The Star Report

Sep 212008
Authors: Sean Victor Star

Soon after Billy Farris kneeled the Rams to victory Saturday, a fan in the student section half-heartedly suggested rushing the field.

After all, it was only a few days earlier that a certain team in Boulder had done just so, on national TV, nonetheless.

While the win wasn’t worth risking arrest — perhaps only an upset over BYU would be — but it was worth something. Something more than just a tally in the win column.

Because for the first time in almost two years, the Rams beat a team they weren’t expected to.

Frequently they had come close. But it always seemed it was someone on the other team making the big play when it mattered most.

Not on Saturday. Not if Klint Kubiak or his pal Mike Pagnotta had their say.

And did they ever.

Speaking loud and clear in defense of the potent Houston passing attack, the two safeties combined for 18 tackles (two for a loss), a fumble recovery, a sack and two giant interceptions.

“Both our safeties, obviously, are the strength of our secondary,” coach Steve Fairchild told the media. “I’ve been very pleased with what both those guys have been doing.”

As it turned out, Houston had not just one, but two problems.

First it was Pagnotta, who helped stop the Cougars’ comeback twice in the second half by first recovering a fumble and later by intercepting a pass.

Then of course it was Kubiak, who picked off Houston quarterback Case Keenum in the end zone with two seconds left to halt the Cougar comeback for good. A big play when it mattered most, indeed.

There has never been a doubt about the ability of either safety. There has just been a doubt about their health, as both have had injuries cut recent seasons short.

But this isn’t your older brother’s Rams.

No, this team, under the guidance of its new leader, has found ways to win. Maybe it can find ways to keep its safety studs healthy too.

If so, who knows. Flooding the field might not be so far-fetched.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s take the time to bask in Kubiak’s heroics, because there wasn’t much else that could make this winning feeling any better.

Oh wait, there was.

Just two and a half short hours after Klint’s pick, the CSU volleyball team began its beatdown of a different pack of Cougars across town.

Only these Cougars never had a chance. Not at mighty Moby, where the Rams have now won 21 straight after sweeping BYU 3-0 in front of another impressive home crowd.

Taking a cue from the football team, the Rams won with their defense, amassing 14 blocks and forcing 25 errors.

With the win, the team improved to 2-0 to start conference play. With the win, fans enjoyed a near-perfect day.

It was a double header that doubled the pleasure.

Two for the price of none.

What a weekend.

Sports columnist Sean Star can be reached at

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