Special teams blunders result in blowout loss at Florida

Colorado State football had every opportunity to steal a road win at Florida Saturday afternoon, but costly makes on special teams killed CSU’s hopes of an upset and the Rams ultimately were defeated, 48-10.

CSU ran more plays (83), had more first downs (22) and dominated the time of possession (38:33) on Saturday afternoon. The statsheet did not tell the entire story though.

Florida’s time of possession and total yardage were skewed after getting the ball in Colorado State’s territory six times. And CSU continually tried to run the football against the Gators, despite not having any kind of success with the ground game. These rushing plays ate up quite a bit of time, but ultimately did not amount to points on the board.

In total, CSU had 42 rushing attempts for only 70 yards (1.7 yards per carry). Through the air, K.J. Carta-Samuels finished 21-of-33 for 217 yards and one touchdown. His leading wide receiver was Preston Williams, who finished with nine catches for 106 yards in his return to SEC country. The one receiving touchdown was a 48-yard reception from freshman Trey McBride, the first receiving touchdown of his career.

Collin Hill made a fourth quarter appearance as well and completed two-of-eight pass attempts for 28 yard in limited action.

While offensive woes made things difficult for CSU, poor play on special teams made the ultimate difference.

In the loss, sophomore punter Ryan Stonehouse attempted four punts. The first one resulted in a fumbled a snap and gave Florida the football at CSU’s 4-yard line. Stonehouse had another punt blocked/recovered in the end zone by the Gators. And his fourth attempt did not have enough hang time, which allowed Florida’s Freddie Swain to break off an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Along with a poor showing from Stonehouse, senior kicker Wyatt Bryan missed two of his three field goal attempts Saturday. The veteran did make a 53-yard attempt to score CSU’s first points of the game, but a pair of early misses costed the Rams a chance to have a tie game in the first half.

Contrary to what the scoreboard indicates, it was easily CSU’s best defensive performance of the year so far. The Rams held Florida to just 341 yards of total offense and consistently challenged the Gators at the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately for the defensive players, a combination of bad offense and even worse special teams, negated their impressive day.

Following a deflating performance in the swamp, CSU will look to rebound with next week’s Ag Day contest against Illinois State (2-0). The Rams will then travel to San Jose State on Oct. 6, before hosting New Mexico on Oct. 13.