Homecoming Game off of Last Second Field Goal
By: Ray McGowan
The Colorado State University Rams hosted the New Mexico University Lobos this past Saturday to a sold-out homecoming game. CSU has had an up and down season so far with blown out losses to Colorado, Florida, and even FCS team Illinois State. The Rams have had inconsistent play to say the least with the constant switching of Quarterback KJ Carta-Samuels and Colin Hill at what seems to be the most random times paired with a mediocre run game and an abysmal defense has led them to a (2-4) record before Saturday’s game. The defense has allowed 33.8 points per game so far this season and with the loose of DL Richard King has the Rams ranked No.112 in total defense in the FBS.
New Mexico has found better success even with questions of Quarterback. They started off the season with QB Tevaka Tuioti at the helm but after a collarbone injury that knocked him out for the season, QB Sheriron Jones has filled in enough for the Lobos to get by. New Mexico has been able to put up +42 points in 4 out of their last 5 games, the only one loss was against the University of Wisconsin who is ranked in the AP Top 25. One thing the Lobos do share in common with the Rams is the quality of their defense. While not as poor, New Mexico has 3 games where they have given up +30 points including a 52 point loss to Liberty University.
In the first half, CSU came out of the gate strong after New Mexico’s RB Tyrone Owens fumbled and turned over the ball inside their own 20-yard line which allowed QB Carta-Samuels to throw a touchdown pass to WR Preston Williams. New Mexico was able to find some success on the ground whether that came from RB Owens or through QB Sheriron’s scrambles. However, the same Rams front seven that had 6 sacks against San Jose State University came to play and denied the Lobos on a 4th and 1 on the Rams 4-yard line. The offense, led by Carta-Samuels, was able to drive 96 yards down the field and capped it off with a beautiful trick play for a 1-yard rushing touchdown by KJ. New Mexico was able to finally get on the board their next drive with a 29-yard kick by K Andrew Shelley.
CSU received the ball at the start of the second half and struggled right off the gate, letting the New Mexico defense make Carta-Samuels look uncomfortable and almost intercepting the ball twice before forcing the Rams to punt. New Mexico QB Sheriron came out looking comfortable as ever, ending the Lobos drive with a 23-yard pass to WR Elijah Lily. Tack on a successful 2-point conversion after a CSU penalty and the Lobos lowered the deficit to just a field goal. CSU Head Coach Mike Bobo reached deep into his playbook to get the Rams in the end zone, but after two busted up wildcat plays, they settle for a 22-yard field goal by K Wyatt Bryan. New Mexico’s special teams came out and shined during the second half with Punter Dyer Tyson pinning the Rams in their own 10-yard line as well as Punt Returner Marcus Hayes returning it into the red zone for a short field for the offense. A 5-yard pass to WR Delane Hart-Johnson from Sheriron gave New Mexico the lead for the first time in the game making it (18-17).
CSU was able to drive down the field to the 4-yard line, but after 2 false starts in a row, the Rams were stopped an inch from the end zone and settled for a field goal. Which in turn K Bryan missed and gave the ball to New Mexico with 2:29 left in the fourth. Colorado State’s defense was able to get a stop and CSU had one last chance to win the game with 2:01 left on the clock and on their own 27-yard line. Due to some impressive plays by RB Matthews and QB Carta-Samuels, the Rams were able to drive down to New Mexico’s 16-yard line where Head Coach Bobo decided to put his faith in K Bryan (who missed an 18-yard field goal literally 2 minutes ago) one last time and it paid off. K Wyatt Bryan was able to put it through the uprights.
CSU Quarterback KJ Carta-Samuels finished the game going for 24 for 42, 311 yards, and 1 passing and 1 rushing touchdown. Running back Izzy Matthews almost broke the 100-yard mark rushing for 93 yards on 26 attempts. Wide Receiver Preston Williams led the Rams with 93 yards on 9 receptions which could have been more after a couple of dropped passes that could have led to a touchdown. The CSU defense put in the effort to make the stops when needed and racked up 3 sacks and a fumble recovery.
After the game, Head Coach Mike Bobo had this to say, “It wasn’t pretty, but that’s what we are right now. We are growing, we are learning… There’s still a lot of room for us to grow.” Colorado State will face off against Boise State in Boise on October 19th.