Defense and Heart Show Up Big for Colorado State


Oct 18, 2014; Fort Collins, CO, USA; Colorado State Rams fans rush the field after place kicker Jared Roberts (47) (not pictured) kicks the game winning field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter against the Utah State Aggies at Hughes Stadium. The Rams defeated the Aggies 16-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado State Rams took another step on their climb towards a Mountain West Title with a thrilling 16-13 win over the Utah State Aggies. The Aggies are the defending champion in the mountain division and if the Rams wanted what they have, then they had to win this game.

On a night when the usually prolific offense was shut down by a pass rush that sacked Garrett Grayson eight times, the Rams hung in there and found a way to win.

Grayson and star receiver Rashad Higgins got off to a great start when on the first play of the game, Higgins caught an 11 yard hook and turned it into a 69 yard catch and run. Three plays later, the Rams were up 7-0 on a Dee Hart touchdown run. It looked like it was going to be another big night for the Rams offense.

The Aggies tied it a 7 shortly after and from there it was a game dominated by defense and penalties. The Rams continually shot themselves in the foot with penalties and struggled to run the ball.

Trailing 13-10 with about seven minutes to go, the Rams made enough plays to get into field goal range and Jared Roberts hit from 46 to tie the game with under two minutes to go. The Rams defense held the Aggies and got the ball back to Grayson with 58 seconds to go.

It looked like the Rams were content to go to overtime until Hart ripped off a 15 yard run to improve the field position. From there it was the Grayson to Higgins show again, hooking up for a 46 yard gain to put the Rams in field goal range. Following one more penalty that backed the Rams up five yards, Roberts drilled the game winner right down the middle.

The Rams had their biggest home win in years in front of a sellout, homecoming crowd.

It wasn’t as pretty as some of the other games during this five game winning streak but it was the biggest. The Rams won on a night where things did not go their way, the won with an offensive line that couldn’t block me and they won with a superior defensive effort.

We all know that the Rams offense will be back putting up yards and points, but now they have a defense that can step up and carry them to victory. This was a game that was won with guts and heart, two things that championship teams display when the chips are down.

Good teams win when they play well and don’t make mistakes. Great teams win when they don’t play well and make mistakes. The Rams are no longer a good team, they are a great team playing with confidence. That’s a scary combination going forward.

The Rams will be favored in their last five games and while that does not guarantee anything, it does set them up for a special season. People in Colorado have been waiting for great college football to return to the state and it has, in Fort Collins.