This game looks to be Colorado State's to lose. The Rams are ranked nationally and field the 10th best offense in the country with 241.9 rushing yards per game. That's ominous news for the Cougars who head into the game ranked 95th in rushing defense nationally. Both teams know there is much more riding on the game than revenge or pride. Both are contending for the MWC first place spot.
It's #1 versus #2. BYU sits atop the MWC with an unblemished 3-0 record and CSU is right behind with a 2-0 conference record. Colorado State takes the field on an cool Saturday night in Provo. Everyone is ready, but not before the ESPN game broadcast crew share some thoughts about the game.
"Colorado State needs to look no further than their quarterback. He has great decision making ability and he alone can lead this team to a victory," says analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
Lee Corso adds: "BYU is gonna get manhandled in this one. This (CSU) offensive line will be opening up huge holes for those running backs, I wonder how much yards they will rack up in this one. This thing could get ugly my friends."
BYU wins the toss and elects to kick off. Matt Payne's kick is returned to the CSU 17 where quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt and his offense take the field. The first play from scrimmage is shut down immediately by the Cougar defense for a two yard gain. The second play saw the Cougar defense blitz almost the entire house, not only was the sunshine in Provo going down, the "sunshine" of CSU went down also when Van Pelt hits the turf for a 5 yard loss credited to linebacker Mike Tanner. BYU blitzes again forcing Van Pelt to throw a wobbly pass as he was hit which land directly in the outstretched hands of Cougarback Aaron Francisco who returns it to the CSU 17.
After a three yard run up the middle by Fahu Tahi and a one yard halfback tackle play with Marcus Whalen, BYU catches the Rams off guard when they throw into the end zone to a wide open Chris Hale who drops it. The short field goal attempt by Payne is not successful due to a fierce 26 mph wind forcing the ball wide right and the Cougars come away empty handed.
Colorado State slowly moves its way up the field before breaking a huge play on 3rd down with Van Pelt connecting to a wide receiver from the CSU 32 yard line to the BYU 16 yard line for 52 yards. The Rams move forward to a 1st and goal from the five-yard line. The Cougar defense holds the top 10 rush offense to 4th and goal from the two-yard line. Linebacker Paul Walkenhorst stops the CSU running back at the 1 yard line. BYU ball.
After three dropped passes, the struggling BYU offense is forced to punt from their own one-yard line out of the end zone, giving the Rams favorable field position at BYU 45. But the Rams fumble the ball and BYU recovers.
On the very next play, Matt Berry connects with receiver Bristol Olomua for 28 yards to the CSU 29. The Cougars use an option on 3rd and 7 to the CSU 15 with Whalen diving for the extra yardage, but still came up a little short. On 4th and 2, the cougars 4th down conversion is good with a five-yard run by Tahi. But the Cougars are set back again when Berry is picked off in the end zone by the Rams free safety who returns it for a 103 yard touchdown.
On the next series, BYU drives downfield quickly and caps it off with a 27=yard pass from Berry to tight end Daniel Coates. The remainder of the quarter results in a back and forth defensive struggle.
1st Quarter - BYU 7 Colorado State 7
At the beginning of the 2nd quarter, CSU scores on a QB scramble for 24 yards. Running back Thomas Stancil's returned punt is to the CSU 15 following a face mask call and a five yard penalty, which gives BYU excellent field position at the CSU 12. After another dropped pass in the end zone, Payne adds another field goal.
After a few exchanged punts, turnovers and missed field goals, BYU heads into the locker room with a slight lead.
Halftime - BYU 10 Colorado State 14
On the opening play of the 1st half, Stancil's kick off is returned for a touchdown and Payne's PAT is no good. Later, Berry connects on a pass over the top to a completely wide open Rod Wilkerson for a 67-yard touchdown strike. A two-point conversion attempt fails.
BYU adds another field goal as the 3rd quarter comes to a close.
3rd Quarter - BYU 23 CSU 14
BYU dominated both sides of the ball for most of the game and established an adequate running game.
After the game, ESPN's Lee Corso says, "Outstanding job; (BYU was) very well prepared, great execution, ignored all the media, got the job done."
Final Score - BYU 37 - Colorado State 14
Stats: BYU ~ CSU 1st Downs 19 12 Total Off. 468 292 Rushes - Yds. 45 - 148 29 - -2 Comp-Att-TD 15 - 29 - 3 19 36 - 0 Pass Yds. 320 290 Sacked 6 1 Turnovers 2 2 T.O.P 30:15 29:45
Matt Berry - 15 - 29 320 Yds 3 TD 2 Int 51% 11.0 avg 0 Sack 67 Long (7 dropped balls)
Marcus Whalen - 25 - 129 5.1 avg 26 long 42 after 1st hit 6 broken tackles
Bristol Olomua - 4 rec 110 yds
Wilkerson - 4 rec 150 yds
O Line - 5 pancakes
Manaia Brown - 4 Tackles for Loss 2 sacks Colby Bockwoldt - 2 sacks 3 tackles for loss Ifo Pili and Lee Tanner - 1 sack each Aaron Francisco - 2 ints
Stancil - 2 KR 118 yds, 59.0 avg, 91 long, 1 TD
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