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Rocky Mountain Showdown history: Unranked CSU has beaten a ranked CU team before

CSU is a heavy underdog Saturday, but a little bit of history suggests all is not lost.
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Posted at 12:07 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 14:17:07-04

The No. 18-ranked Colorado Buffaloes enter the renewed Rocky Mountain Showdown Saturday as three-touchdown favorites over unranked Colorado State.

The massive spread comes after CU upset No. 17 TCU in Fort Worth in the season opener and thumped longtime rival Nebraska 36-14 as an encore. CSU, meanwhile, lost to then No. 23-ranked Washington State in its only game of the year thus far last week.

Colorado also has a pretty convincing all-time series edge, having won 67 games against CSU while losing just 22. The Rocky Mountain Showdown ended in a tie twice, in 1906 and 1920.

All is not lost for Colorado State, however.

An unranked CSU team has pulled off the upset of a highly-ranked CU team twice – in much more recent history.

In 1999, the Rams trounced the No. 14-ranked Buffs 41-14 in the penultimate year at Mile High Stadium. According to an account in the Rocky Mountain Collegian, the aftermath turned into a “riot” with upset Buffs fans “throwing cups (and) beer and attacking police and the Colorado sideline.”

Three years later, CSU once again upended a ranked iteration of their rival. In the second year of the Invesco Field at Mile High era, the Rams beat the Buffs in a more evenly-matched affair, 19-14. CSU scored three touchdowns on the ground and forced three Colorado turnovers in the win.

Those two wins came in a stretch in which Colorado State won three of four meetings. The Rams also won the Rocky Mountain Showdown in 2000.

This year, the game takes place in Boulder for the first time since 2009. It hasn’t been played in Fort Collins since 1996, as the teams had primarily squared off at the Denver Broncos’ stadium in recent history.

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