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Senior day triumph: Rams’ football keeps bowl hopes alive in victory over Nevada

Louis+Brown+IV+and+Tory+Horton+celebrate+a+touchdown+at+the+Colorado+State+University+football+game+against+the+University+of+Nevada%2C+Reno+on+Nov.+18.+CSU+won+30-20.
Collegian | Ava Puglisi
Louis Brown IV and Tory Horton celebrate a touchdown at the Colorado State University football game against the University of Nevada, Reno on Nov. 18. CSU won 30-20.

Colorado State has won it all.

Well, at least Saturday in their 30-20 win over Nevada.

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Coach Jay Norvell and the team have been adamant that they’re taking each game on a week-to-week basis and treating each game as a playoff game. Despite the pressure they’ve put on themselves, it’s 24 hours and then right back to work.

“We’ve kind of got that 24-hour flush it rule,” wide receiver Tory Horton said. “Of course we’re going to enjoy the victory, but after this day, head back to the lab and (it’s) all focus on Hawaii.”

Mohamed Kamara was the big man on campus Saturday. With Nevada in position to take a lead, Kamara sacked Nevada QB Brendon Lewis on third down, forcing a long field goal attempt that Brandon Talton missed. That sack moved the graduate into third all-time for sacks in a season and moved him in with Clark Haggans as the only Rams to have 30 in a career.

Directly following Kamara’s brilliance Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi found Louis Brown IV on a 38-yard reception to put the fans at ease.

“I’m really proud of how our guys hung in there and kept battling,” Norvell said. “Especially later on in the game when we got the defensive stop and the missed field goal and then our offense responded and went down and scored. I thought that was really a great string of plays for our football team.”

It took CSU only 2:15 to score their first touchdown of the game. They did so awfully quick, especially considering Nevada received the opening kickoff. Henry Blackburn’s opening drive interception is what set the Rams up for the quick score.

Despite the fast start, the Rams had their fair of struggles in the game. Norvell’s goal is to score on half of their offensive drives each game. The Rams scored on six of their 11 drives, but despite eclipsing that 50% goal, it still felt like there was just a little bit more to be desired from the Rams offense.

“I thought we could’ve played better, yes,” Norvell said. “I just felt like in the second quarter and in the third quarter we missed opportunities that we really felt like we had great opportunities. A tackle here, a little bit long on a throw there, a guy gets bumped on an out and up, there’s just a couple of things. I’m proud of the big plays we did make — they were important in the game.”

With CSU playing their final home game of the season, several seniors — who won’t be returning to the team — were honored pregame for senior night.

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While neither Jack Howell nor Chase Wilson are seniors, they both joined an exclusive club Saturday afternoon. Both players went over 100 tackles on the season. For Howell it’s back-to-back seasons having more than 100 — the first CSU defensive back to do so. Wilson had more than 100 in his first season as a starter.

“It really is all glory to God,” Wilson said. “I’m a God-fearing man, and I would be nothing without him.”

Howell resounded a similar sentiment

“We’ve got a strong connection: We go to Bible studies together, and I think that really drives us,” Howell said. “Like Chase said, any opportunity I can get I want to thank my Lord and Savior because I really do think that he’s the reason I can do these things. But it’s also a team effort, group effort.”

Despite all of the achievements and records, CSU still had a game to win and didn’t do so without raising the collective blood pressure inside Canvas Stadium.

They looked like they were ready to cruise to victory after a 20-3 start, but Fowler-Nicolosi threw a bad pass, and Nevada capitalized, taking it back for six.

“We could’ve ran the clock out, it’s just not in our nature,” Norvell said. “It’s just not. We had time to try and score, we felt like we had the plays to score, we felt like we had the players to score and our players expect us to do that. … But at the end of the half if we had time, we’re going to try and score and we practice those situations all the time, we just have to be smarter about it.”

After Nevada QB A.J. Bianco was knocked out of the game early and then Lewis came in, the Nevada offense found a rhythm.

Sometimes it can be hard playing against a QB you weren’t expecting to see. Lewis had a lot of moments against the CSU defense, going for 169 yards through the air and 61 yards on the ground. Even with the early change at QB, the Rams stayed ready.

“We knew they kind of were playing a two quarterback system all season — they were trying both those guys out,” Wilson said. “We were prepared for both of them. We didn’t know which one we were going to see when, but we were ready to roll.”

Colorado State (5-6, 3-4 MW) will have a hula with Hawaii (4-8, 2-5 MW) for bowl eligibility. It’ll be a game they’re projected to win, but anything can happen on any given Saturday. Kick off is slated for 9 p.m. Nov 25 in Manoa, Hawaii.

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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