Prior to Colorado State’s game against Utah State on Oct. 18, 2014, the Rams hadn’t seen Hughes Stadium sell out in more than a decade. Since then, the Rams have sold out four games, including their 16-13 win over the Aggies that night. There have been a number of memorable games at Hughes over the past five years, with most coming over the past two-plus years when the team has had a measure of recent success. But for CSU’s seniors, nothing tops celebrating on the field with fans after Jared Roberts’ 46-yard field goal split the uprights and moved CSU to 6-1 on the season.
In a defensive battle riddled with penalties, CSU found just enough offense in the final minutes to set up Roberts’ game winner. The Rams took over from their own 12-yard line with 58 seconds left and after an 11-yard first down run by junior running back Dee Hart, the Rams went into their “Mayday” hurry-up offense.
“It’s a planned deal we work every week where once we get it up over the 30 we feel like we have got a chance to maybe take a shot,” CSU head coach Jim McElwain said after the game.
Grayson kneeled the ball between the hashes at the 24-yard line. Utah State took two consecutive timeouts in an attempt to ice the senior kicker, but it was to no avail as Roberts calmly knocked it through the uprights to give the Rams their fifth-consecutive win.
“You are always nervous, especially in a game of this magnitude,” Roberts said of the kick. “But knowing that its just sitting there with one kick to keep this climb going, you just want to hit it for your teammates, for the University, for the fans and everyone else involved.”
The game will go down as one of the greats in Colorado State history. For many of CSU’s seniors, it was the highlight, and one of the defining moments of their career in Fort Collins. Here’s what they had to say about it:
Offensive tackle Sam Carlson
“Utah State last year, definitely was my favorite game. Just kind of the way the game went, and the way we won it. We obviously didn’t play very well up front, but kind of the track of the game made it special, and the sellout crowd was obviously huge. Just the whole atmosphere of that game was something unreal that we always envisioned having at Hughes. My first year, we were 3-9 and we had 10,000 people there on Saturdays. Now we’ve got 32,500 people and that’s always what we wanted.
Walk-on running back Jesse Haas
“Utah State last year, for sure. I didn’t even get to play, but that atmosphere, and being able to be on the field was just awesome.”
Wide receiver Joe Hansley
“Last year against Utah State, when ‘Wood’ (Rashard Higgins) caught that bomb and we went on to beat them. That was definitely the highlight of Hughes for me.”
Walk-on defensive end Jose Cerriteno
“I feel like Utah State is right up there. That was just amazing how we were able to pull that win out.”
Tight end Steven Walker
“I was in on the play, but I didn’t make the play. When we beat Utah State, I was blocking and I look back at Garrett (Grayson), and he’s just launching it. Then I look up and Rashard catches it and we went on to win the game. At the time, I didn’t realize what we did. You take for granted when you walk into somewhere, but that moment was really special.”
Safety Kevin Pierre-Louis
“Like I’ve told these guys, my favorite moment is Utah State last year. It was really emotional, and we needed that game.”
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.