Oct 172004
Authors: Jon Pilsner

SAN DIEGO – With quarterback Justin Holland sitting on the

sidelines, his broken leg wrapped up and his season over, the CSU

football team rallied behind a true freshman and fought their way

to victory.

In a game that seemed on the brink of becoming the fifth loss of

the season for the Rams, the CSU defense forced a fumble with 1:51

remaining in the football game, giving the Rams the opportunity to

score the go-ahead touchdown and beat San Diego State 21-17 in

front of a crowd of 31,129.

SDSU running back Michael Franklin fumbled while the Aztecs

attempted to run out the remaining time in the game. Junior

Terrance Carter recovered for the Rams, and junior running back

Jimmy Green ran in a 1-yard touchdown with 1:03 remaining in the

fourth quarter, giving the Rams the go-ahead touchdown.

“It’s easy to get down so much this year,” Green said. “It just

feels good to get a win.”

But, the biggest story of the game was what happened late in the

first quarter.

Holland, who was on pace to have one of the biggest seasons at

quarterback in CSU history, fractured his fibula in his left leg

when he was hit after throwing a pass. Holland will have surgery

today to help stabilize the leg and is expected to miss the

remainder of the season.

True freshman Caleb Hanie replaced Holland and went 12-of-19 for

115 yards and a touchdown. Hanie is the first true freshman to play

quarterback for CSU in more than 20 years.

“I felt really confident, I wasn’t really that nervous,” Hanie

said. “I think everybody played the best game. We have to get

better next week.”

For Hanie, who started fall camp listed fourth on the depth

chart, it was his second appearance of the season. He went 2-of-2

for 7 yards at the end of the CSU win over Montana State.

“He took control of that offense,” said senior H-back Joel

Dreessen. “He was more vocal than any of us ever have been.”

On his second drive of the game, Hanie led the Rams on an

80-yard touchdown drive, hooking up with Dreessen for a 4-yard

touchdown pass. Hanie went 4-of-4 on the drive, helping give the

Rams a 14-6 lead.

“This is a bittersweet game for us,” said CSU Head Coach Sonny

Lubick. “I think Caleb went in there and did an admirable job. You

have to give him credit.”

The CSU defense, plagued by poor tackling and the previous

target of criticism, came up numerous times to make big plays.

Linebacker Luke Adkins intercepted a Matt Dlugolecki pass and

returned it 71-yards for a touchdown to lead off scoring for CSU.

It was the longest interception return by a Ram since 1993, when

Ray Jackson returned a pick 100 yards against Texas-El Paso.

SDSU also switched quarterbacks, as redshirt freshman Kevin

O’Connell replaced the starter Dlugolecki. O’Connell would finish

the day 11-of-26 for 157 yards and a touchdown.

CSU recorded two sacks on the first two SDSU drives of the game,

forcing the Aztecs to punt without getting a first down. It was the

first time this year the Rams have forced opposing offences to

back-to-back three-and-outs. Total, SDSU would gain 148 yards in

the first half, but ended with only six points.

SDSU got two field goals in the first half, both converted by

Garrett Palmer from 48 yards out. Senior defensive lineman Jonathan

Simon blocked a 23-yard field goal attempt in the beginning of the

second quarter.

The game quickly turned into a battle between defenses, as

neither team scored in the third quarter and the Rams gained only

23 yards.

That changed on the first play of the fourth quarter, as

O’Connell laced a 58-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Webb. SDSU would

convert for two points, tying the game at 14.

“Except for one play, (SDSU) might not have scored a TD on us

all night,” Lubick said.

Hanie was intercepted with 7:18 remaining in the fourth quarter,

and the turnover gave the Aztecs a chance to take the lead, as the

Rams defense was unable to stop SDSU. Brandon Bornes 22-yard run

set up a 27-yard field goal by Palmer, which gave SDSU a 17-14 lead

with 5:36 remaining.

The Rams responded by driving down the field, but a Heath

Farwell sack would end the Rams’ drive just before they reached

SDSU territory. With just over two minutes left, it looked as if

SDSU would be able to run out the clock.

But the Franklin fumble changed all of that.

As Franklin hit the line of scrimmage, a swarm of Rams defenders

hit him. In the scuffle, the ball appeared to fall out and onto the

ground, with Carter on top of it. The SDSU fans and sideline

appealed, but CSU took possession of the football.

“By rule, for a player to be down, officials must have positive

knowledge that the player is in possession of the ball while

contracting the ground,” said referee Karl Richins. “What we knew

for certain was that the ball was loose and Colorado State


Two plays later, Green ran in the eventual game winner.

On the ensuing drive, SDSU moved up the field quickly, but a

Hail Mary attempt at the end of the game fell in and out of Chaz

Schilens hands, sealing the CSU win.

In total, the Aztecs out-gained the Rams offensively 366 yards

to 196. The Rams averaged just 3 yards per play, but were able to

capitalize when given the opportunity.

“This one is on the defense,” Green said. “Every play we needed

they came up with. They gave us so many chances, and we finally

capitalized on one.”

Game Notes:

Starting free safety and leading tackler Ben Stratton was also

injured early in the game, suffering a strained right ankle. He sat

for the remainder of the game. Travis Garcia played in his place,

sharing time with strong safeties Adam Lancisero and Miles


The Rams have converted 17 points of the 8 turnovers this year.

However, Ram opponents have converted 16 CSU turnovers into 68

points, a difference of 51 points. SDSU would get 6 points off the

two CSU turnovers, while the Rams converted three SDSU turnovers

into two touchdowns.

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