Could reaching a milestone be any more bittersweet?
CSU running back Cecil Sapp needed 74 yards going into Thursday night’s game to break the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his collegiate career. He had already compiled 68 yards midway through the second quarter, when he busted through the line on a first down en route to a 64-yard gain. A perfect way to eclipse 1,000 yards.
But at the end of the run, Sapp put the moves on a couple BYU defenders when safety Aaron Francisco caught him from behind and stripped the ball. Players from both teams scrambled for the ball and BYU linebacker Bill Wright came up with it.
“I was just trying to make a cutback behind my block and he came up behind me, and I couldn’t feel him coming,” Sapp said. “He got to the ball at just the right time in my cut, and the ball went straight to the ground.”
The run pushed Sapp’s season total to 1,058 through nine games.
“It feels great to get my first 1,000-yard regular season,” he said after the game. “As long as I’m out there playing my hardest. I made a few mistakes, but for the most part I played good and our team got out with a win. I’m happy.”
Sapp took CSU’s next possession off, with the Rams sitting on an uncomfortable 17-10 lead. Rashaan Sanders filled in Sapp’s shoes quite adequately, capping off a 56-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown romp.
Sapp earlier stretched his streak of games with a touchdown to 13 with a 7-yard run in the first quarter following a BYU fumble.
The Cougars were able to contain Sapp in the third quarter, holding him to only 19 yards. But by then, the damage was already done. The Rams held a 14-point lead at halftime, and allowed no points to the Cougars in the second half.
Sapp added another 7-yard touchdown with 7:16 left in the game to put an exclamation point on for himself and the team.
“Cecil ran for some tough yards tonight,” coach Sonny Lubick said. “That’s one of the good things about him.”
Sapp finished the game with 164 yards and two touchdowns, to lead a CSU offense that totaled 342 yards rushing.
“Tonight was just a combination of us playing hard and Cecil just being a great runner,” offensive tackle Erik Pears said. “This win is really big because we’ve been striving to finish a game, and tonight we did that.”
Sapp’s 164 yards is his second highest this season behind his 178-yard game against Virginia. His conference-leading total improves to 1,103 with four games remaining in the regular season.
-Edited by Jon Ackerman and Ben Koerselman