FORT COLLINS — A new era of Colorado State football started with a bang on Saturday.
In the debut of its on-campus stadium, the Rams defeated Oregon State, 58-27, in front of the third largest crowd in program history: 37,583.
CSU led 24-20 at the half then pulled away with a dominating second half showing on both sides of the ball.
After both teams sputtered to start with consecutive three-and-outs, OSU struck first when quarterback Jake Luton connected with Isaiah Hodgins on a wide-open 39-yard touchdown reception. CSU responded with a 79-yard scoring drive, capped with an Izzy Mathews goal line touchdown rush. After OSU knocked in a 40-yard field goal, the Rams took their first lead early in the second quarter with an 18-yard catch-and-run by tailback Dalyn Dawkins from quarterback Nick Stevens — CSU 14, OSU 10.
The momentum was short lived. On the first play of OSU’s next drive, tailback Ryan Nall ran 75 yards down the west sideline for a touchdown. But the Rams bounced back with a Wyatt Bryan chip-shot field goal and a three-yard Dawkins rushing score and to enter halftime with a 24-20 lead.
After less-than-stellar CSU defensive performance before the break — allowing 6.7 yards per play, including four plays of 20-or-more yards — its unit paved the way to victory in the second half.
Facing third-and-10 from its own 38-yard line, a Luton pass was tipped into the air and secured by CSU linebacker Tre Thomas, who ran it back 44 yards for a touchdown. Luton threw another pick one drive later, this time on a deep ball into the end zone which was intercepted by CSU cornerback Anthony Hawkins. The Rams got their third turnover midway through the fourth quarter when safety Jordan Fogal forced a fumble which was recovered by defensive tackle Richard King.
The Rams held OSU scoreless for the first 18 minutes of the second half, a streak broken only when Luton hit tight end Noah Togiai for a 25-yard touchdown. It wasn’t nearly enough, though, as CSU added a pair of Bryan field goals, a 20-yard touchdown reception from tight end Detrich Clark, a 15-yard catch-and-score from tight end Cameron Butler, and a Michael Kinsey 4-yard touchdown run.
CSU now turns its attention to the Rocky Mountain Showdown as the Rams are set to play Colorado at 6 p.m. Friday at Mile High Stadium in Denver.