Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins had to be corrected in the postgame press conference while talking about his teammate who stole the show.
That’s how big of a role running back Dee Hart played in No. 22 Colorado State’s 58-20 emphatic victory over New Mexico at Hughes Stadium on Saturday.
“I have to say great game for Dee Hart though, dude scored five times,” Higgins began before being told he was actually selling Hart one touchdown shy. “Six!? Six times, damn. I didn’t even know that … We knew Dee had it this whole time. Fortunately, he showed it today.”
Hart accounted for 274 yards and 36 points on offense against the Lobos, scoring five touchdowns on the ground and an additional on a 20-yard reception from quarterback Garrett Grayson.
His performance resembled that of a Madden character under instruction of an XBOX controller, but don’t ask Hart what that’s like.
“I’m not keen on video games; I like the field,” Hart said after the game. “I’d have to go back to high school since I felt that good.”
The junior transfer, who graduated from Alabama in three years, came into the mix of running backs Jasen Oden, Jr. and Treyous Jarrells competing for the starting position at the beginning of the season.
But the SEC running style Hart possesses quickly emerged him from the rest of the field, and it’s helped lead him to being the Rams’ top rusher in 10 of their 11 games this season.
His six touchdowns on Saturday put him in elite company, ranking second-most in Mountain West history. It also put his name among Kapri Bibbs, CSU’s star from 2013, tying his school record set Nov. 16, 2013 against the same New Mexico opponent.
“Kapri never came to mind. Obviously, he was a great back,” Grayson said. “What Dee has done for us, he’s in his own world with all of that. Like I said, I’m very thankful to have him and wouldn’t trade him for anything.”
And that feeling is mutual.
Head coach Jim McElwain, who served as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator from 2008-2011, was the only familiar face Hart recognized upon his arrival in Fort Collins.
His teammates quickly adopted him as one of their own. Hart said that his six touchdowns on Saturday were more of a repayment to the 17 seniors on the roster who opened up a spot for him in their family.
“These guys took me in, and a lot of people don’t know how much that means to a person,” Hart said. “For you to grow up in a different background and come to a place that’s not familiar to you, and these seniors welcome you with open arms, that kind of touches your heart.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @QSickafoose.