CU and CSU have always had a heated rivalry, and this year’s match-up in Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High proved just why these two universities have come to hate each other and love the rivalry.
Both groups of fans were calling each other out during the tailgate festivities from “It sucks to be a CSU Ram,” to “I’d rather my sister live in a brothel house than my brother go to CU!” But when it came down to it, the school that would have the final say on bragging rights, for the first time since 2009, was the CSU Rams. They defeated the CU Buffs, winning the Centennial Cup with a final score of 22-17.
Sophomore running back Tony Jones stiff-arms a Colorado State defender during the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Saturday. CU lost 22 to 17. (CU Independent/Kai Casey)
At 94 degrees, Saturday’s game-time temperature was the third hottest in CU’s history. The game itself was quite heated and instantly became a classic matchup that both universities will remember for a long time.
Both teams started off the game slow, making field possession a top priority. But the game started to open up in the second quarter. With 12 minutes remaining, CU’s first touchdown came when junior transfer quarterback Jordan Webb found redshirt freshman receiver Nelson Spruce from 15 yards out.
With 33 seconds left in the first half, CSU punted the ball which was then muffed by the Buffs and recovered by the Rams. The very next play CSU sophomore quarterback Garrett Grayson pump faked drawing the CU secondary in, leaving the end zone wide open for senior receiver Dominique Vinson. The Buffs then blocked the extra point attempt following the touchdown making the score 14-9 in the Buffs favor going into halftime. With the game half over, both teams looked even with the Buffs going for 169 yards on 40 plays while the Rams went 127 yards from 31 plays; but the momentum turned, and stayed with CSU in the second half.
“We got out of whack,” said CU Head Coach Jon Embree in the post-game press conference. “We had some drops and a couple fumbles [in the second half]. We never really quite were on sync with those guys, the receivers and quarterback.”
Even though there were a lot of miscues by the Buffs, they weren’t as alarming as the rushing numbers the team put up. On 29 rushes throughout the game, CU only had 58 yards, clearly showing that there needs to be an emphasis on establishing a running game.
“That [running game] is a bothersome issue because you have to be able to run it,” Embree said. “So we need to look at what we’re doing and get it figured out.”
Although CU couldn’t run the ball at all against CSU, the Buffs’ new quarterback Jordan Webb, and his arm, kept them in the game. He finished the game completing 22 out of 41 passes for 187 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and was constantly being pressured by CSU, who sacked him 5 times.
“There was more pressure [in the second half] so I was more rushed, but I wasn’t uncomfortable,” Webb said in the press conference. “We wanted to be physical, I think we were physical at times, but we’re going to keep improving there.”
In the second half the pace changed going from a stagnant defensive struggle to an action packed offensive onslaught with huge dramatic shifts, either from a lead change or lead changes being called back from official reviews.
With roughly 4 minutes left in the third quarter, CU sophomore tailback Malcolm Creer reached out for the goal line and allegedly fumbled, which was then returned by CSU’s Austin Gray who ran it the entire length of the field for a touchdown. It was a crucial moment in the game as it would have put CSU up 22-14, but the replay showed that Creer slammed the ball on to the ground, which by rule is not a fumble. The call was reversed, but when the Buffs went for a touchdown on the next 4th down play the Rams held them, keeping the game close going into the fourth quarter.
“That really hurt,” Webb said. “We have to be able to convert there and a lot of it goes on me, they put the ball in my hands and I didn’t make a play, so it definitely hurt.”
It all came down to 4th and 2 play with 52 seconds remaining on CSU’s 39 yard line that the Buffs needed to convert, but Webb’s screen pass was stopped, short sealing CSU’s victory.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our guys,” said CSU Head Coach Jim McElwain. “My hat’s off to the guys we played, they played their tails off and that’s what a rivalry should be. Those who weren’t here today missed a heck of a ball game.” (
I guess it doesn’t suck too bad to be a CSU Ram anymore.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Joe Wirth at Joseph.email@example.com.
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