Rams suffer third consecutive loss to Colorado

Justin Michael

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DENVER- In a game where Colorado State struggled to get anything going offensively, Colorado came out and punched their in-state rival in the mouth, defeating the Rams 17-3 in front of 73,932 fans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Friday night. 

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“It was a disappointing night for us,” head coach Mike Bobo said. “Our expectation as a football team was not to come in here and play hard or come in here and have fun playing together; our expectation was to win the ballgame. We failed at that.” 

Colorado State Football Head Coach Mike Bobo watches his team during the second quarter of the Rocky Mountain Showdown on September 1, 2017. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

The Buffaloes were all over the Rams from the get-go, jumping out to an early 17-0 lead and forcing CSU to punt on each of their first four drives. The CSU defense was able to make the necessary adjustments though, as the Rams were able to rebound and hold the Buffs at 17. 

“I thought the defense did an outstanding job of giving the offense opportunity after opportunity,” Bobo said. 

Senior running back Phillip Lindsay got the party started for the black and gold, running straight through the heart of the CSU defense for a 45-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. The Rams faced a heavy dose of Lindsay throughout the contest, as the Denver native finished the first half seven carries for 101 rushing yards, nearly doubling CSU’s total of 51 rushing yards by himself. For the night, Lindsay led all rushers with 140 yards on the ground.

Not only was Lindsay a threat in the running game, but he was also a weapon in the passing attack for redshirt sophomore quarterback Steven Montez, as the veteran back was consistently able to pick up blitzing defenders.

While the Buffs offense came out of the gate hot, Mike Bobo’s unit struggled to finish drives. Early in the game, the Rams were able to consistently move the ball down the field but could not failed to put points on the board.

In each of CSU’s first four possessions, the drive ended with a punt from true freshman Ryan Stonehouse. The former 3-star punter from California was twice able to pin the Buffs deep in their own territory, but the poor field position did little to slow down the red-hot Buffaloes in the first half.

Coming out of the third quarter down 17-3, the CSU offense thought that they had capped off a drive with an explosive passing play down the field three separate times, but a variety of 15-yard infractions negated the big plays.

On the first scoring play, senior wide receiver Detrich Clark was able to bring in a back shoulder throw and get his feet down in the end zone. However, an offensive pass interference call resulted in the touchdown being called back.

Later in the quarter, junior wide receiver Olabisi Johnson snuck behind the CU secondary, bringing in a deep pass from Nick Stevens, easily scoring on play. Unfortunately for Johnson, an illegal hands to the face penalty, negated the touchdown. The big play was Johnson’s second of the night to be called back. 

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Junior wide receiver Olabisi Johnson (81) reacts after an offensive pass interference call during Friday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown.
(Javon Harris | Collegian)

Finally, right before the conclusion of the third quarter, Stevens was able to hit Michael Gallup on a deep throw in Buffs territory, but CSU’s third offensive pass interference call of the night took the play away.

Following the game, Bobo spoke on the offensive penalties and how they effected the outcome. “We talk about having a standard and our standard is edge,” Bobo said. “We don’t make excuses or let other people make them for us. We did not win the ball game, so we did not do what we came to do.”

Despite having around 120 yards of passing offense taken away by the officials, Stevens finished the game 24-of-47 for 309 yards and two interceptions. After being obliterated by 37 points in a career low point last season, Stevens’ performance was better than the statline may indicate.

Johnson and Clark led the Rams in receiving Friday night, finishing the game with six receptions and five receptions, respectively. Clark totaled 72 receiving yards in the game, while Johnson added 71 yards.

“I thought Bisi (Johnson) did a nice job,” Bobo said. “I think he has a chance to be one of the best wide receivers in our conference.”

After losing to CU Friday night, the Rams will to rebound against Abilene Christian on Saturday, Sept. 9. The game will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. and will take place in the on-campus stadium. 

Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached by email at jmichael@collegian.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.