Nov. 12, 2011
Late comebacks: The Rams in five games now have overcome a late deficit in the fourth quarter. The list:
Nwoke was more than OK: Chris Nwoke (pronounced WOH-kay) registered the fifth-best individual rushing effort in CSU history, with 232 yards, the most by a Ram since Gartrell Johnson had 285 in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl, a 40-35 win vs. Fresno State. Most single-game rushing yards, CSU history:
Four plays: The Rams had just four snaps during the third quarter.
Bittersweet sacks: The Rams saw their eight-game sacks streak end, but also allowed only one sack, late in the fourth quarter.
Wind: The teams competed under a high-wind warning issued by the National Weather Service. Conditions included 30-60 mile-per-hour winds, with forecasted gusts expected to reach up to 75 mph. The wind shifted 180 degrees in the second half. It began the game blowing out of the south, and shifted sharply to blowing out of the north late in the third quarter. The Rams had the wind at their backs in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The wind then shifted on the kickoff following Garrett Grayson’s game-tying TD and two-point conversion.
Longest play from scrimmage: Chris Nwoke’s 63-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was CSU’s longest play from scrimmage this season, and the longest carry by a CSU player since Gartrell Johnson’s 77-yard touchdown in the New Mexico Bowl vs. Fresno State, Dec. 20, 2008. He then recorded a 67-yard run in the second quarter.
Shutting down Hillman: The Rams’ defense held Ronnie Hillman, the nation’s second-leading rusher entering the weekend, to just 80 yards and 3.3 yards per carry. Only TCU, which beat Boise State earlier in the day, held Hillman to lower totals (55 yards, 2.75 per carry) in a win at SDSU Oct. 8.
Shutting down Lindley: CSU’s defense, for the second straight season, limited the production of QB Ryan Lindley, who became the Mountain West’s all-time leading passer today, eclipsing BYU’s Max Hall. The Rams held Lindley to just 154 yards, his second-lowest total of the season (146 at Army, Sept. 10). Last season, the Rams limited Lindley (and the conference’s top two WRs, NFL-bound Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson), to a season-low 171 passing yards in a heartbreaking, 24-19 CSU loss at Qualcomm Stadium.
Honoring veterans: The Rams honored the sacrifices made by our men and women in the military, and expressed appreciation for those actively serving, by wearing a yellow ribbon on their helmets. Additionally, the on-campus Veterans Services office contacted all CSU student veterans, and invited them to gather at the flagpole to be recognized prior to the national anthem.
Can’t bye me love: CSU is 1-3 under Steve Fairchild in games after bye weeks.
SDSU losses: Each of the Rams’ last four losses to SDSU have come in heartbreaking fashion. Last year, they lost 24-19 after a controversial ending, driving in hopes of taking the lead after a phenomenal defensive effort. In 2009, the Rams allowed SDSU to overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit in a 43-28 loss, and in 2007, CSU took a 20-17 lead in the final minutes, only to watch a defender slip and allow the Aztecs to win on a late TD, 24-20.
Close games: The Rams now have had five games decided by one score (eight points or less). Only 18 combined points have separated those games. Entering the weekend, only eight FBS schools had at least five of their games decided by one score or less (team, games, record, total points of separation in those games): Louisville 6 (2-4) 29, Syracuse 6 (4-2, three in OT) 30, Duke 5 (2-3) 12, Illinois 5 (3-2) 19, Utah State, 5 (1-4, one OT) 19, Louisiana Tech 5 (2-3, two OT) 22 Kansas State 5 (5-0) 22, Wake Forest 5 (3-2) 27.
Injury update: QB Pete Thomas sustained a sprained knee on the second play of the second quarter, and did not return. If he can’t start next week at TCU, his 21-game starting streak (tied with Weston Richburg and Jake Gdowski for longest active on the team) could be the sixth significant streak halted by injury this season, following those of CB Elijah-Blu Smith, OT Paul Madsen, NT Nuku Latu, LB Mychal Sisson and OT Joe Caprioglio).