The 12th man

Oct 102005
Authors: Trevor Edy

Fourth down, less than a yard to go, 27 seconds left on the game clock, and a defensive stop is needed. Despite the anxiety on every Ram fan's face, every single one was yelling with all their might. When a host of Rams, led by sophomore defensive end Jesse Nading, stuffed Utah running back Quinton Ganther at the 1-yard line, the crowd erupted.

"In my three years here at CSU, that's by far the best the crowd there has ever been," said sophomore defensive lineman Erik Sandie, who redshirted his freshman year.

The capacity crowd of 32,713 was the 12th largest in school history and was the biggest since September 2004.

"The crowd came out in full tonight and helped the defense step up," said senior safety Miles Kochevar.

The crowd may have helped the Rams get their first fourth quarter come-from-behind win since September 2002. The Utah Utes' offense had two false starts in their final drive that pushed them back five yards each time.

"They were incredible tonight, they were always cheering and always into it," said CSU Athletic Director Mark Driscoll. "It's one of those intangibles."

In the week prior to Saturday's game Driscoll declared the Mountain West Conference match-up to be "Sellout Saturday," and it looked to be a successful campaign as all the tickets were sold.

Many of the Rams said they fed off the crowd, especially in the final minutes when the game was on the line. Numerous CSU defensive players encouraged the fans by waving their arms in the air. The players also said the student section of 10,000 sounded more like 20 or 30,000 screaming fans.

"When the crowd is going crazy, you can't hear a thing on the field. (They) played a huge factor and came out right when we needed them," said sophomore defensive end Bob Vomhof.

One CSU media relations official said Saturday's crowd noise rivaled many games he went to at the University of Nebraska.

"Those fans were crazy tonight, they helped us out a lot," said junior linebacker Jon Radford who helped make the game saving tackle on Utah's final play.

Many Ram fans were cheering even as they piled out of the stadium and into the parking lot after the breathtaking win against the defending MWC champions.

"I couldn't be more pleased with our student body," Driscoll said.

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