For a second straight week, tight end Dallin Holker enjoyed a 100-yard receiving game, and this time the Colorado State Rams won.

Jay Norvell’s Rams won their first game of the year, 31-23 over Middle Tennessee State in Murfeesboro, TN.

Going into halftime, CSU trailed 17-10 after giving up a last-minute touchdown. But the Rams came out on fire in the second half; they scored 21 straight points to take the lead and put it to 14 before the Blue Raiders put a fourth quarter touchdown on the board.

Even with that score, the Rams succeeded as Grady Kelly blocked the point after attempt, the first for CSU since 2014.

Following the win, starting quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi told the ESPN+ reporter, “We have an unbelievable amount of resiliency.”

The redshirt freshman quarterback, who started his second straight game after taking over for the benched Clay Millen, is right.

CSU could’ve come out flat after halftime, trailing and on the road. Plus, the Rams had a string of bad events—a poor punt, blown coverage and easy touchdown—to give the Blue Raiders the one-score lead at the break.

Instead, Fowler-Nicolosi led his Rams down the field by hitting Holker over and over again, who finished with 11 receptions for 112 yards and one score. Then, the Rams QB connected with star receiver Tory Horton for the senior’s first touchdown of the day in the third quarter. Fowler-Nicolosi and Horton linked up again in the fourth quarter, pushing the Rams ahead by 14 points, giving Horton back-to-back double-digit receiving contests.

And then the defense came up huge when MTSU ran a reverse, Nuer Gatkuoth forced a fumble and Mohamed Kamara recovered and scored.

Colorado State scored twice in 15 seconds and pushed the lead to 14 with 11:19 to go.

The Blue Raiders pushed back though; they scored in 4:45 when Nicholas Vattiato connected with Elijah Metcalf from 10 yards out for the score. But then Kelly blocked the extra point and CSU was able to hold on to win, even if it wasn’t easy.

The Rams were without their top two running backs in the second half as both Avery Morrow (knee) and Kobe Johnson (back) were injured, so Spring Game star Vann Schield filled in dutifully. But the Rams were basically forced to pass the ball almost exclusively in the second half, with Holker and Horton being the two most often on the receiving end from Fowler-Nicolosi.

Justus Ross-Simmons also enjoyed an explosive catch and run for 47 yards during the game-tying drive in the third quarter.

All told, Fowler-Nicolosi threw for 300 yards for a second straight game, which was the first time for the school since Patrick O’Brien did so in 2019. Ironically, Holker caught his touchdown in the first half from Giles Pooler from a field goal formation. On the day, the Rams passed for 330 yards but ran for a mere 33. Fowler-Nicolosi went 29-42 for 306 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Colorado State went a strong 8-15 (53.3%) on third downs and won the turnover battle 2-1.

Colorado State hit all three of the keys to the game and won. They carried the offensive momentum forward from the double-overtime loss to CU last week.

After not scoring 20 points in a single game in 2022, the Rams have scored 35 and 31 in the last two games.

Next week, the Rams face Utah Tech for the first time in school history during Ag Day and should be looking at a .500 record after four games.