PROVO, Utah — The Rams’ tough loss to conference rival Brigham Young Saturday cast a momentum-killing cloud over an otherwise bright early season, knocking the green and gold to 3-1.
But CSU (3-1, 0-1 MWC) finds its silver lining in wide receiver Tyson Liggett, who played his best college career game by far, despite a deafening 42-23 loss to BYU (3-1, 1-0 MWC).
Liggett, a walk on from Limon, posted 11 catches for 156 yards and his first ever touchdown reception, prompting CSU head coach Steve Fairchild to elevate the junior player to starting slot receiver.
Sitting in his first-ever post game press conference after Saturday’s loss, Liggett said it didn’t feel too bad to finally get a chance with the Rams.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “Obviously it doesn’t feel as good because we didn’t get the win, but it’s nice to come out and help the team.”
Liggett entered the game after starting receiver Rashaun Greer struggled early, turning two sure catches into BYU interceptions by unintentionally dropping the ball into the defenders’ waiting arms.
CSU head coach Steve Fairchild benched Greer, and with backup T.J. Borcky unavailable with an ankle injury, called upon the 5-foot 9-inch, 184-pound Liggett to step up.
After the game, Fairchild said he knew the former high school quarterback was ready to play if the Rams needed him.
“Tyson Liggett, in his corner, came out,” the second year CSU headman said. “A lot of that stuff he doesn’t get the reps for in practice and he played pretty well. He’s a tough kid and a competitive kid who played the way we all thought he could play.”
Starting quarterback Grant Stucker agreed with his coach, adding that he has been looking for Liggett to get a chance for a while.
“I’m very happy for Tyson that he was able to get his opportunity, get his chance, because we have really been wanting to get him in a game,” the senior said. “He works really hard at practice, and he’s been a guy who’s been really consistent for us. I’m happy that he got his opportunity.”
Liggett came to the Rams as a walk on during the Sonny Lubick era. The shaggy-haired blonde was a quarterback in high school, but was deemed too small to play the same position in college and was moved to receiver.
When Fairchild took over the program last season, he kept Liggett on the roster as a non-scholarship player.
Liggett, who had never played receiver before coming to CSU, said he was confident he could play but just needed a chance to prove it when Fairchild came to town.
“I always knew I could play. That was no question for me,” he said. “The new coaches came in, and I got another shot. That was a big turning point for my career.”
Stucker, who said the entire CSU receiving core is talented, explained just what makes Liggett a dangerous player.
“He’s got sure hands and runs great routes,” the first-year starter said. “He might not be the fastest guy, but he’s also really illusive. He’ll be able to separate, and that’s the most important thing when running routes. He’ll get open for you.”
Now, after putting up a career game, Liggett appears to have earned another golden opportunity. Following weeks of hard work at practice and being one of the last players off the field day in and day out, Fairchild announced that Liggett is the Rams’ current starting slot receiver.
Liggett smiled at the announcement and said it just proves his beliefs right.
“Hard work pays off,” he said. “That’s my philosophy, and that’s what I go by. It helped me (Saturday).”
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.