Remembering Hughes: Confusion in 1974

Colin Barnard

Though the end result of the 1974 football season was forgettable for the Colorado State Rams, the season also featured one of the most memorable moments in Hughes Stadium history.

After a late comeback by the Rams, confusion surrounded the potential go ahead PAT attempt. Mixed signals from the referees made it unclear if the ball actually went through the uprights, and the game eventually ended in a tie.


The bizarreness of the finish makes this game worthy of a trip down The Collegian Sports Desk’s memory lane.

Rams win, tie, then win, then tie

Originally published October 7, 1974

By Mike Stratton

With only ten seconds remaining in Saturday’s BYU vs. CSU game, everyone in Hughes Stadium was resigned to the fact that the Rams were going to lose to BYU 33-27.

Everyone, that is, except Wes Cerveny and the rest of the Ram defense that had come in for the supposed final play of the game after the CSU offense had failed to convert on fourth down and six at the Cougar 16-yard line.

It was Cerveny who, on that supposed final play, recovered BYU quarterback Gary Sheide’s fumble at the Cougar 15-yard line. The recovery was like reincarnation for the Ram squad that answered the heaven sent turn around with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Mark Driscoll to Willie Miller. As the score went to 33-33, Bedlam broke loose in in the stands and on the field. It was that bedlam that would cost the Rams the second miracle victory in succession they’ve missed.

When Miller caught Driscoll’s TD pass, the entire Ram team, ecstatic over the prospect of victory taken from the mouth of defeat, swarmed on the field to cheer and congratulate the game’s hero.

That outburst of exuberance, the hallmark of collegiate football, prompted the officials to call the Rams for unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalty, an automatic 15 yards, moved the ball back to the 18-yard line for Clark Kemble’s point after touchdown attempt.

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The penalty turned the usually short and easy PAT into a much tougher 35-yard attempt. The ball was snapped and the holder Mike Deutsch placed the ball for Kemble, who put his foot into the ball and watched it sail “close to being good.” The back judge, Jack Combs, signaled the kick wide. Then referee Jack Moyers seemingly signaled good, then wide, then good again. The scoreboard read CSU 34 Visitor 33 and the Rams and their fans left the field thinking they were victorious.

In the locker room, coach Sark Arslanian said “This is the sweetest victory of my career.”

But that victory didn’t last long. John Adams, supervisor of WAC officials, came to the Ram dressing room and related to Sark and the press that the game was “a 33-33 tie.”

Adams’ justification was that the signal made by the referee, Moyers, was not for a good PAT but was, “a standard WAC signal for asking for the ball at the end of each quarter and since the PAT ended the game and quarter, the referee was merely making the technical motion for getting the ball back.”

Adams stated that there was never any question about whether the kick was good. Back judge Combs stated “There is no question in my mind, he missed it by a yard and I would walk to hell and back on that call.” Combs may have walked to hell and back Saturday night in his sleep.

CSU’s second half comeback kept the fans in the stands and the man that kept the Rams in the game was Mark Driscoll. For the second week in a row, the junior signal caller has come off the bench to bring the Rams to an almost win and a tie.

In two halves of play Driscoll has completed 25 of 50 pass attempts for 370 yards and 6 touchdowns. Amazing statistics considering he has come into the game when the opposition knew he must pass and pass and pass to get back into the contest. Driscoll looks to have earned himself a starting role against the Rams’ next opponent, Utah State.

Once again Willie Miller shined in the clutch for the Rams. The “sure bet for all WAC” caught five passes for 155 yards and one crucial TD. Dan O’Rourke always in the shadow of Miller did his part too, the junior from Worthington, Ohio snared 6 passes for 70 yards and his second TD in two weeks.

On defense Kevin McLain, Loren Mulkins, Jim Opperman and Larry Olson oh and don’t forget Wes Cerveny, led the defenders in tackles against the surprising Cougar team.

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