SU: 35, USU: 34 (2OT)
For the second time in two weeks the CSU football game was turned on its head by a punting miscue.
But this week it was CSUâ€™s opponent that was victimized by special teams mistake.
After a personal foul penalty, the Rams had a fourth and 30 from near midfield down eight points and were forced to punt.
Pete Kontodiakos launched a high punt. As returner Eric Moats called for a fair catch he was surrounded by CSU defenders and fumbled the ball.
CSU long-snapper Tanner Hedstrom fell on the loose ball â€” his second fumble recovery of the game â€” and gave the Rams one last chance to tie the game.
The Rams cut the deficit to 21-19 when sophomore running back Chris Nwoke punched it home from a yard out.
The game was tied when quarterback Pete Thomas hit Crockett Gillmore on the two-point conversion.
Then after trading touchdowns in the first overtime, CSU closed out the win.
After a Rams touchdown in the second overtime, Utah State University responded on the first play of its drive with a 25-yard touchdown by running back Robert Turbin.
USU then elected to go for two and the win.
Quarterback Chuckie Keeton dropped back and fired a ball that his receiver couldnâ€™t catch. But pass interference was called on the play. It was one of many calls that CSU coach Steve Fairchild didnâ€™t agree with.
â€œShould there have even been a second attempt?â€ Fairchild asked after the game. â€œThere was some real screwball stuff that happened out there that allowed the game to get to where it did.â€
But the defense made the stop on the second attempt when Turbin was forced out short of the end zone by a host of defenders.
While the defense will get most of the accolades, the offense did come through at the most crucial times.
They came to life to score the late touchdown and converted the two-point to tie it. They then scored touchdowns on both possessions of overtime.
â€œI knew we were going to score,â€ Thomas said about going out for the first drive of overtime knowing the offense had to match the USU touchdown.
Nwoke in particular carried the offense to the improbable late comeback.
His final stat line wasnâ€™t an amazing one â€” 24 carries, 85 yards, 3.5 average â€” but the sophomore came through when it mattered most.
In the game-tying drive at the end of regulation and through the two overtimes, Nwoke had 47 yards and two touchdowns as he continually battered a weary USU defense.
â€œThey were definitely tired,â€ Nwoke said. â€œIt was about me being faster than them. They were tired, they were slower, it was me getting that foot in the ground and getting forward because I was moving the ball.â€
CSU now has two road wins on the season and the remarkable comeback gives the Rams the early-season momentum that the team has been aiming for to return to bowl season.
â€œItâ€™s just a great win,â€ Nwoke said. â€œWe have so much momentum, we just believe in our whole team. Weâ€™re excited. Itâ€™s crazy.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.