Once in a while, a quarterback-receiver duo comes along with a special connection and superb feel for the game. It is tough for teams to defend, and a joy for everyone else to watch.
The two have helped lead the Rams to a 7-1 record while shattering records along the way. It is funny to think that just 14 months ago, Grayson was still trying to solidify his position as the starter, and Higgins was just beginning his collegiate career.
Grayson is still a bit surprised by some of his own progress, but not by Rashard’s.
“When he walked on campus here I knew he was a special talent,” Grayson said. “I went up to Mac (head coach Jim McElwain) during one of our fall camps and said, ‘We gotta get this guy on the field because he’s going to make things happen for us.’”
Just how far has Higgins come in that short time? He leads the nation in receiving yards (1,137), receiving touchdowns (12), and receiving yards per game (142.1).
“I’m just doing what I can,” Higgins said. “Getting up the field, making guys miss … I did it in high school, why not do it on the college level?”
The true sophomore from Mesquite, Texas makes it sound almost as easy as he has made it look. And Grayson has left a mark of his own as well.
The native of Vancouver, Washington became CSU’s all-time leader in passing yards (7,640) and passing touchdowns (53) in a remarkable senior campaign, but will be the first to tell you that Higgins has done him some favors along the way.
“I can throw a little two-yard route out to Rashard, and he’s going to take it 80 yards to the house,” Grayson said. “He’s great after the catch. If I can just get him the ball in some space and let him make a play, he’s going to do it.”
All season, Higgins has turned short passes into huge gains, like the bubble screen he took for a 73-yard touchdown against Wyoming last Saturday. For Grayson, it is hard to believe that he was overlooked by teams from power-five conferences.
“I don’t know how bigger schools—Alabama and schools like that—didn’t end up getting him,” Grayson said.
However, in the postgame press conference after the Rams won the Border War, a game in which Grayson completed 18 of 21 attempts for 390 yards and five touchdowns, Higgins made sure people realized the level his quarterback has been playing at.
“Garrett, man, he’s having a season,” Higgins said with a wide smile before pointing to Grayson. “Appreciate that, Garrett.”
More than halfway through his senior year, Grayson said he is a bit jealous that he will not be the one throwing to Higgins next year.
“I’ll miss his personality,” Grayson said. “He’s one of the funniest guys on the team, loves to joke around, but knows when it’s time to get down to business. He just loves the game of football and loves to be around all of the guys so I’ll definitely miss him as a player, and just as a friend off the field.”
It is too late to say they are just getting started—their time playing together will be over in about two months—but they are far from finished.
“Garrett is having a season, man,” Higgins said after the Utah State game. “The sky’s the limit for us right now.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter at @emccarthy22.