Hughes Stadium stood still on Saturday evening, waiting for the anxious leg of Colorado State kicker Ben DeLine to write the gameâ€™s final verse.
From 35 yards out, DeLine struck the ball toward the north end zone â€“ he knew right away that redemption was his as the Rams squeaked past Idaho 36-34.
â€œWithout looking I can tell you if itâ€™s good or bad,â€ DeLine said. â€œI wouldnâ€™t have been able to live with myself if Iâ€™d missed it.â€
The ball split the uprights â€” ending the Ramsâ€™ 12-game losing streak in the process â€” and igniting the orange sea of Hughes Stadium into waves of euphoria.
DeLine had missed an extra point on Saturday that would have tied the game at 34 apiece with six minutes to play.
â€œThatâ€™s the first extra point I can ever remember missing,â€ said DeLine of his extra point that sailed wide right. â€œIâ€™ve had a couple blocked, I guess I just got a little lax on it.â€
The Rams are winners for the first time in more than a calendar year. True freshman quarterback Pete Thomas was happy to be part of Saturdayâ€™s thrilling win.
â€œThis is definitely the best football game Iâ€™ve ever been a part of,â€ said Thomas of his first collegiate victory. â€œWinning it made it feel even better. Itâ€™s a great feeling.â€
Thomas, along with the entire CSU offense, played with a level of composure it lacked before Saturday. The 18-year-old Thomas threw for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns in the victory.
His favorite target for the day was running back Raymond Carter, who caught five passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, to go along with 105 yards and a score on the ground.
â€œI have been waiting for this groove for a little while,â€ Carter said. â€œOur offensive line did a great job today opening up holes.â€
The Rams made an effort to attack the Vandals man-to-man defensive scheme, which left Idaho linebackers covering Carter in pass formations.
â€œWe got a little bit of a run game going, which was nice,â€ said CSU coach Steve Fairchild. â€œ(Idaho) was doing man-to-man, putting a linebacker on Carter. Raymond runs pretty well, so he made some big plays coming out of the backfield.â€
Carter is the first Rams running back in 40 years to eclipse 100 yards rushing and receiving in a single game. Lawrence McCutcheon tallied 117 yards receiving and 104 yards rushing in a 1970 win on Halloween over Utah State.
Fairchild was not quick to bury his team after three straight losses to begin the season, and was careful not to proclaim his team a finished product after Saturdayâ€™s victory.
â€œWe certainly have a long way to go,â€ Fairchild said. â€œBut weâ€™ve been getting better every week in practice and looked like a better football team out there today.â€
The Ramsâ€™ rushing game received a great deal of scrutiny heading into the weekend, as they entered the game ranked 119th in rushing yards per game. The Rams finally got the ground game going, spearheaded by Carterâ€™s big effort.
Both Carter and senior running back John Mosure exceeded 6 yards per carry, as the Ramsâ€™ offensive line dictated the line of scrimmage.
The Rams now turn their attention toward No. 4 TCU, who visits town Saturday to open up Mountain West Conference play.
Assistant Sports Editor Joel Hafnor can be reached at email@example.com.