A fatal flaw — that’s how head coach Jim McElwain explained his team’s inability to stop explosive plays earlier this week. That flaw showed today in CSU’s 34-27 Homecoming loss vs. San Jose State.
The Rams gave up big plays to the Spartans with three touchdown passes that went for more than 60 yards, the longest coming on an 83-yard score for San Jose State quarterback David Fales to running back Jarrod Lawson to give San Jose state a 10-7 lead over the Rams in the first half.
“We can’t give up the explosive plays and we’re giving them up left and right,” McElwain said at the end of the first half.
The Rams failed to stop Fales and company in the fourth quarter when they needed it most, allowing another big play that led to the final touchdown of the game and the Spartans eventual victory.
“Coach Mac talks about it all the time,” said quarterback Garrett Grayson of his team needing to finish games in the fourth quarter. “That is what you have to do. You can start as fast as you want but if you don’t finish, things like that will happen. We didn’t come out and finish like we all want.”
Fales threw for 431 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-35 completions and one interception.
The loss came in front of a crowd of 26,022 people, the most that had showed up to a CSU home game since 2011 when Boise State visited Fort Collins and more than 30,000 fans were in attendance.
Grayson finished the game with 19 completions on 34 attempts for 301 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted twice after posting only two interception all season in five previous games.
San Jose State got out to an early lead against CSU with a 26-yard field goal by kicker Austin Lopez on a drive that lasted 4:35.
The Rams were quick to answer with a touchdown drive that put the Rams on top 7-3 after a 15-yard touchdown from Grayson to tight end Crockett Gillmore for his first touchdown of the season.
Late in the second quarter CSU showed a little explosiveness of their own with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Grayson to tight end Kivon Cartwright to put the Rams ahead of the Spartans 17-10 after an earlier field goal by kicker Jared Roberts. The lead was quick lived as the Spartans came up with another huge play on a drive that lasted only 28 seconds and evened the score at 17.
Both CSU and San Jose State traded big plays in the first half and there were four times in the game that the score was tied.
CSU Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.