Apr 242011
Authors: Kevin Lytle

Down one, no time on the clock. Chris Nwoke takes the handoff from M.J. McPeek, breaks a tackle and scores the two-point conversion to give the green team a win in the annual CSU football spring game.

As Nwoke scores, his teammates storm onto the field to dance and celebrate as if they had won the national championship.

And that, really, was the goal.

“I thought they had fun out there today,” coach Steve Fairchild said. “That was the main thing we were looking for; just come out, play hard and have a little bit of fun with the spring game.”

The game signaled the conclusion of the spring practice period that saw intense competition throughout but also had a very upbeat atmosphere.
The result of the game may not matter, but some individual performances could provide a glimpse towards next season.

Starting quarterback Pete Thomas was ineffective in limited duty. The sophomore played in only two series, going one for three for 16 yards. He also threw an interception on a post rout intended for T.J. Borcky where the ball hung in the air before being picked by safety Ezra Thompson in the south end zone.

Despite the poor outing, Fairchild is confident that Thomas will be fine, saying that he is improving and is much further along than he was a year ago.

Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Thompson. Earlier in the week Fairchild had said that the safeties were improving but had a long ways to go to be game ready.

On Saturday Thompson looked composed, adding two tackles and two pass breakups to his interception, making a convincing case to start next fall.

“At first it was kind of shaky because we’ve got some new guys back there but as play went on we got more comfortable with each other and started to click,” linebacker Mychal Sisson said. “It shouldn’t be all the problems that we had the past couple of years with our secondary.”

One area that seems certain to be productive is the running game.

The Rams top three running backs — Chris Nwoke, Raymond Carter and Derek Good — combined to rush for 153 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

Fairchild said that this is the best spring since he came to CSU, and the team now carries a sense of excitement heading into the summer and the start of next season.

“I’m totally confident in my team, both sides of the ball. I feel like we can go out there and get the job done,” Sisson said. “It’s going to be a big difference you are going to see in our attitude and the way we play and the score’s going to change. We’re going to throw a lot of W’s up there this year.”

Football Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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