Ready to Rebound: Rothe Anxious to Produce Strong Finish to Frustrating Season

Tracy Ringolsby

LARAMIE -- Cowboys placekicker Cooper Rothe is anxious.

Saturday can't get here soon enough.

He is ready to get back on the field, and get back on track.

He's looking ahead. There is nothing to gain from looking back.

The Cowboys hopes of an upset of Boise State last Saturday night came to an end when Rothe, the runner-up for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's best placekicker a year ago, failed to connect on a 37-yard field goal in overtime.

It ate at Rothe.

"Getting home at 4 a.m., is always tough," he said of the plane ride home from Boise last Sunday morning, "especially the implications for me, being in that position, feeling you can lose the game for the team. The support I have with the coaches and teammates has been super great.

"They are telling me it's not all on you, even if I feel that way. It's a team game. There are plays you can look at and say if this happened or that happened it would have been different. It's hard to understand, especially at the time, feeling the weight is on me, but listening to them, and what they have been through the same things in different situations, especially the captains."

They also have watched the evolution of Rothe, who despite the inconsistency of this season has scored 320 points as a Cowboy, four shy of Sean Fleming's school record, and has 55 field goal, two shy of the school record also held by Fleming.

With three regular season games and a potential bowl bid, those records would seem only placeholders until Rothe kicks his way to the top of the list.

This week is a trip to Logan Utah, where the Cowboys will match-up with Utah State. 

This week is a game that Rothe is anxious to be a part of. He welcomes the opportunity to get back on the field and get back on track.

He, after all, set the bar very high for his senior season at Wyoming, and has come up shy of what he wanted to accomplish. Consider that he is 11-for-17 on field goal attempts compared to 16-for-17 last year, and 31-for-35 the past two years combined. He's 27-for-30 on point after touchdowns compared to a combined 64-65 the past two years, including a perfect 28-for-28 a year ago. 

"Setting standards as high as I did did last year, it is going to be hard to compete with myself," He admitted. "That's what people compare me to some times. 

"But i like to set my standards high, set my goals as high as they can be."

He paused.

"Working as hard as I ever have it is a little frustrating to see the results this season," Rothe admitted, "but you cant' go back and change things. I chose to be the kicker. You get one chance to do you job. If it doesn't happen you just go get the next one. That's my mentality."

That's what his teammates and the Wyoming coach staff want to see Rothe do. The confidence in him remains. 

"We know what he is done, what he is capable of," said Logan Wilson, a team captain. "He has proven himself. We have total confidence in Cooper."

Now it is up to Rothe to take that deep breath, exhale and enjoy himself.

The last couple of weeks have a special motivation for all Cowboys, but particularly ones from Colorado, like Rothe, a native of Longomont.

"Finishing strong these last three (regular season) games is important, especially with two of them against Colorado teams (CSU and Air Force)," he said. "I always have an extra edge (against them)."

And the Cowboys now from past results, they have an extra edge with Rothe.