Oct 032004
 
Authors: Jon Pilsner

The ball flew quickly from the hand of Justin Holland. But when

it hit and fell out of the hands of a diving David Anderson, the

hopes of the CSU football team may have fallen with it.

In a game with four lead changes, the Rams fell to Brigham Young

31-21 in both teams’ Mountain West Conference opener and fell to

1-4 on the season.

The Rams were unable to convert a fourth-and-eight from their

own 3-yard line with 2:34 remaining in the game on the incomplete

pass to Anderson. On the following snap, BYU running back Naufahu

Tahi ran in a 3-yard touchdown, sealing the Cougar win.

The incomplete pass had come as the defense, plagued by poor

tackling and missed assignments all game, stopped the BYU offense

from inside the Ram 5-yard line, giving the offense a chance to win

the football game.

But, in what is becoming a recurring theme for CSU football this

season, it wasn’t to be.

“The embarrassing thing is that that is a team we could have

beat, I could say should have beat,” said senior H-back Joel

Dreessen. “We are underachieving.”

Despite out-gaining BYU offensively, the Rams were again unable

to score points when it mattered. CSU ended the game with 462 yards

of total offense, 359 yards coming from Holland’s arm.

“The offense just needs to do a better job of getting the ball

into the end zone,” Holland said. “We’re moving the ball on every

drive. They really weren’t stopping us.”

Holland said the offense needed to take some pressure off the

defense.

“We were prepared coming into the game. We knew what we were

doing,” Holland said.

Anderson had a career night, catching 12 balls for 232 yards,

both career highs. He became the first CSU receiver to catch for

200 yards since Greg Primus had 256 yards against Hawaii in 1991.

But, it was of little matter to Anderson.

“I think the thing that stalled us was ourselves,” Anderson

said. “We were making plays all the way down the field.”

However, Anderson said, the Rams didn’t have the attitude to

punch the ball in for a touchdown.

The Rams’ struggles to stop the run resurfaced, as BYU (2-3,

1-0) ran for 51 yards in the first quarter, more than any other

game they have played.

Total, the Cougars ran the ball 46 times, gaining 207 yards. BYU

had run the ball for only 115 yards in its previous four games

combined.

“The run game stars up front with the eight guys there,” said

junior safety Ben Stratton, who led the Rams with 15 tackles.

“We’re just letting guys get up the middle. It’s something we need

to try to get corrected.”

Tahi led the Cougars with 98 yards rushing on 16 attempts. Both

he and Curtis Brown averaged more than 6 yards per rush.

“We thought that they would run it,” said CSU head coach Sonny

Lubick. “We were playing well and wanted to stop big plays. We

still missed too many tackles.”

BYU kicker Matt Payne gave the Cougars the game’s first points,

hitting a 52-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

BYU then got a 14-yard touchdown run from Brown, who capitalized

on a Rams turnover, with 1:45 remaining in the first half.

After a slow first half that saw BYU jump out to a 10-7 lead,

the second half was a back-and-forth battle. The Rams took their

first lead of the game on a Uldis Jaunarajs 3-yard touchdown

run.

The Rams held onto the lead until late in the third, when Brown

ran in another touchdown, this time from 5 yards out, giving BYU

the lead to start the fourth quarter.

But the Rams refused to quit, taking the next drive 75 yards

down the field and scoring, ending the drive with a 5-yard

touchdown run by Jaunarajs. Jaunarajs ended the day with 24 carries

for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

But BYU would not give in either, as quarterback John Beck

hooked up with Austin Collie for a 40-yard touchdown pass on the

ensuing drive, giving BYU the lead for good.

Even in the losing effort, Lubick said he saw some improvement

in the team.

“We played pretty good defense in the first half,” Lubick said.

“Offense did what it had to in the second half, but we did not slow

them down.”

Dreessen said the team needed to improve and find a way to fire

the team up and play better.

“I’ve got six games left as a Colorado State Ram,” Dreessen

said. “This is not OK around here.”

GAME NOTES

True freshman running back Kyle Bell, the sixth true freshman

used by the Rams this year, fumbled the ball at the Rams

45-yard-line, setting up the Cougar touchdown. For CSU, it was the

13th turnover this year. Those turnovers have led to 62 points for

opponents.

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