On Saturday morning, Nordly Capi was just one member of 10-person defensive line rotation for the CSU football team.
By Saturday night, Capi was the headliner after writing his name in the NCAA record books during a 14-10 victory over New Mexico.
Capi had an NCAA record four forced fumbles in the win and was awarded Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
To put that number into context, Capiâ€™s teammate Mychal Sisson led the nation last season with seven forced fumbles for the entire year.
Included in those four fumbles was the biggest play of the game.
With CSU up four with less than 30 seconds remaining, New Mexico quarterback Tarean Austin took a snap at the Rams 15-yardline. Austin dropped back, looking to the end zone for a score that would cost CSU a win.
But before he could unleash a pass, Capi came flying off the edge and stripped the ball from Austinâ€™s hand.
When he saw the ball on the turf, Capiâ€™s eyes got â€œbig enough to pop out of my head.â€
He jumped on the loose ball, and CSU escaped with a win.
â€œIt was a huge performance. When you look at the numbers it was a pretty incredible performance,â€ defensive coordinator Larry Kerr said. â€œTo do it that consistently and to make that many big plays, itâ€™s pretty unique.â€
Coach Steve Fairchild echoed that sentiment, stressing how important defensive line pressure is for the defense.
â€œNordly had a tremendous game obviously,â€ Fairchild said. â€œWe knew he was a very talented young man. Anytime we get pressure, particularly pressure with four, itâ€™s a big advantage.â€
Capiâ€™s chance to shine came at the misfortune of Broderick Sargent, a starter at defensive end.
Early in the game Sargent came around the edge in the grip of a lineman. He tried to spin back to get to the quarterback and his foot caught in the turf and he tore an ACL.
Capi took advantage of his opportunity, even bouncing back after taking a bad personal foul penalty for a late hit on the quarterback.
Capi was quick to heap praise on his teammates for supporting him and keeping his head up.
â€œIt was completely unexpected,â€ Capi said of his performance. â€œAs I look back it still hasnâ€™t set in yet. I just thank my team. Early in the game I got that penalty; my team really helped me out. They stuck behind me even though I was getting down on myself.â€
The eye-popping performance served as a coming out party for the sophomore from Ococee, Fl.
Last season Capi registered only three tackles while playing in four games as a true freshman.
During one practice in fall camp Capi was on the receiving end of a tirade from linebackers coach Bernard Clark and was demoted to third string. But Capi quickly bounced back.
â€œI thought back about that moment,â€ Capi said. â€œIt helped me get my thoughts together, get my mindset together.â€
Capiâ€™s play highlighted an amazing performance by the defensive line. They recorded nine sacks as a unit.
While fans are sure to expect to see Capi headlining the defensive line from now on, Kerr was quick to stress that Capi is a young player who is still a work in progress.
In particular, Kerr feels that Capi needs to improve his run defense.
Capi is determined to make sure that Saturday wonâ€™t become a one-time performance.
â€œIt motivates me because I know once you do something like that somebody is always going to expect something like that,â€ Capi said. â€œSo I try my best to continue to improve and not let anybody down.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.