Postgame Notes: CSU vs. Weber State




Sept. 12, 2009

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TEAM NOTES

Another victory in final seconds: In Steve Fairchild's 15 games as head coach, eight of the Rams' nine wins, and 10 overall games, have been decided in the final 3 minutes.

  • The Rams under Fairchild have played seven games decided by one score or less (eight points), and posted a 5-2 record in those contests. CSU's only two losses were to BYU (45-42) and TCU (13-7), two nationally ranked teams at the end of 2008.
  • Finding a way to win close games was one characteristic the Rams lacked during the program's slide in the middle of this decade. Prior to Sept. 6, 2008, when the Rams won a walk-off field goal vs. Sacramento State, the last time the Rams won a game by a field goal or less was Nov. 22, 2003, at UNLV.

Replay: For the second straight game, replay review gave the Rams a huge assist, this time on multiple occasions.

  • Midway through the second quarter, Weber State's Antwain Stutson appeared to have intercepted Grant Stucker's pass, setting up the Wildcats with prime field position. But after offensive line coach Pat Meyer and Head Coach Steve Fairchild confronted officials, replay eventually overturned the call, revealing that Stutson barely stepped out of bounds.
  • Then, on the play that eventually decided the game, tight end Eric Peitz went out of the end zone wrestling with his defender. Officials initially ruled an incompletion, and many in the stadium thought replay review would reveal an interception or confirm the incompletion, but instead, replay proved that Peitz made a magnificent catch, the first touchdown of his career.
  • Last week, at a critical juncture in the Rams' win at Colorado, Elijah-Blu Smith delivered a reverberating hit on a play in which officials initially ruled a completion. After further review, replay revealed that Smith had caused a fumble and after a heads-up play by Alex Williams to pounce on the ball despite the officials' ruling, the Rams took possession.

Penalties: CSU flags wiped out what would've been three big plays for the Rams. First, a holding call erased Lou Greenwood's first career reception; the true freshman had just made his college debut in the first quarter, and on his first play, picked up several yards on a screen pass. Then, in the second quarter with Weber State threatening, a roughing-the-passer call nullified what would've been DeAngelo Wilkinson's first career interception. The Wildcats went on to score a touchdown to take a 20-17 lead. Finally, late in the game, an offsides penalty - a flag on the other side of the field from the point of attack - wiped out Michael Kawulok's fourth-and-1 stop, which preserved the final Weber State drive that could've won the game for the Wildcats.

One year ago, trailing at half: The Rams also trailed Sacramento State, another FCS team, at halftime in 2008, 10-7.

  • Under Steve Fairchild, CSU now is 6-5 when trailing at halftime, including a 3-1 home record.
  • The Rams are now 3-6 when trailing after three quarters, 1-2 at home, under Fairchild.

Debuts: Five CSU players saw their first career action today: FB Jason Klingerman, DE Zach Tiedgen, RB Lou Greenwood, K Chad VanderMolen and LB Chris Gipson.

Student sellout: Today's paid attendance (23,417) includes the first student sellout (10,000) since Sept. 8, 2007, vs. Cal, then the 10th-ranked team in the nation.

2-0 starts: The Rams have only their fourth 2-0 start this decade, and just their second over a seven-year stretch (also 2006).

  • But history is on their side. Only once over their last six seasons that began with two wins have the Rams not gone to a bowl game (in 2006).
  • And, only twice over those six 2-0 starts have the Rams not gone on to win their conference championship (in 1990 and 2006).

Five straight: Over a longer stretch, the Rams have won five straight. CSU's current streak, which began here with a triumph over New Mexico, is its longest since the Rams used a six-game streak, Oct. 12-Nov. 23, 2002, to capture the 2002 MWC title and advance to the Liberty Bowl.

Home openers: The Rams have won four of their last six home openers, having their two-year winning streak snapped in 2007 in a thrilling game against then-No. 10 Cal. In that contest, the Rams rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, one after recovering an onside kick, in a 34-28 loss. CSU's three previous wins in the stretch are against Nevada (2005), Weber State (2006) and Sacramento State (2008).

  • In his 10 combined years as a CSU assistant (1993-2000) and head coach (2008-09), the Rams are 9-1 in Fort Collins openers with Steve Fairchild on staff. The Rams' only loss during that span was the first game of the Sonny Lubick era, Fairchild's first home contest as a Rams assistant, a 23-9 loss to the Oregon Ducks, in 1993.

Short week: The Rams' current senior class, those players who were true freshmen in 2005, are used to short weeks, something CSU is enduring as it prepares for Weber State.

  • And the senior class actually has had several such weeks in its recent past, including as recently as this week last year, a win vs. Sacramento State, and Nov. 17-23, 2007, when the Rams won their 2007 finale in the Border War against Wyoming. The Rams' seniors are 4-1 on short weeks (2005-09). CSU as a program has won five of its last six.

Against the FCS/Division I-AA: The Rams have now won 12 straight games against teams from Division I-AA/FCS, dating back to a loss at home to Idaho on Sept. 12, 1992.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

Elijah-Blu Smith: Registered his second interception in as many games, and second of his career. In 2008, the Rams had just 10 INTs all year. After two games in 2009, they have

Dion Morton: Put the Rams on the board with a 40-yard pass off a double reverse to quarterback Grant Stucker. A former quarterback at Riverside (Calif.) North High School, the pass marked the third of Morton's college career. He also threw an incompletion vs. Houston (9/20/08) and a 19-yard pass to TE Kory Sperry, vs. BYU (11/1/08).

Rashaun Greer: Registered his fourth career 100-yard receiving game. His previous three were in 2008.

Tim Walter: Scored the Rams' second touchdown, pouncing on a Leonard Mason fumble in the end zone to preserve a seven-play, 85-yard TD drive. Walter had never scored before.

Cory Macon: Picked up his first career sack.

Leonard Mason: Made his first career Division I start, after the junior-college transfer made his debut last week at Colorado.

Zac Pauga: Notched his first career carry, a 4-yard run early in the game. The junior starting fullback had 30 career receptions entering the day.

James Skelton: A walkon from Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colo., picked up a huge INT, the first of his career, to set up the eventual game-winning touchdown reception by Eric Peitz.

Eric Peitz: Registered his first career TD on a hard-fought reception, initially ruled incomplete, eventually called by replay a touchdown, giving the Rams a 24-23 lead. Peitz had left earlier in the second half with a leg injury, went to the locker room for treatment, then returned to the game.


 

 

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