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Colorado State comes up just short of upset, fall to Prime’s Buffaloes, 43-35

Despite a spirited effort, the Rams made a few too many mistakes (and penalties) to get their first ranked win since ‘02. They led by 11 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold on

Somehow, after all of the build-up the national media provided for this game, the Rocky Mountain Showdown may have over delivered. Coach Prime’s Buffaloes needed a miraculous fourth quarter comeback and double overtime to beat the 24 point underdog Rams. CSU pulled out all the stops, from Tory Horton throwing a beautiful touchdown pass, to multiple huge takeaways, they had a real chance to beat their first ranked opponent in 21 years. But they just couldn’t seal the deal, and left the door open for a 98 yard drive from Shedeur Sanders that will live in Rocky Mountain Showdown lore forever. Overall, while Colorado State played better than anyone expected them to, the loss still leaves a bad taste in your mouth. They could’ve won this game, heck, maybe they should’ve. Focus on the dominant play of the receivers, the promise of the freshman Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, and the spotlight that got sent the Rams’ way, if at all possible.

Scoring Timeline

1st Quarter

8:09 - 80 yard Interception return from Shilo Sanders (Feely PAT)

Colorado State 0 - Colorado 7

7:12 - 30 yard TD pass from Tory Horton to Dallin Holker (Noyes PAT)

Colorado State 7 - Colorado 7

6:16 - 45 yard fumble return from Ron Hardge III (Noyes PAT)

Colorado State 14 - Colorado 7

3:41 - 24 yard TD pass from Shedeur Sanders to Xavier Weaver (Feely PAT)

Colorado State 14 - Colorado 14

2nd Quarter

4:08 - 15 yard TD pass from Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi to Louis Brown IV (Noyes PAT)

Colorado State 21 - Colorado 14

4th Quarter

14:24 - 20 yard FG from Alejandro Mata

Colorado State 21 - Colorado 17

11:22 - 35 yard TD pass from Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi to Dallin Holker (Noyes PAT)

Colorado State 28 - Colorado 17

7:33 - 41 yard FG from Alejandro Mata

Colorado State 28 - Colorado 20

0:36 - 45 yard TD pass from Shedeur Sanders to Jimmy Horn Jr (Sanders pass to Weaver for 2PT)

Colorado State 28 - Colorado 28


3 yard TD pass from Shedeur Sanders to Michael Harrison (Mata PAT)

Colorado State 28 - Colorado 35

8 yard TD pass from Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi to Tory Horton (Noyes PAT)

Colorado State 35 - Colorado 35

2nd Overtime

18 yard TD pass from Shedeur Sanders to Michael Harrison (Sanders pass to Weaver for 2PT)

Colorado State 35 - Colorado 43

By the Numbers

17 penalties for 182 yards

No single facet of the game hurt the Rams more than their constant penalties. In a game where they had an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter, and Colorado needed every second of the game remaining to send it to OT, drives were stalled or extended almost once a drive by a dumb penalty. The most costly one may have been the final one, a targeting call on Mohamed Kamara in double OT, which will keep him out of the first half of the Middle Tennessee game. The second wasn’t until the third quarter, but it handed a stagnant Buffs offense a free 3 points.

3 players w/ 100+ REC yards

It was an enlightening day for the Rams offense. Not only did BFN play incredibly well, considering it’s his first career start, but three weapons had awesome displays on the biggest stage of their careers. Tory Horton looked like the best player on the field, grabbing 16 catches for 133 yards and an overtime TD (AND HE THREW A DIME TO DALLIN HOLKER FOR A TD). Louis Brown IV had a career day with 10 catches, 131 yards, and a score. Most notably, Dallin Holker was brilliant, besides his one fumble. He had six snags, 109 yards, and two touchdowns, including a gravity-defying catch and run that put CSU up by 11. While they didn’t secure the win, the offense played twice as good as they had at any point last season.

99.4% win probability w/ 2:06 remaining

Following a beautiful punt from Paddy Turner that pinned the Buffs at their own 2 yard line with a little over two minutes remaining. Up 8 points, the win was closer than ever for the Rams. But after a masterful drive from Shedeur Sanders tied the game, the momentum was firmly in the hands of Coach Prime. They had a chance to go for the win after matching Colorado’s TD in the first overtime, but they opted to tie it up. The defense gave up a score in 3 plays, and BFN’s last gasp heave to the end zone on fourth down was picked off to officially end the game. Questionable late game decisions and penalties snuffed out the Rams upset bid.

Eye Test

The Offense

The passing game was very good, all things considered. BFN had three interceptions, but still threw for over 360 yards and three touchdowns. He was decently efficient, and can be expected to start for the remainder of the season. The pass catchers were explosive all night. Louis Brown IV and Dallin Holker established themselves as reliable options going forward, but the real star was Tory Horton. He was arguably the best player on the field, providing a flurry of short catches where he juked at least one defender out of their shoes, and he threw a touchdown. The run game wasn’t as useful as would be hoped, but both Kobe Johnson and Avery Morrow got over 50 yards rushing. The offensive line was alright, but they allowed three sacks and had a good chunk of the Rams 17 penalties.

The Defense

The defensive line was the best group of the night. Led by a monster night from Mohamed Kamara, they sacked Shedeur Sanders four times, forced an interception, and knocked a fumble loose that got taken back for a touchdown. The secondary had its moments, mainly the blown coverage that allowed the Buffs to stroll into the end zone and tie the game, but they put forth a solid effort to keep Prime’s weapons in check. Henry Blackburn had an interception, but also knocked Travis Hunter out of the game with a reckless hit after the play was over. If they had made one less mistake, it’s possible CSU would’ve won in regulation.

The Special Teams

It wasn’t the best night for this group, but Paddy Turner’s dime of a punt with two minutes to play was clearly the highlight. Jordan Noyes missed his only field goal attempt, and hit all five extra point attempts. Tory Horton and Kobe Johnson were fine in their return duties, but didn’t make any game altering plays.

Going Forward

The Rams proved to the nation that they aren’t the same team as last year. They’re more talented, dangerous, and feisty. They’ll make mistakes throughout the rest of the season, but they will certainly make their fair share of insane highlights, as well. This team is going to be fun to watch for ten or eleven more games. On to Murfreesboro we go!

What were your takeaways from the game? Let us know in the comments down below!