The Nevada Wolfpack knew it was in for a long night on the opening kick-off when George Hill returned the kick 90 yards to the Nevada ten-yard line. Even though the play was eventually called back because of a penalty, CSU started at its own 40 yard line, the Rams' best starting field position of the season.
On the Wolfpack's second drive, senior wide receiver David Anderson blocked a punt after a fumbled snap that put CSU on Nevada's one-yard line. The play was CSU's first blocked punt since 2001, and set up a one-yard touchdown run from junior Tristan Walker.
"They (the special teams) did exactly what we asked them to do…we started out the game great, set the tempo and it was just real fun from then on," said special teams coach Dave Arnold.
Sophomore punter Jimmie Kaylor and the punt team kept the tempo up by consistently pinning the Wolfpack inside its own 20-yard line. The Wolfpack did not start in front of its own 20-yard line until six minutes left in the third quarter. Kaylor punted a career best 57-yard punt in the game.
"There were some real plusses for us. Number one was special teams came up big for us tonight. We got the momentum going the right way," said CSU head coach Sonny Lubick. "We had a blocked punt, special teams was worth about 14 points today. That's something we have to have."
Senior kicker Kevin Mark added to the team's play by sending three kick-offs out of the end zone for touchbacks.
At one point late in the second quarter, CSU's average starting field position was on the Nevada's 48-yard line – Nevada's was its own 20.
CSU's special teams were putting Nevada in tough situations all night long.
"They came out to play ball and go up 21-zip after that punter fumbles that ball," said Nevada head coach Chris Ault. "It's tough to dig out of that."
In the two games prior to Saturday's game, CSU's special teams was in question because of two blocked punts and weak kick coverage, giving opponents superb field position. Their improvement was noticeable due to the fact that the team spent much of last week's bye week working on the problem.
The special teams fought until the last whistle. Junior defensive back Shane Marsh forced a fumble on a CSU kick-off late in the fourth quarter to continue the domination on special teams.
"If special teams can play close (to this game) the rest of the season, we'd be ok," said Lubick.