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CSU’s offensive explosion dominates Utah Tech on Ag Day

Colorado+State+University+football+players+celebrate+with+their+fans+at+the+end+of+their+game+against+the+Utah+Tech+University+Trailblazers.
Collegian | Cait Mckinzie
Colorado State University football players celebrate with fans at the end of their game against the Utah Tech University Trailblazers Sept. 30. CSU won 41-20.

The Aggie fans came out in their orange to support the Colorado State football team as they hosted Utah Tech for their annual Ag Day game, celebrating CSU’s rich agricultural tradition.

In the first quarter, the Tory Horton show began early. On CSU’s first drive of the game, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi was able to find his main target on four separate occasions, totaling 60 yards and, eventually, the Rams’ first touchdown of the game. CSU put themselves in the lead early 7-0.

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The Trailblazers looked to bounce back during their first drive.

Utah Tech drove downfield, where they met the Rams in the red zone and had their eyes on tying up the match. That was until Jack Howell intercepted an overthrow from Kobe Tracy up the middle, giving the ball back to CSU.

Shortly after, Fowler-Nicolosi once again showcased his special connection with his No. 1 option with a short pass that Horton was able to sneak up the sideline for a monster 76-yard touchdown, putting the Rams up two touchdowns over the Trailblazers.

“We like to correct each other,” Horton said. “It’s not so much about putting each other down, but we like to take the criticism because that’s what’s gonna help us become a championship team. We all know we’re here for one vote, and that’s to win games and to hopefully go to a bowl and a championship. Just having that mentality at practice really sets the tone for how we compete.”

Despite being down two scores early, Utah Tech continued to drive down the field. Finding themselves in the red zone yet again, Utah Tech was stopped by CSU’s defense, forcing them to take a field goal to get on the board. The Trailblazers cut the deficit to 11 points at 14-3.

Fowler-Nicolosi and the Rams offense kept the ball at the start of the second quarter. Utah Tech’s defense put significant pressure on the CSU offensive line, eventually breaking free and forcing Fowler-Nicolosi to fumble in CSU terroritory after he made an attempt to scramble for a first down. The Trailblazers made the recovery and set themselves up in Ram territory.

On their first play of the drive, Tracy connected with Beau Sparks up the middle for 33 yards into the endzone for the Trailblazer’s first touchdown of the game. Utah Tech brought it closer 14-10.

Due to lightning in the area, the game was hit with its first weather delay.

After a 30-minute delay, Jay Norvell helped drive his offense downfield in bounce-back fashion. Fowler-Nicolosi completed a deep 41-yard pass to Dylan Goffney, placing themselves close to the goal line. Fowler-Nicolosi then took himself into the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown run, the Rams’ first rushing touchdown of the season. CSU gave themselves leverage over the Trailblazers, leading 21-10.

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Utah Tech’s offense wasn’t going down without a fight. Highlighted by an 18-yard run by Ronnie Walker Jr., the Trailblazers aggressively drove the ball upfield, eventually finding themselves in scoring position.

Mohammad Kamara entered the scene and made his presence known in Canvas Stadium with a monstrous play for a tackle and loss of 3 yards. However, Kamara’s big play was forgotten as Tracy connected with Sparks in the corner of the endzone for a Trailblazer touchdown. Utah Tech reduced the Rams’ lead to 21-17.

The Rams’ next possession found them in a 4-and-1 situation, and Norvell chose to go for it. Fowler-Nicolosi looked to make a pass but was unable to find an option, so he scrambled right. The play was called short, and the Rams turned the ball over on downs.

Shortly after, the game was hit with its second, and final, weather delay.

When play was back on, the Rams and the Trailblazers quickly finished out the second quarter and then headed into halftime.

The Trailblazers got the offense into momentum in the third quarter. They drove downfield but were yet again stopped in field goal range. The game was as close as it could get as the Rams still held onto the lead 21-20.

From there, Fowler-Nicolosi was able to get his offense to tap in. He found Dallin Holker for a clutch 27-yard gain, supported by a huge block by Horton, that set up running back Vann Shield for a 2-yard touchdown run. The extra point was missed. CSU extended their lead 27-20.

Heading into the fourth, CSU still needed insurance and obtained a much-needed stop against the Utah Tech offense.

Fowler-Nicolosi then found his tight end, Holker, once again, this time for a big 42-yard gain and touchdown to put the Rams up big. CSU led 34-20.

Utah Tech’s next drive was completely stopped by CSU’s defense. Kamara led the way with another sack, bringing his game total to 1.5 and tying Cory James for fourth-most career sacks in CSU history at 24.

“He plays with such passion and heart and desire — he’s just relentless,” Norvell said. “He’s having an amazing year, and I’m hearing from a lot of pro scouts that his pass rush is just rare”

The Rams then got the ball again, and Fowler-Nicolosi capped off a dominant win by finding his favorite target, Horton, in the endzone once again.

CSU didn’t look back and defeated Utah Tech 41-20.

Fowler-Nicolosi and Horton both showcased incredible performances during this year’s Ag Day. Horton caught 10 receptions for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He joined Rashard Higgins and Michael Gallup as the only players to have multiple three-touchdown games for CSU.

Fowler-Nicolosi also completed 26 of 32 attempts for 462 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. His 462 passing yards are the third most in a single in CSU history.

The Rams look to build off their momentum and continue their winning streak as they travel to Utah State and take on the Aggies 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7.

Reach Ben Fairly at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @benjaminfairly.

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