If you asked the average CSU football fan two weeks ago who Grant Stucker was, the likely response would have been “Grant who?” Now, fourteen days and a victory over rival CU-Boulder later, Grant Stucker is quickly becoming the newest household name in Ram nation.
Stucker, a senior quarterback, guided CSU to a 23-17 victory in his first ever college start, shocking the heavily favored Buffaloes and winning the 81st Rocky Mountain Showdown.
The Colorado native, surrounded by a dozen reporters and cameramen after the game, explained that it was hard to predict that his inaugural start for the green and gold could have gone this way.
“Expectations are hard to say,” he said. “It’s definitely something I dreamed it could be. This whole team has been working for this since last January. We had a hundred guys with that same vision, and when you have all those guys with that vision, things can only go up.”
While Stucker didn’t play a game good enough game to make himself a Heisman hopeful, the fifth-year Ram did successfully manage his first game, completing 10 of 17 passes for 208 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Stucker also had the deep ball dialed during the contest, completing three passes of at least 40 yards and having a fourth dropped by wide receiver Rashaun Greer early in the game.
CSU coach Steve Fairchild said he was pleasantly surprised by how his quarterback played on Sunday. The second-year head coach was openly critical of Stucker in practices leading up to the game and even admitted having doubts about making him the starter.
“We aren’t out of the woods yet, but he is a talented young man,” Fairchild said about Stucker in a post-game press conference. “Not bad for a kid who had never started a game. I will pat him on the back because it’s certainly not easy to come into a place like this (Folsom Field in Boulder) and play a game like that.”
CU coach Dan Hawkins also gave credit to Stucker, calling his overall performance solid.
“I thought he did a good job in there,” Hawkins said. “He played really well and executed really well. He had a couple of picks, but by and large, he did a really good job.”
This specific win was particularly satisfying to Stucker, because it was a matter of payback for him and the rest of the fifth-year seniors. The Ponderosa graduate was with the Rams as a redshirt freshman the last time the team played in Boulder, losing on a last-second field goal by then-CU kicker Mason Crosby, who is currently with the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. Stucker explained he’s been waiting for this win ever since that day.
“That has stuck with me for four and a half years,” he said. “I have wanted to come back and get that one back.”
Even though it’s a long season, Stucker is still enjoying his long awaited position at the center of CSU football. The 22-year-old made good use of his time in the spotlight, sending a message to future CSU opponents.
“Not only did we beat CU. We beat CU in Boulder,” Stucker said. “That’s something that is a statement. It’s a statement that Colorado State football is back, and we are going to be ready to play. You better bring your A-game.”
Assistant sports editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.