They are officially a college football powerhouse. Why? Because they can throw a interception that's returned for a score, fumble at their opponents goal line, miss two field goal attempts, have another fumble returned to their own one yard line, have a Heisman Trophy candidate QB throw passes that take crazy ricochets off their hands and go for a touchdown…and have most of this lead to three touchdowns in less than two minutes for the other team (a team that's been ranked in the top 25)…
…and still win.
Think about it: Could you imagine the day when CSU could commit all these blunders in one game and still win? CSU teams almost always win the turnover battle – and when they don't, they lose. Not this week. In their 36-33 win over Louisville on Saturday, which moved them to 3-1 on the season, CSU committed four turnovers to Louisville's two. A late game Cardinals scoring spurt led by Heisman Trophy candidate Dave Ragone saw the visitors score 19 points in 1:41. The Rams did everything they could to give the game away – except they couldn't do it. They're too good.
While these mistakes could have cost them the game, this was also a game that the Rams could have and should have won easily. That's the point. They're a much better team than the Cardinals – who were ranked in the top 25 before the season. So much better that they can stumble and bumble and still win against a quality opponent.
CSU dominated the stats, outgaining the visitors by more than 100 yards (even though they shut it down in the fourth quarter) and holding Louisville to 72 yards rushing. Sapp – who fumbled for the first time in 129 carries – ran over and around the Cardinals for 130 yards and three touchdowns. For the first time this season, back-ups chipped in too – CSU gained better than 200 yards on the ground.
They also did a good deal of damage with their back-up quarterback in the game (does this ring a bell from last week?) Lost in the wild finish was the terrific season debut of Justin Holland, who led the Rams on a pair of scoring drives in his limited action. Healthy now after an elbow injury limited him early in the season, Holland was nothing short of outstanding, and now gives Sonny Lubick a dangerous weapon off the bench.
For some inexplicable reason, CSU dropped out of the (AP) writer's poll after the win, but moved back into the coaches poll at #25. It's all ridiculously subjective and unfair, considering that this team has traveled to both coasts, beaten an ACC contender and the defending Big 12 and Conference USA champs, while playing just one of the first four games at home. No matter. When the dust settles, Colorado State will be a fixture in everyone's rankings.
That's because the Rams have arrived. Just in time to take on a Nevada team in a couple of weeks that just finished knocking off BYU. When you've arrived, nothing comes easy.