CSU Falls 18-15 To San Diego State
In what might end up being dubbed the 'Wind Bowl,' the CSU Rams (1-3, 3-6) fell to the San Diego State Aztecs (3-2, 6-3) this evening in Fort Collins in the midst of a High Wind Warning. The Rams now travel to Texas next Saturday to face TCU, who beat Boise State earlier today.
Four plays: The Rams had just four snaps during the third quarter.
Bittersweet sacks: The Rams saw their eight-game sacks streak end, but also allowed only one sack, late in the fourth quarter.
Wind: The teams competed under a high-wind warning issued by the National Weather Service. Conditions included 30-60 mile-per-hour winds, with forecasted gusts expected to reach up to 75 mph. The wind shifted 180 degrees in the second half. It began the game blowing out of the south, and shifted sharply to blowing out of the north late in the third quarter. The Rams had the wind at their backs in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The wind then shifted on the kickoff following Garrett Grayson’s game-tying TD and two-point conversion.
Longest play from scrimmage: Chris Nwoke’s 63-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was CSU’s longest play from scrimmage this season, and the longest carry by a CSU player since Gartrell Johnson’s 77-yard touchdown in the New Mexico Bowl vs. Fresno State, Dec. 20, 2008. He then recorded a 67-yard run in the second quarter.
Shutting down Hillman: The Rams’ defense held Ronnie Hillman, the nation’s second-leading rusher entering the weekend, to just 80 yards and 3.3 yards per carry. Only TCU, which beat Boise State earlier in the day, held Hillman to lower totals (55 yards, 2.75 per carry) in a win at SDSU Oct. 8.
Shutting down Lindley: CSU’s defense, for the second straight season, limited the production of QB Ryan Lindley, who became the Mountain West’s all-time leading passer today, eclipsing BYU’s Max Hall. The Rams held Lindley to just 154 yards, his second-lowest total of the season (146 at Army, Sept. 10). Last season, the Rams limited Lindley (and the conference’s top two WRs, NFL-bound Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson), to a season-low 171 passing yards in a heartbreaking, 24-19 CSU loss at Qualcomm Stadium.
- CSU now has started four true freshmen: TE Blake Jones, WR Lee Clubb, S Drew Reilly and WR Charles Lovett.
- The following 20 players have made their first collegiate starts this season: G Jordan Gragert, FB Joe Brown, WRMarquise Law, TE Crockett Gillmore, DT John Froland, LB Mike Orakpo, S Austin Gray, DE Nordly Capi, TE Blake Jones, FB Austin Gillmore, LB Shaquil Barrett, NT Te’Jay Brown, T Ty Sambrailo, WR Lee Clubb, DT Curtis Wilson, FB Jake Levin, T Mason Hathaway, S Drew Reilly, WR Thomas Coffman and WR Charles Lovett.
Honoring veterans: The Rams honored the sacrifices made by our men and women in the military, and expressed appreciation for those actively serving, by wearing a yellow ribbon on their helmets. Additionally, the on-campus Veterans Services office contacted all CSU student veterans, and invited them to gather at the flagpole to be recognized prior to the national anthem.
Can’t bye me love: CSU is 1-3 under Steve Fairchild in games after bye weeks.
- In games after the bye, the Rams have won only one of their last six, a dramatic triumph over Case Keenum and Houston, Sept. 20, 2008, in Fort Collins, secured by Klint Kubiak’s last-second end-zone interception. The five losses were at Houston Sept. 22, 2007, vs. TCU on Nov. 25, 2006, at New Mexico on Nov. 21, 2009, vs. No. 5 Boise State and vs. San Diego State Nov. 12, 2011.
SDSU losses: Each of the Rams’ last four losses to SDSU have come in heartbreaking fashion. Last year, they lost 24-19 after a controversial ending, driving in hopes of taking the lead after a phenomenal defensive effort. In 2009, the Rams allowed SDSU to overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit in a 43-28 loss, and in 2007, CSU took a 20-17 lead in the final minutes, only to watch a defender slip and allow the Aztecs to win on a late TD, 24-20.
Close games: The Rams now have had five games decided by one score (eight points or less). Only 18 combined points have separated those games. Entering the weekend, only eight FBS schools had at least five of their games decided by one score or less (team, games, record, total points of separation in those games): Louisville 6 (2-4) 29, Syracuse 6 (4-2, three in OT) 30, Duke 5 (2-3) 12, Illinois 5 (3-2) 19, Utah State, 5 (1-4, one OT) 19, Louisiana Tech 5 (2-3, two OT) 22 Kansas State 5 (5-0) 22, Wake Forest 5 (3-2) 27.
Injury update: QB Pete Thomas sustained a sprained knee on the second play of the second quarter, and did not return. If he can’t start next week at TCU, his 21-game starting streak (tied with Weston Richburg and Jake Gdowski for longest active on the team) could be the sixth significant streak halted by injury this season, following those of CB Elijah-Blu Smith, OT Paul Madsen, NT Nuku Latu, LB Mychal Sisson and OT Joe Caprioglio).
- Center Weston Richburg left with approximately 12 minutes left in the game, and returned to the sideline with a cast on his right (snapping) hand, but did not return.
- CSU injuries have combined to prevent 52 starts this season. And among 14 key contributors, health ailments have claimed 69 combined games.
- RB Chris Nwoke’s 63-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the longest carry of his career, and longest by a CSU player since Gartrell Johnson’s 77-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Rams’ New Mexico Bowl win vs. Fresno State, Dec. 20, 2008. Nwoke in the second quarter then romped for 67 yards.
- RB Chris Nwoke over his last three games has 481 yards on 68 carries (7.1 avg.), with three TDs. The last player with consecutive 100-yard rushing games was Leonard Mason, at Air Force and vs. UNLV, Oct. 9-16, 2010.
- RB Chris Nwoke now has 786 rushing yards this season, and needs 214 to become the Rams’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Gartrell Johnson had 1,476 in 2008.
- LB Shaquil Barrett had 14 tackles to match his Division I career best (also 14 at Utah State, Sept. 24).
- LB Mychal Sisson contemplated with coaches and team medical staff whether to return from his Sept. 10 broken ankle, but determined that since he was only at about 75-80 percent that he would wait until next week, when the Rams travel to his home, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to hopefully return.
- TE Crockett Gillmore now has a catch in all nine games this season.