Close but no cigar.
The Colorado State Rams football team gave it all they had Saturday when the Minnesota Golden Gophers came to Fort Collins, but still came up short in the end.
Backup quarterback Coleman Key led the Rams on a 55-second game-tying drive to send the game into overtime but Dalyn Dawkins drop turned into an interception and Minnesota won the game 23-20 on an 18-yard field goal.
Colorado State came out prepared for their big-time matchup against Minnesota, despite Nick Stevens’ interception on the first play of the game. CSU’s defense held Minnesota without a first down for their first six drives of the day and the Rams’ offense got it going when Dalyn Dawkins took a run outside to the right for a 17-yard touchdown and the 7-0 lead. The Golden Gophers fought back, scoring two field goals on long drives to end the first half down 7-6 to CSU.
The second half turned quickly on Colorado State. Minnesota scored a touchdown in three plays and took the 13-7 lead. On the ensuing drive, Stevens was picked off again on a deep ball.
Then Stevens was pulled from the game, surprisingly, which rejuvenated the Rams. CSU kicked a field goal before Key stepped up the next drive and drilled a pass to Joe Hansley which went 49 yards for the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota marched late to take the lead back at 20-17 and the game seemed over until Key hit Steven Walker which set up the game-tying 37-yard field goal by Wyatt Bryan.
But the Golden Gophers won on the leg of Ryan Sontoso, ending CSU’s perfect 1-0 start to the season.
STAR OF THE GAME
Dalyn Dawkins played out of his mind Saturday, showcasing those speedy feet to gain 92 net rushing yards and the team’s first touchdown of the day. Dawkins 31-yard rush was the longest of the game; he was shifty through the line, juked a guy and then turned on the jets before he was taken down.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Coleman Key to Joe Hansley: The 49-yard touchdown was an absolute bullet from Key to the senior receiver, hitting Hansley in the chest and then the wideout took off to the end zone. That play gave CSU the 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter and looked to put them up for good with the defense dominating for most of the contest.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
When Dawkins dropped the screen pass and it turned into an interception on the Rams first play of overtime, it sealed the deal. Colorado State could only hope to keep the Golden Gophers out of the end zone on their overtime drive, which they did, but Minnesota made the close kick with ease.
BY THE NUMBERS
Four turnovers were far too many for Colorado State, and as Mike Bobo said after the game, he told the team they couldn’t lose the turnover battle to Minnesota and win. He was right.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“I said Monday, when we have a chance, we have to make a play,” Bobo said after the game. “We made none of them.”
Bobo wasn’t all doom and gloom following the loss, but this quote sums up how he feels about the game well.
Bobo said he didn’t want to start a quarterback controversy, but Key certainly made a case for himself to be the team’s starter.
“We’re out here trying to win,” Key said after the game. “It’s not about me and him (Nick Stevens), it’s about the team. We’re just trying to win. He’s trying to help me and when I’m on the sidelines I’m trying to help him.”
Next Saturday is the Rocky Mountain Showdown, in Denver, versus the 1-1 Colorado Buffaloes. Annually, it’s a massive matchup pitting intrastate rivals against one another.
While Colorado State lost a heartbreaker today, the Buffs won their first game, a 48-14 blowout of U Mass.