Tale of two halves: Colorado State leads by four scores, comes back to win 42-30

K.J. Carta-Samuels hands off to Izzy Matthews. Credit: D. Ross Cameron, USA TODAY Sports.
K.J. Carta-Samuels hands off to Izzy Matthews. Credit: D. Ross Cameron, USA TODAY Sports.

It was the tale of two halves, and Colorado State came up huge early, but were devastated after the break only to come back and win 42-30.

The Rams, coming off a bye week and two straight losses before that, needed dearly to beat the one worse team than them in the Mountain West, and they answered the call late in the game on Saturday night.

After jumping out to the 28-0 lead, it looked like the Rams would walk to the win. But, not so fast, as the San Jose State Spartans slayed the third quarter, scoring 30 straight points. In the game-deciding fourth quarter, CSU was able to take the lead back when Izzy Matthews pounded the ball over the goal line in a much-needed touchdown for the green and gold. Then, Rashad Ajayi’s pick-six pushed that lead to 12, at 42-30 mid-way through the fourth quarter.

Colorado State jumped out to the 28-0 lead in the first half, playing nearly perfect football.

Rams head coach Mike Bobo said earlier this week he’d like his team to develop a more physical identity, and that came to fruition as they started by running wildly on the Spartans, enjoying their best rushing game of the year with 169 yards. Defensively, that physicality showed up on the two sacks — doubling their total on the year — all in the first half to lead 28-0. In fact, it was a near-perfect first half for Colorado State.

Everything started brilliantly for CSU. They ran the ball unlike they had all season long on that first drive, with Izzy Matthews breaking off double-digit runs three times, and it being capped off with a K.J. Carta-Samuels to Preston Williams touchdown for the 7-0 lead.

On the third drive, it was more of the same. Carta-Samuels remained on fire and he once again found Williams in the end zone for the duo’s second touchdown of the day. Even the defense came up big in the first half when Jan-Phillip Bombek came up with a sack to push the Spartans out of field goal range and keep the game 14-0 early in the 2nd quarter.

Later in that first half, Warren Jackson capped two separate drives with touchdown catches, reemerging as a deadly pass-catching threat for the Rams. That pushed the lead to 28-0.

If the first half for CSU was “Dr. Jeckyll” the second half was “Mr. Hyde.” The Spartans scored four touchdowns in the third quarter to help take the lead 30-28. First, quarterback Josh Love hit Tre Hartley for a score and then Tyler Nevens ran one in from six yards out after another big completion from Love. Then, Love connected with Hartley for a 51-yard touchdown in exciting fashion. Then, Love hit Thai Cottrell for a one-yard touchdown to tie it up 28-28.

The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Anthony Hawkins at the two yard line and the next snap turned into a safety, giving SJSU the 30-28 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Rams got it going again. Izzy Matthews finished off the drive with a one-yard score behind the big boys up front for that 35-30 lead. That final score from Ajayi on defense was the Rams final of the game and they won 42-30.

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