Written by Paul Fritz
Fort Collins, CO – The Colorado State Rams squeezed out the victory against the University of New Mexico on a game-winning field goal by kicker Wyatt Bryan with no time on the clock. The Rams won their homecoming game by a final score of 20-18 in front of a sold out crowd at Canvas Stadium, making it two in a row and improving their record to 3-4 on the season.
On just the 2nd play of the game, Rams defensive tackle Caleb Smith forced a fumble which they recovered in great field position. A 12-yard connection between K.J. Carta-Samuels and Preston Williams would put them ahead 7-0.
On a subsequent drive, New Mexico had their first scoring chance denied when they went for a 4th down conversion from within the 5-yard line. Carta-Samuels would then march his offense down the field and cap off the drive with a false hand-off that tricked the entire New Mexico defense, allowing him to walk it in for the touchdown.
Carta-Samuels had a productive day with 24 completions on 42 attempts, throwing for 311 yards and 1 touchdown.
Overall, the Rams defense did well to neutralize New Mexico’s quarterback Sheriron Jones who is a dual-threat player and speedy runner. Jones finished with 12 completions on 20 attempts while throwing for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On his team’s defensive performance, head coach Mike Bobo said, “So proud of our defense today. They played extremely hard, played extremely well. We gave up a couple plays but we bode our neck in the red-zone and got some stops which was good to see.”
New Mexico made a solid effort in the 2nd half, slowly crawling there way back into the game. After a stellar catch by Delane Hart-Johnson in the end zone and in double coverage, they actually took the lead, 18-17, with 13 minutes remaining in the game.
The Rams had an opportunity to win the game in the final two minutes as kicker Wyatt Bryan lined up for an 18-yard field goal. But to the shock of the sold-out crowd in Fort Collins, Bryan missed it by inches wide-left. All of a sudden New Mexico had the ball on their 20-yard line and the chance to close out the game.
The defense stepped up once again, however, and quickly forced the Lobos to punt the ball giving the Rams one more chance. Carta-Samuels connected deep with Preston Williams down the field and the Rams strategically positioned themselves to make another field goal attempt. Having just missed a crucial field goal, Bryan was given second life to redeem himself. From 26-yards out, he drilled it right down the middle and the Rams took the lead 20-18 with no time remaining.
On his mindset heading into the final field goal, Bryan said, “Luckily I have the greatest teammates in the world. I was telling them I didn’t win the game, my teammates won this game. I was just so thankful that they got me down there to give me another opportunity to get another kick.”
There’s a positive energy surrounding this Rams team following back to back wins and they will hope to continue their momentum when they head to Boise State next Friday to take on the Broncos. The Lobos will head back home where they host the Fresno State Bulldogs on Saturday.