It was vintage. Running game going strong. Key pass plays. Jumping on opponents mistakes. It's a formula that has served the Colorado State Rams well over the past 10 years, and they went back to it with great success in the big win over Wyoming. That's what we've been looking for all season.
Sure, it was Wyoming and not Southern Cal, but still, the Cowboys are no longer slouches, and they still have a better shot at a Bowl game invite than the Rams do. Beating a good team that handily should count for something good.
How did it happen, and why now?
Why are the Red Sox winning now that Nomar is gone? Is he not a great player?
The loss of Justin Holland, on paper, is devastating. On paper, Holland looks like one of the best CSU has ever produced at the position. On paper, he looks like an All-America.
Games are not played on paper.
As talented as Justin Holland is, he will always be very one-dimensional. That's fine if he's playing for the aforementioned USC, but at CSU, the QB needs to do more than just pass for 300 yards a game. He has to participate in the running game, too. On their first series against the Cowboys, already trailing 7-0 and facing a third and six in their own territory, the Rams called an option run. Freshman QB Caleb Hanie was stopped short, and the Rams punted...but a message had been sent. This QB, at 230 pounds, is going to run some, too. The New BVP?
Sonny Lubick knows the game is about much more than fancy passing stats. Solid defense, which the Rams displayed - FINALLY - after Wyo's first drive, and a power running game are the keys to long-term success. Fancy passing stats are for losers...or the Pac 10, whichever you prefer.
And don't undervalue the poise the Rams showed after Wyoming's first 'knife through butter" scoring drive. Cowboy coach Joe Glenn got his team ready to fire out of the gate - less than two hours after he did the same thing to a group of Wyo supporters at a pep rally at a Ft. Collins steakhouse - and the Pokes looked like they were on their way early. A couple of pass plays, a long run, and a scoring run by QB Cory Bramlet had Wyo up 7-0 and looking dominant.
CSU didn't panic, didn't wilt. Stayed with the game plan, and overcame the visitors.