Nov. 23, 2013
By Max Lerner
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo.-- The Colorado State Rams enter the final week of the regular season needing a win at home against Air Force to secure their first trip to a bowl game since 2008. CSU's hopes of securing bowl eligibility today at Utah State faded before a suffocating Aggies defense that ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West and propelled the home team to the win, its 11th in its last 13 home games.
"I thought our defense answered the bell as to what we talked about last week," said head coach Jim McElwain. "We had some guys really playing with energy, playing sound, discipline football on defense. It's just too bad to waste that defensive performance in a game you have a chance to win on the road."
The Colorado State defense held Utah State to its lowest yardage total of the season, just 191 yards, but came up on the short end of the Aggies' 17th win in their last 18 Mountain West games. Utah State's previous offensive low this year was 285 yards in a narrow 17-14 loss at USC in September.
The Rams defense held Utah State to just 13 points, well below the Aggies' season average of nearly 36 per game. They consistently kept the Utah State true-freshman quarterback Darell Garrettson under duress, compiling four sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss.
Linebacker Max Morgan led the Rams with a season-high 20 tackles. Shaquil Barrett added 12 tackles for the Rams including 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, to raise his season totals to 12.0 and 18.5, respectively.
Despite playing on a long field due to an effective job by the Utah State special teams, the Rams' offense struggled to get anything going against the top defensive unit in the conference. Running back Kapri Bibbs, who entered the game second nationally in rushing yards, was held to just 54 yards on 18 attempts, though he is one of only five players this season to rush for more than 50 yards in 12 games against Utah State.
With the game scoreless early in the second quarter the Rams missed a prime opportunity to stake themselves to a 3-0 lead when Jared Roberts' 24-yard field goal attempt in swirling winds hit the left upright and bounced off. It was an unfortunate end to a promising 14-play, 89-yard drive that would be the Rams' longest of the game.
The defense, however, as it had done several times already today, held firm and forced the Aggies to punt just five plays later.
The two teams would exchange punts twice more before Utah State got the ball back before the half and mounted its most impressive drive of the day. The Aggies handed off seven consecutive times to Joey DeMartino, the last going for no gain on 3rd-and-goal at the CSU 7-yard line, as he was stuffed by Barrett and Morgan.
Utah State settled for a 24-yard Nick Diaz field goal to claim a 3-0 halftime lead.
The Aggies received the ball to start the second half and marched 69 yards in 11 plays for a DeMartino 1-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 10-0.
DeMartino would finish with a game-high 127 yards on 35 carries.
Utah State would add another Diaz field goal with 9:59 remaining in the fourth quarter to produce the final score of 13-0.
The Rams (6-6) will host Air Force (2-9) next Saturday, Nov. 30 at 12 p.m. at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. A CSU win would clinch the Rams first bowl berth since 2008.
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