Sellout crowd, beautiful fall day; what could be better for a Homecoming game than this at Colorado State?
Well, a win on the gridiron, which is what they got in the 20-18 victory over the New Mexico Lobos.
“What a game,” Mike Bobo said after the win. “We talked about all week just finding a way to win a ball game, and that’s what we did.”
But, it wasn’t pretty throughout.
Colorado State led for the first three quarters of the game, until a hot, 15-point second half by the Lobos pushed the road team into the 18-17 lead with 13:01 to play. The Rams moved the ball well to the New Mexico one yard line, but weren’t able to punch it in and elected to kick an 18-yard field goal, which was missed by Wyatt Bryan with 2:29 to play. Luckily, CSU got the ball back and moved it with relative ease to win the game on a 26-yard field goal by the senior, Bryan.
This wasn’t as close at it seemed to start out. No, it all began wonderfully for the Rams as Caleb Smith forced a fumble on the second play of the game. Colorado State scored two plays later on a brilliant back-shoulder pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels to Preston Williams.
Defensively, the Rams stayed hot, forcing two more punts and a turnover on downs when Jordan Fogal tackled big-boy Zahneer Shuler, who weighs in at 232 pounds on CSU’s own 4-yard line.
The offense then kept their production going, too; they went 96 yards in 16 plays to score and push their lead to 14-0. On that drive, the Rams passed nine times and ran seven with nearly perfect balance and Carta-Samuels ran the ball into the end zone untouched.
New Mexico answered with a lengthy drive of their own, but Smith — who forced the fumble earlier in the day — sacked Sherion Jones on third and goal to force a 29-yard field goal and bring the game to 14-3.
Colorado State had one more chance to score before the half, with the ball and 1:12 on the clock, but multiple offensive penalties help stall the drive without points, making it 14-3 at halftime.
The second half started out much worse for CSU. The offense had to punt on their first two drives, while the Lobos went 80 yards in only five plays to score and bring the game to 14-11, Rams. Elijah Lilly caught a swing pass and went 23 yards to the house, and then Rashad Ajayi was offsides on the extra point which gave New Mexico an opportunity to go for two. They did and were successful as Sherion Jones kept it and brought the game to a 3-point contest.
CSU answered with a field goal, running a trick play twice in a row with little success, following a massive, 45-yard pass from Carta-Samuels to Bisi Johnson. Still, that score was crucial as it pushed the Rams lead back up to 17-11 going into the fourth.
But after another drive turned into a punt for the Rams, the Lobos returned it 54 yards to the CSU 11 which was quickly converted into a touchdown for the 18-17 Lobos lead, with 13:01 to play.
To follow, the Rams drove down all the way to the one yard line, eating up a ton of clock, and were stuffed on 3rd down when Izzy Matthews tried to jump over the pile and was rejected. Then, Mike Bobo elected to kick a field goal and Wyatt Bryan missed the go-ahead attempt from 18 yards out, with 2:29 left on the clock.
However, after a defensive stop, CSU was able to put together a solid, game-winning drive which ended with Bryan’s big-time field goal for the victory.
Colorado State beat New Mexico for the ninth straight time and the Rams have now won two straight, improving to 3-4 on the season.
- Preston Williams finished with nine catches for 93 yards and one touchdown.
- Carta-Samuels went 24-42 for 311 yards and one touchdown.
- Izzy Matthews enjoyed a 26-carry, 92-yard day.
- Devin Phillips had 1.5 sacks on the day while Tre Thomas led the team with 10 total tackles.