To my pleasant surprise, my one-hundredth game turned out to be a blast. Never would I have imagined this milestone to take place on a Friday night in Fort Collins, Colorado. However, I learned a bit more about the intensity of small town rivalries. The trail blazed from Laramie down I-80 and I-25 is just close enough to spawn a deep loathing between these two opponents. They play for the coveted Bronze Boot and whether you are wearing a cowboy hat or ram horns, the trophy means intense bragging rights and often a bowl placement.
Hughes Stadium is set far from the campus of Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colorado. The setting is amazing as it rests up against the Rocky Mountain foothills. But, it sits all alone. Looking at it, you wouldn’t imagine that the stadium could provide such a wild atmosphere. Surrounding the stadium are acres of land used for parking. The scene is quite chaotic…much like a rock concert. Police pointing cars in all directions, vehicles bumping along on the rocky grass and drunken college students swarming the area. Night games are commonplace at Hughes Stadium, which only gives the student body more time to fill their student bodies with alcohol. The lawn outside the stadium is an all-evening party up to kickoff. The sun disappears behind the mountains and its game time.
Colorado State likely held the most anticipation for getting their first home game of the season underway. Having started the season with a heartbreaking loss to rival Colorado in Boulder and a crushing shutout loss to top ranked USC, playing in front of a friendly bunch of folks could prove to be the best remedy for their woes. The Golden Gophers travel from Minneapolis with an undefeated record attached to their luggage. The Rams may be glad to be home, but Minnesota may have not been the most welcome guest. The Gophers come in with an impressive running game, while Colorado State still searches for corks to plug their leaky defense.
Every edge of every seat at Folsom Field would be worn thin by the conclusion of this heart-halting contest. For me, this game would complete a major first in my tour – watching two division one games in one day. Part one of the double header had Cal devouring Air Force in impressive fashion. Tonight’s game served up a heaping helping of hate as the green and gold and black and gold collided in every imaginable way. Flags staked in the ground bearing the CU emblem welcomed fans as they traveled up the Boulder Turnpike toward campus. The energy intensified as Boulder appeared framed breathtakingly against the Rockies. Tailgating and parking was as competitive as on the field action as fans crammed into the city and billows of smoke emanating from grills signaled the opening of a fresh season. Colorado students belted the fight song and interrupted themselves with harsh heckling of CSU fans that passed by. Dusk settled in and the stadium reverberated with anticipation.