All Colorado State, no Fresno State.
Saturday afternoon’s penultimate game on Sonny Lubick’s Field at Hughes Stadium was the most dominant performance of the season for CSU, a 37-0 victory to improve to 5-4 on the year. The Rams are now one victory away from becoming bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.
“What a great day to be a Ram,” head coach Mike Bobo said after the win. “I’m really proud of our football team today. Challenged them the last two weeks, building on that momentum we created at UNLV.”
For Colorado State, it was the first shutout since Oct. 4, 1997, a 63-0 victory over Hawaii at Hughes. There were 225 games in between that shutout and Saturday’s shutout.
“I can’t say enough about the football team today, how they played,” Bobo continued. “Especially our defense. Shutout. It’s unbelievable, I think that’s six halves of football this year we’ve played shutout football.”
Here’s a quick look at how the first half went for the Rams, in terms of stats. Yards: CSU 337 – 68; first downs: CSU 18-2; total plays: CSU 45-18. The second half wasn’t nearly as great for Colorado State, but still solid as they held onto win with ease.
Nick Stevens was hot to trot to start, especially when throwing the ball to Michael “The Horse” Gallup. Stevens started the game 14-17 for 199 yards and one score, that pass going to Gallup who broke tackles while leaping into the end zone with supreme effort.
Stevens kept cruising in the second half — as did the defense, forcing a punt — and the offense capitalized when the quarterback threw a beautiful fade to Anthony Hawkins for the 30-0 lead. That was the true freshman Hawkins’ first touchdown of the year as the rout was on for the Rams.
On CSU’s next drive, it was Izzy Matthews running his second score of the day over the goal line: 37-0, Rams.
When it was all said and done, it was the most convincing victory of the year for the green and gold. Their 37 points scored were the third-most of the year but it was the first time they held an opponent scoreless.
Finally, Colorado State has played a complete, 60-minute game. It’s what Mike Bobo has been looking for, hoping for all season long.
“There’s always things to work on,” Bobo said of the win, as he’s never satisfied, in a good way, striving for more. “Was it the most complete game of the year? No doubt about it…But, we could get so much better.”
And now, after defeating UNLV handily two weeks ago and Fresno this Saturday, the Rams are flying high confidence-wise with three games to play.
The Rams actually led in first downs 12-0 to begin the contest, and finished the first half 18-2, including 5-7 on key, 3rd down conversions. Colorado State ended the game with 28 first downs compared to only 12 for Fresno. They finished 6-11 (54.5 percent) on 3rd downs.
Nick Stevens finished the game 18-23 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, another solid and turnover free game by Stevens since Hill’s injury.
Izzy Matthews scored twice, bringing his touchdown total on the year to 8. He’s the leading TD scorer for the green and gold and finished with 55 yards on 10 carries.
Freshman Marvin Kinsey ran 10 times for 83 yards
Gallup’s touchdown was his sixth on the season, the most of any Rams receiver. Gallup finished the game with 9 receptions for 126 yards and the score.
Jordon Vaden picked off Zach Kline, the converted receiver’s first interception of the year, but then spiked the ball and was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
True freshman Arjay Jean enjoyed 1.5 sacks on the day.