DENVER — Close the book on the Mile High edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
The final chapter was written in black and gold.
The best part? It was one of those gritty, back-and-forth games. The type that makes you passionate about the in-state rivalry that dates back 126 years.
CU's 52-31 victory at Broncos Stadium on Friday night ended a 10-year run at the neutral NFL site. Nineteen of the past 22 Showdowns have taken place in Denver. It will return to campus next year when Fort Collins hosts the game for the first time since 1996.
But in the Mile High finale, both offenses showed up to put on a show for the 66,997 people in attendance. The 83 collective points were the most scored in any of their matchups.
The Buffs and Rams combined for a jaw-dropping 980 yards. In the first half alone, there were four different lead changes that had the opposite stands at Broncos Stadium alternating in a frenzy.
CU went into halftime with a slim 24-21 lead. But offensive mistakes held CSU back from getting any closer. Those were four turnovers (two interceptions, two lost fumbles) that killed any momentum the Rams got started.
"We had to make some adjustments at halftime," first-year coach Mel Tucker said. "That's the credit to our players. They didn't flinch. There was never panic or anything like that."
Like teammate Laviska Shenault in last year's game, CU sophomore running back Alex Fontenot out of Richmond, Texas, was the star of the 2019 Rocky Mountain Showdown. It was his first collegiate start.
"It felt good because I always knew what I could do in practice," Fontenot said. "But being able to show other people finally is like relief off me."
He ran his way into the end zone three separate times, racking up 125 yards that the CSU defense couldn't find an answer for. CU quarterback Steven Montez threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns, completing 13 of his 20 attempts.
This is the fifth-consecutive year that the Buffs have won the Centennial Cup. CU leads CSU 67-22-2 now all time throughout the history of the rivalry.
"It's always a great game, a great atmosphere here at Mile High," Montez said. "I'm very blessed to be able to play as many of these games as I got to play. These are memories that I'll keep with me for my entire life."
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