Last year David Anderson caught eight passes for 180 yards with one touchdown and was at the end of the receiving list behind names like Joey Cuppari, Henri Childs, Chris Pittman and Joel Dreessen. Now the sophomore has 11 receptions, 283 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams leading receiver.
“A lot of teams are expecting the ball to go to Pittman and they think I am just some lazy guy,” said the sophomore from Westlake Village, Calif. “I am happy that I can make some catches and I am fortunate enough that Bradlee (Van Pelt) looks my way.”
Pulling down seven passes for 141 yards and one touchdown on Saturday could not have come at a better time for the California native. With friends and family watching, Anderson made the Golden Bear’s wish they had signed him.
“Cal is one of the universities that recruited me hard,” Anderson said in a postgame radio interview. “The win is good for momentum, but it also helps us out in the future. Our program looks better to recruits.”
Anderson became the first CSU player since Pete Rebstock in 2001 to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. His 25-yard touchdown reception from Bradlee Van Pelt helped boost the Rams lead to 10 points in the second half.
After senior and special teams guru Dexter Wynn was injured in the first quarter, Anderson increased his special team’s playing time and returned three punts for 16 yards. Lining up on almost every offensive snap and covering the field with special teams, Anderson did not have much time to rest.
“It is tough, but you just have to suck it up and go out there and make plays. Thank God for those TV timeouts,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s success is unexpected because in the past CSU has relied more on its running game, but now that Van Pelt has back-to-back 300-yard passing games (the first Ram to do so since 1988), the Ram’s aerial attack has become a serious threat. Van Pelt also threw a career-long 85-yard touchdown pass to Dreessen – the second longest pass in CSU history.
“I’ve never felt more comfortable,” Van Pelt said. “I am still missing balls that I should be hitting and that frustrates me, but each week I am trying to get better.”
Van Pelt’s confidence helped the Rams when they went for it on a critical fourth-and-three situation and he connected on a 25-yard pass to Matt Bartz. The play put the Rams deeper in Golden Bear territory and then a 15-yard pass to Pittman set up Jeff Babcock’s winning field goal.
In the two games this season Van Pelt has thrown for 656 yards. In 2002, it took him four games to pass the 650-yard mark. He has also chalked up five passing scores, a number he did not reach until his seventh game last year.
Even with his improved passing game, Van Pelt has not lost the ability to transform into a running back. He had 60 yards rushing against California, which brings his season total to 137.