The CSU football team escaped its first game of the season with a 14-10 win after a last minute defensive stop.
After a fourth down gamble that didnâ€™t pay off for CSU (1-0, 1-0 MW), New Mexico got the ball at the Rams 45-yard line down four points with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
The Rams had a fourth and short at their own 45. Instead of punting and forcing the Lobos to go the length of the field, CSU went for it. Running back Chris Nwoke was stopped short, however, giving New Mexico prime field position.
After moving to the CSU 5-yard line, the Lobos were forced back to the fifteen after a holding call.
With fifteen seconds left, quarterback Tarean Austin dropped back to pass. As he prepared to throw, Austinâ€™s throwing hand was hit by defensive end Nordly Capi, forcing a fumble.
Capi then jumped on the loose ball and CSU sealed the win with a Pete Thomas kneel down.
It was a fitting end to the game, with Capi finishing an extraordinary day. The sophomore ended the day with four forced fumbles.
To put that into context, teammate Mychal Sisson led the nation a season ago with seven forced fumbles for the entire year.
The defensive stop gave the Rams a win after a slow start to the game.
After a sloppy first quarter, New Mexico found the board first late in the second quarter. A 33-yard field goal by James Aho gave the Lobos a 3-0 lead.
The lead was short lived. CSU quickly countered with a five play, 69 yard drive that ended when Thomas threw a jump ball in the end zone that tight end Crockett Gillmore grabbed over the defensive back for a 33-yard touchdown with 1:32 remaining in the half.
But the CSU defense was unable to hold the lead before halftime.
Following a touchback on the kickoff, New Mexico marched down the field and Tarean Austin connected Lamaar Thomas on a 27-yard crossing route for a touchdown.
After a scoreless third quarter, CSU made its move in the fourth.
A defensive stop, followed by a short punt gave the Rams the ball at the New Mexico 40-yard line.
A methodical drive led CSU to the New Mexico goal-line, where Chris Nwoke pounded in a two-yard run to give the Rams a 14-10 lead that they would not relinquish.
The CSU defensive line was key as the Rams finished with 10 sacks and forced five fumbles.
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.