Remembering Hughes: Sparking a run in the 2000 season

Evan Grant

In Colorado State football’s 2000 season, the team looked to get back into the national conversation. The Rams had fallen out of the top 25 to start the season, but after a dominant 41-7 win over East Tennessee State in week two, CSU once again cracked the nation’s top 25.

A feat CSU accomplished during the blowout win, was playing every player that dressed for the game.

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CSU would go on to finish the 2000 season 10-2, and No. 14 in the final AP poll. To cap off the season, CSU was victorious in a Liberty Bowl appearance against then-No. 22 Louisville. CSU won the game 22-17.

The game against East Tennessee State is a game CSU had no realistic chance of losing, but because it sparked a top-25 run for the team in a time when they were looking to gain national recognition once more, it finds itself being one of The Collegian Sports Desk’s favorite Hughes Stadium memories.

CSU number one for a day

Originally published on Sept. 11, 2000

By Jeremy Kempter

It was the 19th Annual Ag Day, but there were more firsts than a rowdy prom night.

In their 41-7 beating of the East Tennessee State Buccaneers Saturday at Hughes Stadium, the CSU Rams traded a defensive stopper for an offensive star.

Senior linebacker Rick Crowell played his first game of the season and wide receiver Dallas Davis sat out the first game of his college career with a nagging hip injury.

“When you’re a senior you don’t want to take anything off, but it’s smarter and better that I did,” Davis said “I always want to get in there, I don’t care what the score is. I love playing football.”

Crowell, a Butkus Award nominee, was ineligible for the opener due to a medical redshirt stipulation by the NCAA, and led the Rams with seven tackles.

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Sophomore running back Cecil Sapp notched the first 100-yard game of his career with 119 yards on 11 carries. Junior tailback Duan Ruff scored his first touchdown since the 1998 season. The rushing corps Sapp, sophomore Rashaan Sander, Ruff and redshirt freshman Jeff Mcgarity all scored marking the first time four backs have struck pay dirt in the same game since 59-17 win over Utah in 1995.

“It felt great to get in there and get some action,” Ruff said, “and getting in the end zone was indescribable.”

The rushing attack helped set up CSU’s first 27-point quarter since 1997’s 63-0 route of Hawaii. The lopsided score allowed D.J. Busch to see playing time, the first true freshman quarterback to do so since 1981. At times Busch played like a rookie, fumbling a snap here, getting a delay of game penalty there.

“Those things come along better and better as I get more comfortable with the situation,” Busch said.

Coming off an injury, transfer linebacker Russell Kay saw his first action as a Ram, and sophomore defensive end Peter Hogan earned his first career sack, not to mention causing CSU’s first takeaway of the season with a fumble recovery.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Hogan said, “We just had to get our assignments.”

Junior receiver Pete Rebstock set career marks with his ability to make people miss. His longest return previously was a 17 yarder, but he rewrote that number with a 47-yard punt return and a 43-yard kick return.

Every Ram that dressed played. Tight end Matt Baldischwiler, receivers Eric Hill and Chris Pittman and corner back Dexter Wynn made their first appearance in a college game.

But, most important first for the Rams on Saturday was getting in the top 25 for the first time this season- and handing the Bucs’ their first loss of the season.

Collegian sports desk can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @RMCollegianSpts