FORT COLLINS - Arion Worthman rushed for 117 yards, Taven Birdow punched in two scores and double-digit underdog Air Force handed Colorado State a 45-28 loss on Saturday.
It was the Rams first conference loss and their first loss at their new stadium.
“We got our --- kicked,” Bobo bluntly stated in his post-game press conference. “And if we’re who we say we are, coaches and players, you respond. And it should hurt. We ought to be embarrassed and I’m embarrassed.”
Rams players echoed their coaches’ feelings.
“Everybody is obviously down,” senior wide out Michael Gallup added. “We won four games in the Mountain West then we come out here and stunk an egg.“
There are no secrets when it comes to facing Air Force Academy’s triple option but it didn’t make it any easier for Colorado State to contain. The Rams gave up a season-high 413 yards on the ground.
“I feel more frustrated than anything. This is not the kind of football we want to play as a team, as a defense,” said senior linebacker Evan Colorito, still stunned from his teams’ disappointing performance. “So moving forward I think we need to make some adjustments. I don’t know what that is yet but something that will make us play the best football we can play.”
The Falcons put up the first points of the day, but the Rams wouldn’t let them too far out of their sight. The Rams responded the following drive with a Dalyn Dawkins 63-yard rushing touchdown. A trick play on the second drive would set up a 55-yard touchdown pass to Michael Gallup to lift CSU to a 14-7 lead at the end of the first.
While their offense came out swinging, the Rams defense would have just a few highlight worthy plays. Anthony Hawkins picked off Worthman in the first quarter, but other than that, the Rams couldn’t do much to slow down Air Force’s run-heavy offense.
A Tavon Birdow 4-yard rush and a 53-yard blast from Jacob Stafford would make it 21-21 with 7 minutes left in the first half.
As the Rams defense struggled to slow down the Falcon’s high-powered attack, the Rams offense would hit their own road bumps.
On the first play of the Rams fourth drive, Shaq Vereen reeled in a bad pass from quarterback Nick Stevens, turning the catch into a 30-yard pick 6. It was the first pick 6 of his career and the first of the season for Air Force.
CSU had an opportunity to tie things up at 28 before the end of the first half after Dawkins ran in his second score of the day, but a holding penalty on offensive lineman Jeff Taylor would erase the game-tying score. The following play, Stevens would toss his second interception of the day.
Stevens would wrap up with rough afternoon going 17-of-31 for 269 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The Rams opened the second half with a 9-play, 63-yard drive, capped off by an Izzy Matthews 9-yard score.
With the ball back in the hands of Air Force, the Rams finally put together a quality stop, forcing the Falcons to settle for a 20-yard chip shot.
After the Ram stalled out on their following drive, the Falcons did something out of the ordinary- they took to the air. For just the third time in the contest, Arion Worthman hit tight end Ryan Reffitt for a 56-yard passing touchdown, giving Air Force a 10-point advantage that would only grow larger as the fourth quarter came to a close.
Air Force came into Saturday’s contest with a 33-21-1 series lead against Colorado State.
Before Saturday’s game, the home team has won the last five matchups.
The Ram-Falcon trophy, which has been presented annually to the game’s winner since 1980, can be traced back to former CSU ROTC commander Shelly Godkin.
Before kickoff, the Rams honored Savannah McNealy, the 22-year-old CSU student killed in a shooting last week. Instead of a moment of silence, the McNealy family asked for fans to cheer in her memory.
Air Force (4-4, 3-2 MW) hosts military-rival Army on November 4 for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. The Falcons have won four straight matchups against the Black Knights.
CSU (6-3, 4-1 MW) heads to Wyoming next week for a 5 p.m. kickoff.
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