who carried the ball 32 times in this, his first career start. Linebacker Luke Adkins returned an interception 35 yards for his second touchdown in as many weeks.
Wyoming quarterback Corey Bramlet led his team on an 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game, but that was it for the Cowboys.
They had other chances, though.
Three plays after recovering a fumble deep in Rams territory, Wyoming lined up for a field goal that would have tied the game at 10, but holder J.J. Raterink mishandled the snap and was forced to throw an incomplete pass.
Trailing 17-7 at the end of the first half, Bramlet 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.
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.
Colorado State played its first full game without quarterback Justin Holland, who broke his leg in a win over San Diego State last week. In the preseason, coach Sonny Lubick said Holland was the one player the Rams couldn't do without, although it didn't appear that way Friday.
Green was the first 100-yard rusher for the Rams this season. Jeff Babcock kicked three field goals to raise his career total to 47 and surpass Steve DeLine for first place on CSU's career list.
And while Hanie 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 win kept CSU well in the conference race, only a half-game behind Utah (2-0) with a meeting against the Utes still to come. As much as that, though, this win was about the boot — and bragging rights in the series known as "The Border War."
The Rams also may have 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.
LOUISVILLE 41, SOUTH FLORIDA 9: At Louisville, Ky., Stefan LeFors completed his first 13 passes, threw for one touchdown and ran for another in Louisville's 41-9 victory over South Florida. LeFors finished 21-of-26 for 242 yards for the 15th-ranked Cardinals (5-1, 3-0 Conference USA), who bounced back from last week's 41-38 loss to No. 4 Miami. Louisville, third in the nation in total offense, racked up 517 yards and reached 40 points for the eighth time in 19 games under second-year coach Bobby Petrino. The sputtering Bulls (2-4, 1-3) finished with 203 yards and 13 first downs.