HOUSTON– It seems anything that can go wrong will go wrong these days for the CSU football team.
And Saturday’s 38-27 loss at the University of Houston is perhaps the best example of this recent trend.
After a first half in which a pair of Rams notched their first career touchdowns, CSU looked well on its way to ending its historic losing streak with a 17-3 lead going into the locker rooms at John O’Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium.
But like teams with 10-game losing streaks often do, the Rams watched that hard-earned lead go to waste, thanks to a pair of Cougar touchdowns in the span of 21 seconds in the closing minutes of the third quarter.
The first of those paralyzing scores was 27-yard touchdown pass from redshirt quarterback Case Keenum to Perry McDaniel. Keenum, who relived starter Blake Joseph in the second quarter, appeared to have been sacked but scrambled free to find a wide-open McDaniel only feet from the end zone.
The second score was the real backbreaker.
After a nine-yard reverse on the first play of the ensuing possession, running back Kyle Bell carried the ball up the middle and fumbled fighting for a first down.
“Nine times out of ten that ball doesn’t pop out,” Bell said.
But the ball did pop out. And it was returned 37 yards by Houston safety Kenneth Fontenette for a touchdown. CSU’s 14-point halftime lead had evaporated into the hot, muggy Houston air in half the time in took to create.
Lubick’s boys didn’t go without a fight, though.
Jason Smith’s second field goal of the game, a 31-yarder early in the fourth, gave CSU a 27-24 lead.
All the Rams needed to do was have their defense hold for the remaining nine minutes.
Instead, they gave way to a nine-play, 60-yard scoring dive, capped off by an eight-yard scamper by Keenum, giving the Cougars a 31-27 advantage.
The Rams tried to mount one final comeback drive but stalled near midfield when quarterback Caleb Hanie’s sneak on fourth down came up short.
Houston went on to add another touchdown on the ground by Keenum to the delight of a vast majority of the 22,468 in attendance.
CSU has now lost an unthinkable 10 games in a row.
The streak dates back to last season’s loss at Air Force in which CSU relinquished an 18-point halftime lead.
But Hanie, like many of his teammates, chooses to look at the streak in a different light.
“I just look at it like we’ve lost the last three,” he said.
There is one positive for the Rams, though, as Hanie pointed out.
“The good thing is that we haven’t played a conference game yet,” said the junior.
-Safety Klint Kubiak became ill before the game and was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons.
-Long snapper Joey Madrid suffered a knee sprain in the second half and did not return.
-Injured tight end Kory Sperry made the trip and cheered his teammates on from the sideline.
-Wide Receiver Dion Morton scored his first career touchdown with the game’s first score off a 37-yard pass from Hanie.
-Running back John Mosure score his first career touchdown on a 21-yard screen pass late in the first quarter.
Yards rushing- 126
Yards passing- 227
Total offensive yards- 353
Time of possession- 29:55
Yards rushing- 153
Yards passing- 247
Total offensive yards- 400
Time of possession- 30:05