After three disappointing losses, something clicked for Colorado State's young football team on Saturday as it posted a win over an Idaho team which started the Rams' nearly one-year losing streak.
Today we take a look at the stat sheet and talk about what worked, what didn't work and what we learned about Colorado State during Saturday's contest.
The light went on: Giving up an early lead has been nothing new to the Rams this season, but they came back from deficits of 10-0, 20-14, 27-17 and 34-27 to post the win. In doing so, the Rams got their first win of this season and got a big monkey off their back. The streak is dead, and now it is just time to play football.
A day of redemption: Storylines of redemption really dot this game in a lot of ways. The Rams score a win over an Idaho team they should have beat last season. Colorado State came back from being down 10 points twice. Ben DeLine comes back from a missed extra point to kick the game-winning field goal. Tyler McDermott loses his starting spot only to return to the lineup in the second half when Weston Richburg was ejected. The Rams really showed toughness in a lot of ways Saturday, and that should serve them well the rest of the season.
Welcome back Carter: Coming into Saturday's game, it was no stretch to say perhaps the most ballyhooed newcomer to the Colorado State football team this year was also the guy having the most disappointing season, rushing for just 43 yards. Raymond Carter turned that around this weekend, rushing for 104 yards and catching four passes for 120 yards. Within those 224 yards were four touchdowns scored, showing the talent that had him listed as one of the top high school running backs in the country two years ago.
494: Colorado State's offense accounted for 494 yards on Saturday, including 386 through the air. That was a season high. The Rams rushed for 150 (they also lost 42) yards, which also is a season high. Credit a lot of things coming together, as well as a much-maligned offensive line.
The continued development of Pete Thomas: While Pete Thomas has been mentioned in this space the last three weeks, his numbers from Saturday speak volumes. Thomas completed 29-of-37 passes for 386 yards to 10 different receivers. Given the fact he posted those numbers four games into his career, you have to think the sky is the limit for Thomas.
Nice job, Guy: Rams defensive tackle Guy Miller had a game to write home about, collecting two sacks, including one which forced a fumble and led to Colorado State's first touchdown. Miller's day had three tackles total and sparked the Rams' comeback.
What didn't work
Flying the flag: Colorado State ended the game with 12 penalties for 91 yards in losses. Three of those flags came during the Rams' first offensive drive of the second half, and another in that series was declined. Another three flags came in the Rams' first defensive series of the game, leading to an Idaho touchdown pass (on which a pass interference call against CSU was declined). Many of the CSU flags can be attributed to youth and inexperience, but the fact is the Rams aren't yet good enough to endure these kinds of penalty numbers and expect to win.
Still not real defensive: Colorado State's pass defense took its lumps again Saturday as the Rams allowed Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle to complete 25-of-30 passes (83 percent) for 347 yards and three scores. Give the Rams credit, though, in getting the Vandals off the field last in the fourth quarter to set up the winning kick from DeLine.
Idaho sack attack: While we gave the Rams' offensive line kudos in the last category, it also gets a wag of the finger for allowing five sacks of Thomas, as well as for the inexperience of Richburg in being ejected for throwing a punch.
What we learned: After coming to the realization that Colorado State simply isn't that good last week, the Rams pull a 180-degree turn and show the talent that is associated with the youth. After three weeks of watching the opposition get out to a lead and then packing it in until next week, Colorado State fought back and posted a win. It is nice to see some toughness developing in this team. The Rams will need it for next week's contest versus TCU.