CSU football falls to San Diego State in Homecoming game

Junior Guerrero

With Homecoming week finally here, fans filled Canvas Stadium Saturday night for a Mountain West showdown between San Diego State University and the Colorado State Rams.

The Rams relied on their defense in the first half, as the offense was unable to cross the goal line. The Rams finished the half with 142 total yards — 103 passing yards and 39 rushing yards.

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The CSU defense held San Diego State to 137 total yards — 107 passing yards and 30 rushing yards. However, the Aztecs were able to find the end zone through the air early in the second quarter, taking the lead 10-3.

Patrick O'Brien evades a tackle while running the ball, during the Colorado State homecoming game against San Diego State. CSU falls short 24-10.
Patrick O’Brien (12) evades a tackle while running the ball during the Colorado State Homecoming game against San Diego State. CSU fell short 24-10. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Although the Rams were down, the defense played their part and kept them in the game. The recent results have been frustrating, but that doesn’t change the mentality of this team.

“We’ve been working all offseason for this, and until we play the last game, we’ve got a chance to compete,” linebacker Dequan Jackson said.

Dante Wright and Patrick O’Brien had an early connection on a 57 yard passing play. Wright put up 20 more receiving yards to finish the half with six catches and 77 yards, ultimately averaging 12.8 yards per catch. O’Brien put up efficient numbers, going 19-30 for 207 yards.

O’Brien was sharp in the pocket, but the offense struggled against a stout Aztec defense.

“They did a great job; … They make plays and they cover well,” O’Brien said. “Little things like that where we have opportunities to score points on a defense like that, we need to capitalize for sure, … and we fell a little bit short of that.”

Dante Wright(22) runs down the field after catching a pass, during Colorado State's homecoming game against San Diego State. SDSU defeats CSU 24-10
Dante Wright (22) runs down the field after catching a pass during Colorado State’s Homecoming game against San Diego State. SDSU defeated CSU 24-10. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Down 10-3 near the end of the first half, the Rams found a rhythm and began to drive the ball downfield. They picked up a total of six first downs on the drive courtesy of the run and the passing game. The Rams found themselves on the 1-yard line looking to punch the ball in for a touchdown. After four run plays up the middle, the Rams came up short and ultimately turned the ball over on downs.

Coming out of halftime, the Rams started the third quarter with a fumble on their own 11-yard line. This ultimately set up an Aztec touchdown, making the score 17-3. Turnovers and mental mistakes have killed the Rams all season.

Searching for answers on offense, the Rams looked to go deep and ended up throwing an interception. The team finished the night with four total turnovers, three interceptions and a fumble while being unable to generate a turnover.

After the interception, the Rams defense stepped up. The defense picked up two sacks and a tackle for no gain, forcing the Aztecs to punt on fourth down. After the Aztec punt, the Rams elected to make a change at quarterback.

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Justice McCoy entered the game for the Rams. It only took them one play to give the ball back as McCoy threw an interception. To make matters worse, the Rams picked a 15 yard face mask penalty on the same play.

That one possession sums up the Rams’ entire season: turnovers, mental mistakes and penalties. Looking for a spark, the Rams defense committed pass interference in the end zone, which resulted in a touchdown for the Aztecs on the next play. The Aztecs took the lead 24-3 to start the fourth quarter.

On McCoy’s second snap of the game, he threw another interception. After experimenting with McCoy, the Rams put O’Brien back in the game. It seems as if the Rams offense is lost and in search of its identity.

“As an offense, we have zero identity right now,” Head Coach Mike Bobo said. “As an offense, we’re searching, trying to find something.” 

Nate Craig-Myers(4) catches a pass from Patrick O'Brien(12) for a Colorado State touchdown, during CSU's homecoming game against San Diego State. CSU loses 24-10.
Nate Craig-Myers (4) catches a pass from Patrick O’Brien (12) for a Colorado State touchdown during CSU’s Homecoming game against San Diego State. CSU lost 24-10. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Late in the fourth quarter, when all hope of scoring a touchdown seemed lost, the Rams made three big plays to cross the goal line. Wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers caught a 41 yard pass and then a 13 yard touchdown reception to bring the score to 24-10. This drive was one of the few positives from this game.

With a lot of uncertainty surrounding this team, the Rams need to figure out who they are and get things back on track. This starts with figuring out the quarterback position.

“We’re going into the week with an open competition,” Bobo said. “We’re going to put out whoever gives us the best chance to win and not turn it over.”

Junior Guerrero can be reach at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @juniorg45.