Colorado State had everything to win Saturday afternoon in Denver, but they couldn’t earn a win.
CSU came into the contest 2-0, while CU was 0-2—but you couldn’t tell by reading the outcome of the game.
The Rams were head-butted by the Buffaloes, and defeated 28-14 in the 83rd Rocky Mountain Showdown.
Sloppy and spontaneously emotional play ruled the day, as both Colorado State and Colorado University committed a boat-load of penalties. In the game, the two teams accounted for 19 penalties for 189 yards, CSU credited for nine of them.
But what’s frustrating for fans is the fact that the Rams ruled the Buffs in the beginning of the contest.
CSU cruised down the field after receiving the opening kickoff. The Rams rambled, mixing up their play-calling intelligently, which kept Colorado off balance and let to a CSU score.
The Rams ran twice and Pete Thomas threw the ball to Charles Lovett for a first down. Add on a personal foul for a late hit on Thomas and CSU was at the 50. The play of the day came on a fake run to the right, throw back to the left to Crockett Gillmore who went 34 yards down the left sideline. Thomas ran the ball in for the first touchdown of the day.
Thomas put the team on his shoulders in the first drive, but Colorado State punted on four straight drives after that and went into the half down 14-7. To wit, CSU went 80 yards on their first drive, their offense accounted for 76 yards the rest of the first half.
All the momentum and good will went out the window after the first drive as the Rams found themselves in an emotional rivalry game.
The Buffs finally found themselves offensively in the second quarter, as QB Tyler Hansen took over. Hansen went 4-4 on the drive for 37 yards on the drive, and he ran in the four-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven.
After a CSU three-and-out, Hansen went wild again, running for 19 yards on one play, throwing for 20 and 24 yards on the go-ahead touchdown just eight seconds before the half.
In the second half, Colorado State couldn’t get the offense going as penalties stymied drives, and Colorado scored with a quickness. Hansen hit TE Toney Clemons on a wide open 44-yard seam route when safety Austin Gray stared into the backfield and let the receiver run past him.
The Rams were stubborn and fought back and Thomas tried to bring them back. Thomas tossed for 25 yards on CSU’s last scoring drive that culminated with a pass-back to Lovett, who threw it 23 yards to an open Gillmore.
But it was all the fight they had, as Colorado put together a 10 minute, 85-yard drive for a touchdown while salting away the win.
In the end, Colorado State couldn’t get the job done, on offense or defense, and Colorado grinded out the win against them.
On offense, perplexing play-calling past the first drive, along with untimely penalties that ended all momentum and stopped drives short. Defensively, the Rams did well to slow down star receiver Paul Richardson, but they were ran over by the Buffs on the ground and burned on some big plays through the air.
At 2-1, CSU now goes on to face Utah State (1-1) in Logan, Utah. Utah State is a fantastic football team on the offensive end, their 333 yards rushing per game is fourth best in the nation while their 46 points per contest is 13th best in college football. The Rams will have to bring it on both sides of the ball next week if they hope to win.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report, and Swoosh Nation.
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