Sep 282003
 
Authors: Vince Blaser

CSU running back Marcus Houston gave one interview Saturday with

guard Albert Bimper standing behind him rubbing his shoulders.

Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt was out of the locker room before the

media was allowed in.

Van Pelt and Houston combined for six turnovers in the Rams

28-21 loss to Utah in the Mountain West Conference opener for both

teams.

With less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and

the score tied at 21, Utah free safety Morgan Scalley forced

Houston to fumble right into the hands of cornerback Arnold Parker,

who ran 80 yards for the winning touchdown.

“We can’t come out and look at all the personal stats each and

every week, but everybody tries to hold themselves accountable,”

Houston said. “Unfortunately, there was a critical error toward the

end of the game on my part, so I had to take responsibility for

that.”

The Rams turned the ball over on their first four and last two

possessions of the game, which the Utes turned into 21 points.

“I was surprised by all of Colorado State’s fumbles,” said Utah

head coach Urban Meyer, a former assistant at CSU. “That is very

unusual for a (CSU head coach) Sonny Lubick team.”

However, CSU had seven more first downs, 85 more yards total

offense and 4:32 more possession time than Utah.

“I felt like we were dominating their defense for the most part,

we just kept stumbling,” said CSU tight end Matt Bartz. “I still

got full confidence in Marcus and still got full confidence in the

rest of the team.”

Two of the first-half fumbles came on the option in short

yardage situations. Two plays after the defense stopped Utah on the

one-yard line in the first quarter, Van Pelt pitched the ball, as

he was being hit, behind Marcus Houston and Utah linebacker Corey

Dodds recovered in the end zone for the game’s first points. Van

Pelt tossed another ball to the grass on an option pitch on a

third-and-one play in the second quarter.

“(The option is) something we’re going to have to rectify,”

Lubick said. “Either that or not run the option.”

Dodds also intercepted Van Pelt with 1:19 left in the game to

seal the win.

“Before we came out for this game, we vigorously talked about,

‘we need turnovers,'” Dodds said. “The last two meetings with (CSU)

we had one turnover.”

After the four early turnovers, Lubick put sophomore quarterback

Justin Holland into the game for three drives. Holland said he was

excited to get an opportunity to play but knew that the team needed

Van Pelt to come back.

“I definitely like to be on the field as much as possible,” said

Holland, who went 8-for-13 for 86 yards and a touchdown.

However, he said Van Pelt is “our starter and he’s our leader

and we need him on the field.”

Despite all the turnovers, the Rams had a very good chance to

win the game. Van Pelt led CSU back from a 21-7 deficit in the

fourth quarter to tie the score at 21 before turnovers spelled the

end to the comeback.

“Obviously turnovers hurt,” wide receiver Chris Pittman said.

“But we were still in the game, and that shows character.”

Houston said he knows he and the team have the character to move

past a very disappointing 2-3 start.

“We don’t play this game to go out there and look good, we play

to win,” Houston said. “We’ll have to come out next week and work

real hard.”

Game Notes

Injury Update

Linebacker Eric Pauly left the game in the second half with a

tear in his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee – the

senior may have played his last game as a Ram. CSU trainer Fred

Oglesby said the injury occurred when Pauly was running and changed

directions. Apparently there was no contact involved. Running back

Rahsaan Sanders did not play after a carry from the Rams 1-yard

line in the second quarter. CSU media relations did not list an

injury, but Sanders was seen with limping in the locker room after

the game. Center Mark Dryer returned to the lineup after having

surgery repairing a repaired tendon, snapping the ball

left-handed.

Utah ends Rams streak

CSU had beaten Utah five games in a row before the 28-21 Utes

win Saturday.

Special Teams Star

Junior wide receiver Caleb Atchison emerged as a special teams

star when the Rams started the comeback against Utah. Atchison made

a tackle on the 16-yard line after the Rams scored to make it

21-14. He also downed a punt inside the 5-yard line and pressured

two Utes punts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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