(Press conference highlights by Travis Green of CTV 11)
The Colorado State football team’s 2015 season opener against the Savannah State Tigers (0-1, 0-0 MEAC), and the beginning of the Mike Bobo era, started off in favor of the Rams (1-0, 0-0 MW). The Tigers stepped into Hughes Stadium in front of 24,571 fans and were handed a 65-13 loss.
The first quarter started off on the right foot for the Rams, who scored a defensive touchdown 47 seconds into the game on a fumble recovery in the end zone by linebacker Kevin Davis.
“We were planning on taking the ball, but they chose to take the ball, and then to start with a defensive touchdown was great,” CSU head coach Mike Bobo said. “Then what we did on the first drive I thought was outstanding.”
After shutting down the Tigers again on their second drive, quarterback Nick Stevens completed the first pass of the season, on a screen pass to wide receiver Rashard Higgins who had some open field to work with and gained 27 yards on the play. Playing with a fast tempo, the Rams were quick to get back to the line and scored two plays later on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Stevens to tight end Kivon Cartwright.
Stevens looked solid on his first drive as the Rams’ new shot caller, completing four out of five passes for 65 yards.
“Nick is a good quarterback,”senior wide receiver Joe Hansley said. “He’s smart, and he anticipates. Everyone knows he doesn’t have a rocket for an arm… He goes out there and anticipates the throw, throws it early and that gives us a lot of confidence that the ball is going to be where it needs to be.”
After CSU forced another 3-and-out, backup quarterback Coleman Key stepped into the game to lead the offense for the first time.
“Both quarterbacks did a great job, both of them found the open receiver and got them the ball,” Hansley said. “They both did really good. It was exciting to see Coleman get in there.”
Photos: Abbie Parr and Austin Simpson
Key had plenty of zip on the ball and completed three of four passes for 50 yards on his first drive before he fumbled the ball away over while being sacked. He would finish the day 7-for-8 with 92-yards, a touchdown and an interception.
CSU dominated the first quarter, holding SSU to negative two yards of offense. SSU was then finally able to break through and get into the scoring column with a 63-yard touchdown run from half back Richard Williams in the second quarter.
(Game highlights by Brett Kennedy of CTV 11)
“It was about time,” head coach Earnest Wilson III said. “What I’m telling people is that we have the potential to do this. That’s what we should be doing.”
The Rams responded with a solid drive on the ground themselves. Oden Jr. was able to find some space and rushed for 34 yards on the ground and caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Stevens with 1:48 left in the half.
At the end of the half the Rams led 45-7.
Picking up where it left off, CSU opened up the second half with a 5-play, 75-yard drive, ending with a touchdown pass from Stevens to Hansley for 12 yards. It was Stevens’ fifth touchdown strike of the day.
“He throws the ball to the receiver on time and give us an opportunity to make plays and I think that’s what Nick is great at,” Hansley said.
Key would throw for a touchdown as well, finding true freshman Olabisi Johnson on a 13-yard pass. It was Johnson’s first catch of his college career, and made him the sixth different CSU receiver to haul in a touchdown.
CSU’s victory over the Tigers marked win No. 1 for Bobo, and win No. 500 for the school.
“I think that’s great,” Bobo said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why I chose to come to Colorado State… There’s tradition here of people winning and having winning football teams… To get a 500th win and nine in a row at home for Colorado State, that’s something you have to take pride in.”
Collegian Football Reporter Geoff Huebner can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @Huebnermedia93.