BOULDER, Colo. – Colorado State notched its highest point total of the season in a 64-21 win over rival Colorado. The Rams impressed in the blowout, but didn’t make up any ground in an attempt to catch Air Force’s Conference-leading point differential, as the Zoomies won by 43 points as well.
In a rivalry match that is always heated regardless of the standings, the Rams and Buffaloes traded blows in the opening half. Colorado State’s early eight-point advantage was quickly answered by a converted try from Colorado. The Rams again got on their front hooves and pushed their lead to 20-7, only to be answered by another converted Buff try to bring the match to 20-14 at intermission.
“CU versus CSU is the biggest game for us in terms of rivalry,” said Colorado State number eight Evan Giest. “We really wanted to beat Air Force earlier in the season because we hadn’t beat them in such a long time, but Colorado is our rival and our most intense match when it comes to physicality.”
A calming message was reinforced at halftime to remind the Rams to focus on execution, rather than concerning themselves with delivering the massive tackles players sometimes seek in a rivalry match.
“We relaxed at little bit after coming out too hyped,” explained Giest. “We got back to playing the game we know how to play – with continuity and support.”
The halftime reminder seemed to work, and the Rams outscored the Buffaloes 44-7 in the second stanza. Ten of those second-half points came from AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American Ben Pinkelman. Typically a flanker, Pinkelman moved to inside center for the match due to injuries in the back line and scored two tries. The Rams also have the necessary depth in their loose forwards to allow ‘Pinks’ to move to center.
Colorado State may sit two spots ahead of Air Force in the Canterbury D1A Top 20, but the Zoomies have the inside track to the Conference Championship. Both teams are 5-1 and split their head-to-head matchups. However, Air Force held onto its commanding point differential lead by hammering Wyoming, 67-24.
The Zoomies’ offensive onslaught saw seven different cadets score tries, including multi-try performances from center Ben Burmester, number eight Garrett Jameson, and second rower Heath Reichenbach.
The Rams will next do battle March 25 on the road versus Wyoming, while Air Force hosts Colorado March 20.