The Rams received a gift on their final defensive possession in the 24-23 win over Weber State Saturday.
Driving the ball all the way to the CSU nine-yard line, the Wildcat offense chose to run the ball to kill the clock and get them in position for the game-wining field goal rather than kicking it right away.
On third-and eight, with less than a minute on the clock, quarterback Cameron Higgins botched the snap and CSU defensive lineman Guy Miller, lined up over the center, recovered the ball, securing the Rams’ win.
“I just saw it right there on the ground. I was lucky to be able to see it and be the guy to fall on it,” Miller said. “I’ll take it. I like gifts.”
“That was definitely a God thing there, that fumble,” defensive coordinator Larry Kerr said.
And so the Rams can walk away from Hughes Stadium in its home opener with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2006.
The beginning of the game looked like it was going to be a rout.
The Rams took their first possession in for the score in four plays, scoring on a 40-yard double-reverse pass from senior receiver Dion Morton to quarterback Grant Stucker.
“It was a great feeling,” Stucker said of his touchdown reception. “I was kind of beside myself, saying I just caught a touchdown pass.”
Stucker finished the game 10-23 for 203 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Kicker Ben Deline added a 28-yard field goal to put the Rams up 10-0 after the first quarter.
The second and third quarters however belonged to Weber State.
The Wildcats reeled off 20 points on three straight possessions, taking a 23-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We came out fired up and scored on our first drive, then our letdown came. It was something we really didn’t talk about, it was something that nobody was really prepared to expect,” Stucker said.
Weber State running back, Trevyn Smith, scored on a nine-yard run and tight end Cody Nakamura caught a pair of touchdown passes.
Quarterback, Cameron Higgins, finished 29-47 for 258 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Nakamura caught 10 passes and receiver Tim Toone added seven.
“Their quarterback and receivers, we knew were pretty good and they were as advertised,” Kerr said.
CSU receiver Rashaun Greer had a big game, catching six balls for 162 yards.
The Rams re-took the lead in the fourth quarter on a two-yard pass from Stucker to tight-end Eric Peitz in the corner of the end zone.
“I told coach in the fourth quarter cause we were stalling on out and the offense wasn’t doing much, to throw to the tight end,” Peitz said. “We hadn’t caught a ball all day and I told him to try us out.”
That play was set-up by a James Skelton interception.
“That was a big play by James and we’re certainly fortunate that he made that play,” head coach Steve Fairchild said.
Weber State head coach Ron McBride knows this game slipped through his team’s fingers.
“It was our game to win. I mean they made one play in the second half, period. It was our game to win, period. That’s all I got to say. Stupid,” McBride said.
Fairchild is just glad to walk out of the home field with a win and sit at 2-0.
“They (Weber State) played a great game and in some ways we didn’t really play smart enough to win the football game, but we made enough plays that we were fortunately able to come away with the win.”