Colorado State nearly shocks No. 14 Utah State on Senior Day

Colorado State football (3-8, 2-5) hung with No. 14 Utah State (10-1, 7-1) from start to finish, and nearly found a way to shock the Aggies on a snowy Saturday afternoon in Fort Collins. With time expiring, Preston Williams appeared to haul in a game-winning touchdown reception, but an illegal touching call negated the score and secured a 29-24 victory for USU.

“I thought we looked like a football team today: really for the first time all year,” Mike Bobo told reporters postgame.

The emotional turn of events occured 1 minute after Utah State had regained the lead with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Love to Aaron Vaughns.

In the narrow loss to the division-leading Aggies, CSU had its best defensive performance so far this season. The Aggies came into Fort Collins averaging 49 points per game, and had scored at least 50 points in each of the previous three weeks, but only managed to record 29 points and 310 yards of offense on Saturday. What’s more, 14 of those points were scored by the USU defense.

Collin Hill attempts a pass in the first half of saturday’s loss to Utah State.   PHOTO:   Tony Villalobos-May | Rocky Mountain Collegian

Collin Hill attempts a pass in the first half of saturday’s loss to Utah State. PHOTO: Tony Villalobos-May | Rocky Mountain Collegian

Unfortunately for Bobo, the stout defensive effort did not translate to a victory because CSU struggled to cap off drives. CSU reached the red zone on five different occasions and almost doubled Utah State’s offensive production, but turnovers and missed opportunities really made a difference a final outcome.

Two different times in the game, a Utah State defensive back was able to jump a route and return an interception for a score, and the Rams also left three points on the board through special teams.

Even with the miscues, Colorado State briefly took the lead with 1:36 left in the fourth quarter when Collin Hill connected with Preston Williams for a 19-yard score. And a few minutes later, the Rams nearly won again with a walk-off touchdown pass as time expired. When the final cannon sounded, it was Utah State that reigned victorious though.

“A lot of stuff went wrong,” Bobo said. “In the past we’ve kind of unraveled and we didn’t do that today… They just kept battling when things weren’t going our way… If we would have another play and it wasn’t zero, I believe they would have made a play to win the game.”

CSU will travel to Air Force for the final road game of the year on Thanksgiving day.

PHOTO: Tony Villalobos-May | Rocky Mountain Collegian