Nov 272011
 
Authors: Kevin Lytle

CSU runningback Chris Nwoke ran for 269 yards in Saturday’s 45-21 loss to Air Force, the third-highest single-game total in school history.

The team racked up 446 total yards on offense.

But numbers can be deceiving. The game was never close after halftime, and CSU was able to pad stats in the second half when the outcome was already decided.

When it really counted, the offense disappeared.

After one quarter the Rams had 111 yards on offense. Nwoke had already rushed for 46 yards, quarterback Garrett Grayson had 52 yards and a touchdown, and CSU led 7-0.

By the end of the second quarter, Nwoke had only added 14 more yards, Grayson had turned the ball over two times, and the Rams were being blown out 31-7.

Drive-by-drive things got worse and worse for the offense in the second quarter.

First drive: three-and-out. Second drive: three-and-out. Third drive: three-and-out. Total yards for CSU in those drives: -3.

On their fourth chance, the Rams moved the ball a bit. But then Grayson fumbled just inside AFA territory.

And on the final drive of the half when CSU had a chance to grab a little momentum going into the break, Grayson threw an interception in the end zone on fourth down from the 10-yard line.

“We just got out of sync offensively there in the second quarter,” coach Steve Fairchild said. “You can say all you want about them moving the ball on our defense…we didn’t help ourselves at all (on offense).”

Even with the running game rolling, Grayson was never able to get the passing game going. He came down to earth in his second career start, throwing for only 125 yards after 248 a week ago.

“I didn’t play very well tonight,” Grayson said. “I felt like I was as prepared as I could be, as I was going into last week. I went in and watched film with Pete (Thomas) and everything. I’ll take the blame for this one – I didn’t perform well.”

The offense did show some life in the third quarter when Nwoke ran for a 62-yard touchdown to make it 31-14. But AFA scored a touchdown on its next drive, and the game was all but over.

CSU then abandoned the pass game, continually gave the rock to Nwoke and let him rack up as many yards as he could. It was almost as if the Rams needed something positive to take away from the blowout loss.

And at least Nwoke was able to provide the team and its fans with some hope for the future.
The sophomore’s 269 yards gave him two 200-plus rushing games on the season, making him the first player in CSU history to have two in a year.

He also became CSU’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Gartrell Johnson in 2008.

“You take small victories when you can’t get the big one,” offensive lineman Weston Richburg said. “One of my goals was to get him 1,000 yards. He’s earned that. He’s a really tough runner, and I’m glad he got that today.”

Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

Offensive yards per quarter

1st: 111

2nd: 82

3rd: 168

4th: 85

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