The ball flew quickly from the hand of Justin Holland. But when
it hit and fell out of the hands of a diving David Anderson, the
hopes of the CSU football team may have fallen with it.
In a game with four lead changes, the Rams fell to Brigham Young
31-21 in both teams’ Mountain West Conference opener and fell to
1-4 on the season.
The Rams were unable to convert a fourth-and-eight from their
own 3-yard line with 2:34 remaining in the game on the incomplete
pass to Anderson. On the following snap, BYU running back Naufahu
Tahi ran in a 3-yard touchdown, sealing the Cougar win.
The incomplete pass had come as the defense, plagued by poor
tackling and missed assignments all game, stopped the BYU offense
from inside the Ram 5-yard line, giving the offense a chance to win
the football game.
But, in what is becoming a recurring theme for CSU football this
season, it wasn’t to be.
“The embarrassing thing is that that is a team we could have
beat, I could say should have beat,” said senior H-back Joel
Dreessen. “We are underachieving.”
Despite out-gaining BYU offensively, the Rams were again unable
to score points when it mattered. CSU ended the game with 462 yards
of total offense, 359 yards coming from Holland’s arm.
“The offense just needs to do a better job of getting the ball
into the end zone,” Holland said. “We’re moving the ball on every
drive. They really weren’t stopping us.”
Holland said the offense needed to take some pressure off the
“We were prepared coming into the game. We knew what we were
doing,” Holland said.
Anderson had a career night, catching 12 balls for 232 yards,
both career highs. He became the first CSU receiver to catch for
200 yards since Greg Primus had 256 yards against Hawaii in 1991.
But, it was of little matter to Anderson.
“I think the thing that stalled us was ourselves,” Anderson
said. “We were making plays all the way down the field.”
However, Anderson said, the Rams didn’t have the attitude to
punch the ball in for a touchdown.
The Rams’ struggles to stop the run resurfaced, as BYU (2-3,
1-0) ran for 51 yards in the first quarter, more than any other
game they have played.
Total, the Cougars ran the ball 46 times, gaining 207 yards. BYU
had run the ball for only 115 yards in its previous four games
“The run game stars up front with the eight guys there,” said
junior safety Ben Stratton, who led the Rams with 15 tackles.
“We’re just letting guys get up the middle. It’s something we need
to try to get corrected.”
Tahi led the Cougars with 98 yards rushing on 16 attempts. Both
he and Curtis Brown averaged more than 6 yards per rush.
“We thought that they would run it,” said CSU head coach Sonny
Lubick. “We were playing well and wanted to stop big plays. We
still missed too many tackles.”
BYU kicker Matt Payne gave the Cougars the game’s first points,
hitting a 52-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
BYU then got a 14-yard touchdown run from Brown, who capitalized
on a Rams turnover, with 1:45 remaining in the first half.
After a slow first half that saw BYU jump out to a 10-7 lead,
the second half was a back-and-forth battle. The Rams took their
first lead of the game on a Uldis Jaunarajs 3-yard touchdown
The Rams held onto the lead until late in the third, when Brown
ran in another touchdown, this time from 5 yards out, giving BYU
the lead to start the fourth quarter.
But the Rams refused to quit, taking the next drive 75 yards
down the field and scoring, ending the drive with a 5-yard
touchdown run by Jaunarajs. Jaunarajs ended the day with 24 carries
for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
But BYU would not give in either, as quarterback John Beck
hooked up with Austin Collie for a 40-yard touchdown pass on the
ensuing drive, giving BYU the lead for good.
Even in the losing effort, Lubick said he saw some improvement
in the team.
“We played pretty good defense in the first half,” Lubick said.
“Offense did what it had to in the second half, but we did not slow
Dreessen said the team needed to improve and find a way to fire
the team up and play better.
“I’ve got six games left as a Colorado State Ram,” Dreessen
said. “This is not OK around here.”
True freshman running back Kyle Bell, the sixth true freshman
used by the Rams this year, fumbled the ball at the Rams
45-yard-line, setting up the Cougar touchdown. For CSU, it was the
13th turnover this year. Those turnovers have led to 62 points for