Led by the senior duo of quarterback Nick Stevens and wide receiver Michael Gallup, Colorado State football (5-2) came out under the lights and defeated Nevada (1-6) 44-42 in front of a Homecoming crowd of 36,765 people, the fourth largest home crowd in program history.
“(We) found a way to find a victory tonight,” head coach Mike Bobo said. “There were a lot of things we did not do well, but I thought the fight was tremendous all night.”
The Rams kicked off the Homecoming celebration by driving down the field at ease, going 75 yards in four plays and capping off the drive with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Stevens to Gallup. The connection would be a common theme Saturday, as the senior tandem was in sync throughout the contest.
Nearly every drive Stevens was able to find his No. 1 target, consistently finding ways to get the ball to Gallup on the outside. Once the ball was in his hands, Gallup took care of the rest, constantly finding a way to break free of the defender and fight for extra yardage.
In total, Gallup finished the game with 13 receptions for 263 yards and three receiving touchdowns. His quarterback was equally impressive, completing 26-of-37 pass attempts for 384 yards and four touchdowns through the air.
Over the last two games the Stevens to Gallup combination has led to 20 completions for 351 receiving yards.
“I can’t say enough about the offense’s play tonight,” Bobo said. “Nick Stevens was outstanding tonight…Michael Gallup really had a good look in his eyes during warmups and wanted the ball all night. Every time we threw it to him, he came up with the play.”
Bobo continued on his senior wide receiver. “He’s been locked in pretty much all year,” Bobo said. “I had to tell him not to get frustrated there a little bit in the third quarter. You could tell with his body language on the sideline that he was getting a little frustrated. I said, ‘You’re going to win the game for us son,'” Bobo said.
While the Rams did the majority of their damage with the passing attack Saturday, senior running back Dalyn Dawkins had the most productive game of his college career. The third-year starter carried the ball 17 times for 195 yards and one touchdown, including a crucial 59-yard run in the third quarter.
“It was just good to see our guys continue to play, make explosive plays and put enough points on the board to find a victory,” Bobo said.
Defensively the Rams struggled to slow down the Wolfpack offense, especially through the air. Junior quarterback Ty Gangi started off slowly but the Glendale, Calif. native kept Nevada in the ballgame throughout, completing 23-of-40 pass attempts for 428 yards and four touchdowns.
Along with being able to hit on big plays, Gangi was able to spread the ball around, completing passes to ten different players in the game. Wide receiver Mannix McLane finished the night as Nevada’s leading receiver, totaling seven receptions for 150 yards and one touchdown.
CSU football will hit the road next week for a Friday night conference showdown with the New Mexico Lobos. The contest between Mountain West foes will kickoff at 8:15 p.m. MT and will be televised on ESPN2.
“We’ve got a short week,” Bobo said. “Gotta get ready for New Mexico, whose an option team. It’s always tough to face an option football team…Hopefully our guys have the right mindset to go to work and get better.”
Collegian Sports Director Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.