As Steve Fairchild walked off the turf of Folsom Field, random fans embracing him, a look of relief and joy came across the second-year head coach’s face. He had pulled an upset in the biggest game in Colorado college football, beating the CU- Boulder Buffs in the 72 Rocky Mountain Showdown.
Fairchild and his CSU Rams defeated the Buffs in front of a hostile crowd 53,000 strong, knocking off CU 23-17.
The Rams defense was huge in the win, contributing four sacks, and two turnovers while holding the Buffs to only 251-yards of total offense.
In his post game press conference Fairchild first gave credit to the defense for the win and keeping the Rams ahead of CU the entire game.
“I can’t say enough about Larry Kerr (CSU Defensive Coordinator) and our defensive staff for the way our defense played,” the second year CSU headman said. “We held up against the run pretty good and got them out of there on third down. That got our offense dialed up there a little bit and made enough plays.”
After holding the Buffs to only a field goal in the first half, CSU’s defense struggled out of the gate in the third quarter, giving up a touchdown on CU’s opening drive of the half. The Rams recovered quickly, stopping the Buffs on their next five consecutive drives.
CU added a late touchdown with under two-minutes left in the game, but it was too little to late.
CSU cornerback Nick Oppenneer explained that everything clicked for the Rams defense during the game, allowing them to give a quality first outing of the season.
“The sacks came and the interceptions came and the three and outs came,” the senior said. “That’s what you have to do to be good and we did it.”
Buffs head coach Dan Hawkins gave credit to the Rams for getting his team out of rhythm early.
“Clearly we have some room for brushing up everywhere,” the fourth year CU coach said. “The main thing that hurt us was in the first half, trying to get a little bit of rhythm.”
CSU’s offense got off to a quick start in the game, jumping out to an early 17-0 lead. Grant Stucker was solid for the Rams in his first ever college-start, guiding CSU down the field for a touchdown on the Rams first two possessions. Stucker, a senior, began the day by finding a wide open Dion Morton down the middle of the field for a 57 yard completion, setting up a first and goal. Two plays later running back John Mosure muscled the ball into the end zone for a touchdown.
Mosure ended up in the end zone on the Rams next drive, this time catching a nine-yard pass from Stucker. Mosure would later leave the game with an unspecified injury.
Kicker Ben DeLine was perfect for the Rams, going 3-3 on field goal opportunities.
Even though Fairchild said his team still has a lot of work to do to get where they want to be, he explained that winning against the Rams arch rival on their turf feels pretty good.
“It’s a big win,” he said. “It felt like that bowl game (the New Mexico Bowl) last year. I don’t know, I feel like we want to keep going this way.”
Stucker- 10-17-2 208yds 1 TD
Mason- 23carries 144yds
Sisson- 9 tackles 1 sack