Jasen Oden had “it” Saturday.
With starting running back Dalyn Dawkins a scratch just before game time, Oden knew this was his game, his opportunity to shine. The senior running back made the most his chance.
When Colorado State and the University of Texas San Antonio faced off on Saturday night, the battle on the gridiron mimicked a heavyweight fight. Every time one team threw a punch, the other countered – first UTSA’s Blake Bogenschutz ran-off a 42-yard gain, Nick Stevens countered with a pump-fake 34-yard touchdown to Xavier Williams – and so it went, for 60 full minutes.
When it was all said and done, with each warrior wobbling a bit in their own corner, Colorado State escaped the Alamo with the 33-31 victory. It was a must-win game for the Rams, following back-to-back overtime losses in games they should have won.
And CSU was carried to the win Saturday night by Jasen Oden.
Oden, who’s been used sparingly as a running back since switching over from defensive back in 2013, enjoyed a career game with 30 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t only his most productive game of his college career, 2015 and his 330 yards now represent his top year, too.
The superb play started early for Oden and his highlights came often. In the first quarter, he cut, weaved and then trucked a UTSA defender for a key first down on 3rd and 8, just one play before the Rams first touchdown of the night from Stevens to Williams.
All night long in San Antonio, there was Oden running for the tough, much-needed chunks of yards and important first downs. The senior leader of the backfield brought the consistency Colorado State’s offense lacked in their two losses to Minnesota and Colorado.
In the second quarter, he caught a screen pass and turned it into a 12-yard gain, showing his versatility along the way.
But the biggest play of his day – and the most important for the Rams in terms of time and situation – was Oden’s 28-yard run on 3rd and 3 which helped run the clock on the Roadrunners. CSU was barely clinging on to their two-point lead with just under three minutes to play; the first down was crucial, Oden was clutch.
Six plays later, Oden fittingly received the final carry of the night, a mere one-yarder which ran the clock to triple zeros.
Saturday night was a pivotal game for Mike Bobo, in his first year as CSU’s head coach, as well as his Rams. And no one stepped up bigger than Oden, who’s yet to have an opportunity like tonight.
Following the loss to CU in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, Oden called it, “Probably the toughest one I took since I’ve been here.”
After the win over UTSA Saturday night, he was in a bit of a better mood, acknowledging the stalwart fight it took to take the game.
“I knew they were going to give us everything they’ve got, with them being 0-3,” Oden said. “They were fighting for a win just like we were. When we went up 30-17 I knew they were going to come back strong, they weren’t going to lay down. That was kind of the bump we had to get over as a team. We lost some close games and now we’re going into conference.”
With the win, CSU improved to 2-2 on the 2015 season and gain momentum heading into Mountain West play next week. They take on 1-2 Utah State, who lost to the Washington Huskies last week and were on their bye this week.
Forget the heartbreaking losses to Minnesota and Colorado, everyone on the Rams knows they were incredibly close to winning each game and now they feel the thrill of victory once again.
“It was a great night for our team,” Bobo said. “First of all, we won the ballgame. And the second thing is that we were able to win it with some adversity and to finish the game. I told the guys in there I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way than to have to win the game the way we did, to have to conquer some demons.”
Consider the demons conquered, the Rams are now ready for conference play.
— CSU Rams Football (@CSUFootball) September 27, 2015