The CSU Rams outplayed the Colorado Buffaloes for the first three quarters in Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown. They outplayed them for one drive in the fourth. It was all they needed for victory.
Bradlee Van Pelt scored the go-ahead touchdown with 6:20 remaining and the Ram defense stopped the Buffs in the closing seconds as CSU defeated No. 6 Colorado, 19-14.
The Rams improve to 2-0 on the season and have now beaten their in-state rivals three of the last four years.
“Everybody came out and left it all on the field for four quarters,” junior wide-out Chris Pittman said. “I’ve got nothing left right now.”
Pittman wasn’t the only exhausted Ram. Many of the tired were on the Ram defense, which pitched a shutout for three-quarters. The vaunted CU running attack was held to 186 yards and CSU was able to avoid any big plays.
“What you have to do with a running team is force them to pass and I thought we did that well today,” said Drew Wood, a junior linebacker. “When a team like CU is passing the ball as much as they did, you know they’re out of their game.”
The game for the Rams came down to their last offensive drive late in the fourth quarter. With the Rams up 13-0, CU freshman Jeremy Bloom finally put the Buffs on the board on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. Following a defensive stop, the Buffs drove 81 yards to score again, taking the lead, 14-13.
With momentum clearly on the Buffs side, the Ram offense needed a big drive. CSU responded to the pressure, riding the tough running of Cecil “the Diesel” Sapp and the accuracy of quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt during a game-winning, 84-yard drive. Van Pelt capped the drive with a 23-yard dash into the end zone. The Rams’ junior quarterback finished with 92 rushing yards to go along with 168 through the air.
“Bradlee Van Pelt is getting better every game,” head coach Sonny Lubick said. “He’s always been a threat to run, now with his passing he’s becoming a much more complete quarterback.”
Sapp was punishing all day for the Rams, earning every bit of his 87 gritty yards. One of the most pounding runs for Sapp came on his first of his two touchdowns. From the CU 8-yard line, Sapp appeared to be jammed at the line of scrimmage, but proceeded to bowl over several Buff defenders on his way into the end zone.
“Cecil went right through us,” said CU head coach Gary Barnett. “On the first touchdown I thought we had enough help there and he drove us back. Apparently we didn’t have enough help.”
With CSU leading 19-14, the Buffs offense drove to the Rams’ 12-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-5 with just under 30 seconds remaining, Ochs’ pass to John Donahoe was broken up by CSU safety David Vickers. Van Pelt kneeled down with 21 seconds to play as time expired.