Despite a furious late fourth quarter rally, the CSU Rams football team fell to No. 10 Cal, 34-28, Saturday at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. The loss stretches the Rams losing streak to nine games dating back to last season.
But the Rams lost more than just a game, as senior star tight end Kory Sperry tore a ligament in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season, said coach Sonny Lubick in his postgame press conference.
“You lose a guy like that, who’s a major part of (the offense), we got to get the freshman (Eric Peitz) ready to go,” Lubick said.
The Rams hung with the Bears in the first half and were within three points (17-14) heading into halftime.
Cal then scored 17 unanswered points to open the second half, highlighted by a 64-yard run by freshman running back James Montgomery.
Behind 34-14, the Rams began their comeback with six minutes left, starting with a 66-yard Caleb Hanie touchdown pass to senior Damon Morton.
The Rams recovered the ensuing onside kick and scored again on a 3-yard Kyle Bell run to get within six.
Rather than try another onside kick, the Rams chose to pooch kick the ball out of bounds. With only two timeouts, CSU was unable to stop the Bears from chewing up the remainder of the clock.
Sperry injured his knee in the second quarter while making a leaping catch. The loss comes a little more than a year after running back Kyle Bell injured his knee and was knocked out for all of last season.
“When I found that out, I was heartbroken,” said senior quarterback Caleb Hanie. “He’s a great leader of our team and a great player to play with and a good friend.”
Sperry had two catches for 16 yards before the injury.
The senior is considered the Rams’ best pro prospect and showed why in the team’s season opener to CU-Boulder last week by catching three touchdowns in an overtime loss.
Despite giving up 34 points, coach Lubick was pleased with the play of his defense.
For the players, though, the ninth straight loss appeared to take its toll.
“It’s frustrating. I don’t think we’ve forgotten how to win,” said junior safety Mike Pagnotta. “I think we just need to put it together-offense, defense and special teams-everyone needs to play a good game together. If we do that, we can beat anyone on our schedule.”