Despite impressive third quarter, Rams fall short in home opener

CSU Rams took a hard loss in their football opener game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, getting outscored 34-19.


Euan Peart, KCSU Sports

On a cold September 10 afternoon in Fort Collins, Colorado State University Rams took a hard loss in their football home opener game at the Canvas Stadium against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, getting outscored 34-19.

Heading into the game, CSU and its fans were rowdy and excited for the first game of their season. By the end of the first play of the game, not counting the kickoff, the Rams were down 6-0 due to quarterback Clay Millen throwing his first pass of the game directly to one of Middle Tennessee’s cornerbacks for an interception touchdown.

That pick 6 to start the game signaled fans as to how the rest of the first half would go. Rookie head coach Jay Norvell gave up on the passing game, calling many screen plays and even more running plays as he ignored how poorly the rushing game was going. This negative offensive trend combined with a more or less horrible defensive showing, allowing nearly five yards per play for the game. By the end of the first half, the Rams were down 27-0 to the Blue Raiders who had lost their previous game 44-7 to James Madison University.

Luckily for the Rams, the third quarter would prove to be a source of hope. Many CSU fans had filed out of the stadium during halftime – rightfully so, as the weather was getting colder and colder. Sadly for the Rams fans that left, they missed a three-touchdown quarter from wide receiver Tory Horton. Horton’s first touchdown was off of a beautiful 48-yard pass that he jumped from behind the defender to catch the ball over his head and his last touchdown was a simple 17-yard pass for the Rams’ first red zone conversion of the game. The most impressive touchdown of the game – for either team – was Horton’s 69-yard touchdown as he burned his defender off the line of scrimmage and Millen dropped it right in front of him to run the ball downfield for about 50 yards to the end zone.

Coincidentally, by missing a third quarter extra point attempt, the Rams broke a made extra point kicking streak. This streak had begun in the same 2018 game against Air Force – the last time a Rams player scored three touchdowns in a single game.

The Millen and Horton show would come to a close in the fourth quarter as neither team would be able to score. The Rams would eventually fall to 0-2 on the season with a trip to Washington State next weekend on the horizon. The Rams are hoping to turn this season around as Coach Norvell and his red-shirt freshman quarterback get more familiar in their roles in leading this team to the future, each showing promise during the second half of last Saturday’s loss.

KCSU Sports directors can be contacted at