This wasnâ€™t how it was supposed to go for the CSU football team.
Senior day against Brigham Young: a long-standing rival, for the final time. A Cougar team that lost four of its first five games and is only a shadow of the dominant team from previous years.
And yet, in the words of coach Steve Fairchild, the Rams got out-played, out-coached and out-classed in a 49-10 defeat that wasnâ€™t as close as the score indicates.
After the game, CSUâ€™s players and coaches were at a loss to explain what had just happened to their team.
â€œI did not see this coming,â€ Fairchild said. â€œGive credit to BYU and Bronco Mendenhall and his staff, because they certainly played a terrific game and we did not.â€
BYU was supposed to have a young offense that was still trying to find its way behind a true freshman quarterback. The Cougars seemed to be in transition and not sporting the future NFL stars often found on BYU sidelines.
But the CSU defense was dismantled single-handedly by unheralded receiver Luke Ashworth and quarterback Jake Heaps.
The two connected on four passes in the first half, all of which went for touchdowns. Ashworth ended the half, and the game, with four catches for 113 yards and four scores.
Coming into Saturdayâ€™s game, Ashworth hadnâ€™t shown signs of becoming the next Austin Collie. He entered Hughes Stadium with 193 yards and two touchdowns on the season; he left with history.
The four first half touchdowns set a BYU record for most touchdowns in a half by one player and tied the BYU record for most touchdown receptions in a game.
The game was over by halftime with BYU leading 35-0 and the Rams were left trying to explain what happened, something that nobody was able to do properly.
â€œI have no idea,â€ said senior fullback Zac Pauga when asked how the game got out of hand so fast. â€œWhen we were sitting on the sideline. It seemed like we couldnâ€™t get a break, things werenâ€™t going our way. I really have no idea.â€
CSU felt it had a great shot at winning against a team that came into the day still two wins shy of bowl eligibility. The Cougars entered Saturday winless in four road games, scoring just over 10 points a game while giving up almost 33 in those matches away from Provo, Utah.
But the Rams seemed to lose the game within minutes of the conclusion of senior day festivities.
â€œIt happened so fast. We just didnâ€™t show up in the first quarter. We beat ourselves,â€ senior Ricky Brewer said quietly while trying to explain what had happened in his final home game. â€œObviously they are a great team, Iâ€™m not taking anything away from them. Penalties and turnovers, those are a recipe for disaster, and thatâ€™s what we served up today.â€
â€œThis is the most embarrassed Iâ€™ve been after a football game,â€ said quarterback Pete Thomas.
He could have been speaking for the entire team.
Sports reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.