With two minutes remaining on the game clock and the ball at the CSU 41, coach Steve Fairchild sent the offense out on a fourth-and-one play.
Rams running back Chris Nwoke got stuffed in the backfield, and CSU turned the ball over on downs. New Mexico started on a short field and wasted no time, moving the ball with ease.
Sophomore Nordly Capi, a backup defensive end, charged through the offensive line, forced and recovered a fumble with 23 seconds left sealing the victory for CSU.
It was his fourth forced fumble of the day, a new NCAA record. Capi wreaked havoc in New Mexicoâ€™s backfield all day on his way to recording 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks to cap off one of the most impressive defensive outputs ever by a Ram.
Fairchild stressed the importance of the win after the game, even though the Rams didnâ€™t look terribly impressive.
â€œThis was a big win for our program,â€ Fairchild said. â€œWe get a win, we get last yearâ€™s taste out of our mouths, we get a road victory, a conference victory.â€
The Ramsâ€™ coach also spoke on important things that CSU is able to take out of the game.
â€œProbably the biggest thing we can take away from that game is, the last couple of years we would have found a way to lose that game,â€ Fairchild said. â€œWe found a way to win a tight game. Not just a tight game, but a conference game and a road game at that.â€
Fairchild knows that the running game needs to improve from its output on Saturday. CSU ran for only 92 yards on 28 attempts, and New Mexico won the battle of total offensive yards in the game 329 to 270 for CSU.
Along with the running game lacking attitude, the wide receivers need to become more involved in the offense.
â€œThat will be an area of emphasis this week,â€ Fairchild said.
Nwoke and tight end Crockett Gillmore were a couple of bright spots for the CSU offense, which was rather stagnant for most of the day. Each scored a touchdown accounting for all the points the Rams scored.
Sophomore quarterback Pete Thomas looked solid, but the Rams lacked any offense that stretched the field against a mediocre at-best, Lobo defense.
The CSU defense looks to be much improved from last yearâ€™s team.
The Rams had a nation-best nine sacks in the matchup. Other than three pass interference calls and a late hit penalty on Capi, the defense didnâ€™t allow any big plays by the New Mexico offense.
CSU was also able to play 11 defensive linemen in the game, a testament to the depth that the team has built.
The road win was the first in two years for the Rams, the last coming when they knocked off CU-Boulder at Folsom Field.
_Football Beat Reporter Travis Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _
What: CSU vs. New Mexico
Score: CSU-14 UNM-10
Where: Albuquerque, N.M.
Next: Northern Colorado vs. CSU
When: Saturday, Noon