Through the first four games of the season, CSU wide receivers caught zero touchdown receptions.
On Saturday Ramsâ€™ receivers came down with three touchdowns; two of those were caught by junior Lou Greenwood.
â€œLou had a great day,â€ said wide receivers coach Dan Hammerschmidt. â€œLou had a great day (last week), he caught everything we threw to him, so I think Steve (Fairchild) saw that and started getting confidence in him.â€
Itâ€™s the first time a Ram has had two receiving touchdowns in a game since Oct. 16 of last season when tight end Eric Peitz found the end zone twice.
On top of that, two of the touchdowns to receivers were on plays of 40 yards or more. Coming into this week, CSUâ€™s longest play on offense was 34 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Pete Thomas had his first big game of the 2011 season, ending the game with 387 yards and three touchdowns through the air, to go with one rushing touchdown. It was his first 300-yard passing game of the season and the third of his career. It was also his third three-touchdown effort.
â€œThatâ€™s what weâ€™ve been working on a lot (the passing game),â€ Thomas said. â€œIt came out today, but we didnâ€™t make enough plays in the pass game and that falls on my shoulders, so I have to get better.â€
Even with the vast improvement in the passing game, CSU did not do enough to win the game. That was what stuck out most to players and coaches after the game.
â€œWe turned it over and we didnâ€™t run it as effectively as we needed to,â€ said coach Steve Fairchild.
â€œWhen you do that you run the risk of stalling offensively.â€
CSU fought hard to get back in the game. They eventually tied the score in the fourth quarter, but failed to put any points on the board and take the lead.
â€œThis team has shown that we can come back from adversity,â€ said Thomas Coffman, who scored his first collegiate touchdown in the third quarter. â€œWhen we went down 24-7, no one doubted that we would come back.
â€œWe just got a slow start and got so far behind that we couldnâ€™t really catch up.â€
Coffman made two catches after getting behind the defense. Both plays went for over 40 yards. He finished the day with 92 receiving yards.
â€œI was really excited we could get the ball moving through the air, but today it wasnâ€™t enough,â€ Coffman said. â€œWe definitely made strides in our passing game, but there was a lot we could have improved on.â€
Thomas agreed with Coffman that the hard work in the passing game is beginning to pay off.
However, the Rams offense left some plays out on the field that needed to be made.
â€œWeâ€™ve been working on it (the deep passing game), we felt like that was something we could attack on them,â€ Thomas said. â€œWe had a few more plays in the passing game to make, and I didnâ€™t do it.â€
Football Beat Reporter Travis Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be followed on twitter at @travis_treats.
CSU passing game
- Pete Thomas: 28 of 43, 387 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
- Lou Greenwood: 6 receptions, 149 yards, 2 TD
- Thomas Coffman: 2 receptions, 92 yards, 1 TD