A couple months ago, I had a college kicker tell me that having a short-term memory is the best mentality to have because if you miss one kick, “there is always the next kick.”
That person was Wyatt Bryan.
Colorado State’s senior kicker and all-time leading scorer proved just that on Saturday afternoon, using a game-winning 26-yard field goal to take down New Mexico, 20-18, after missing an 18-yard chip shot just minutes prior.
With the Lobos up 18-17 with 2:29 to go in the fourth quarter, CSU failed to covert on 3rd-and-goal, sending out special teams to take care of business. Bryan’s kick was low and hard but went wide left.
The mouths of a sold-out stadium dropped all at once.
"I couldn't believe I missed that. It was the worst kick I think I've ever had." Bryan said. "You just got to put them behind you. There's nothing you can do about it. You just try to move on.If you dwell on it, it'll effect the next kick."
And there was still some fight left in the Rams.
CSU’s defense forced UNM to go 3-and-out, putting the ball back into the Rams hands right before the two-minute warning. Using several big passes and an Izzy Matthews 13-yard rush, CSU used their third down to center the ball for a last-second kick.
This time, Bryan did not miss.
As time expired, the players stormed the field in celebration, an endless line of players and coaches hugging and congratulating their kicker. As for Bryan, a wave of relief and joy covered his face.
"I didn't win this game. My teammates won this game," said the humble senior. "I'm just so thankful they brought me down there to give me another opportunity to get another kick in."
"You've been around long enough, yuo see crazy things happen," said Mike Bobo in his post-game press conference. "You just have to continue to get your players in that mindset. You should never relax. Don't relax. And then when you're down, don't think you're out of it. Just keep playing."
The Rams saw both sides of Bobo's mindset in their game against the Lobos. A hot-start by both the defense and the offense gave CSU a 14-3 lead heading into halftime. A slow start to the third paved way to a UNM comeback, with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion putting the Lobos ahead 18-17 early in the fourth quarter. The Rams had several chances to respond, but penalties and failed conversions forced CSU to rely on Bryan's boot.
"I did have faith he was going to make that second one," Matthews said. "It was a rollercoaster. The last couple of weeks, our message has been that life is a rollercoaster. Today was especially one of those days but we're never going to apologize for a win."
With Saturday's win, CSU improves to 2-1 in Mountain West play and 3-4 overall. The Rams will pay a visit to divisional rival Boise State next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.