The Rams remember last years brutal Rocky Mountain showdown. They also remember Colorado's superstar running back Phillip Lindsay leading his team to that embarrassing 44-7 blowout victory.
Unfortunately for Colorado State, there wasn't much improvement from last years blowout. And Lindsay? Yeah, he still dominated.
In the 89th edition of the RMS, Colorado (1-0) put up 17 straight points in the first 17 minutes on their way to a 17-3 victory over Colorado State (1-1).
It certainly wasn't without some controversy, as CSU had several big plays--including two touchdowns--called back due to offensive penalties. In all, the Rams had 10 penalties for 120 yards, to CU's seven for just 59 yards.
Lindsay finished the night with 19 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown. It took him only seven carries to break 100 yards. Steven Montez, the Buffs new starting quarterback, was 21-of-29 for 202 yards and a score.
Earlier this week, Montez said that CSU's defense had several "weaknesses." He proved just that.
The Rams were led offensively by quarterback Nick Stevens, who was 24-of-47 for 309 yards. But, the turnovers made it a tough night. The redshirt senior had two costly picks.
CSU was reintroduced to Lindsay early in the first quarter. On 1st and 10 from CU's own 45, the Rams stacked the box with five guys but Lindsay worked his way to the outside before charging up the middle for a 45-yard score. The two safeties in the back couldn't even get a hand on the speedy back.
The Buffs tacked on a 39-yard field goal before the end of the first quarter.
Four plays into the second, Colorado found the end zone again. This time, Montez went through the air to wideout Shay Fields. The redshirt sophomore flashed some speed to beat his coverage and reel in the perfect catch off the perfect throw.
The following drive, CSU would be gifted a great opportunity thanks to a defensive penalty. Their first trip to the red zone wouldn't end with a touchdown though. Stevens would go high and wide on two separate throws to Cameron Butler and Dalton Fackrell. Forced to bring out kicker Wyatt Bryan, the junior drilled the 31 yard field goal to get CSU on the board.
Colorado State would have another golden opportunity in the second quarter after an insane interception from Kevin Nutt, Jr. On second and eight, the senior cornerback went in for the tackle of a falling Devin Ross and instead stripped him off the ball mid-somersault. One of two INTs for Nutt on Friday night, this one was both impressive and much appreciated. Stevens needed some help moving up the field and this pick cut the field in half.
But the struggles continued for Stevens. Stuck 39 yards out thanks to an offensive penalty, the Rams would turn the ball over on downs.
The final drive of the first half ended with back-to-back sacks on Stevens (Jacob Callier and Rick Gamboa) as CU headed to the locker rooms with a comfortable 17-3 lead.
Things looked like they were taking a turn for the better for the Rams in the beginning of the third quarter.
Five plays into their first drive of the half, Stevens found Detrich Clark for the 27 yard touchdown.
That came back due to a pass interference call on CSU.
Two plays later, Stevens found a wide open Olabaisi Johnson for the 40 yard touchdown.
This time, the cannon fired. Rams fans cheered.
But all of this excitement would be silenced with another flag on the play. A personal foul by lineman Jeff Taylor wiped State's momentum away.
To make matters worse, just a play later, CU free safety Evan Worthington came away with a pick, putting the ball back in Montez's hands.
Any chance of a comeback for CSU was erased in the 4th. Stalled drives, two picks and a fumble sealed the third straight Rocky Mountain Showdown victory for CU.
CSU hosts Abilene Christian Saturday, Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m (MT).
CU hosts Texas State Saturday, Sept. 9 at noon (MT).