Utah Tech Loses Tough Battle to Colorado State
Wow. What a game by the Trailblazers. They played tough for all four quarters showed they can play with FBS opponents. Very impressive.
Here's the press release from UT Athletics Relations. Full link to article below:
Utah Tech gave Mountain West Conference foe Colorado State all they could handle and more, but the homestanding Rams managed to pull away late to defeat the Trailblazers by a 41-20 count on Saturday night at Canvas Stadium.
The Trailblazers (1-4/0-0 UAC) found themselves in an early first quarter hole as the Rams struck for two touchdowns in game's first nine minutes to bolt out to a quick 14-0 lead.
Colorado State (2-2) took the opening kickoff and marched 85 yards in eight plays, capping the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi to Tory Horton.
Utah Tech also got off to a strong start offensively, beginning with a 26-yard Ronnie Walker Jr. scamper to get into Ram territory at the CSU 49. The Blazers would get to the CSU 7, but the Ram defense turned UT away when Jack Howell intercepted Kobe Tracy at the goal line and returned it to the CSU 24.
Colorado State cashed in the turnover on its very next play when Fowler-Nicolosi again hooked up with Horton, who caught the short pass at the 29 and rambled all the way to the end zone for a 76-yard score.
After the two teams exchanged punts, the Trailblazers put together their first scoring drive, which was set up by a Chris Street 28-yard run to the CSU 12. However the drive would stall at the Ram 4 and Utah Tech would have to settle for a 24-yard Connor Brooksby field goal with nine seconds to play in the opening frame.
Then on CSU's ensuing possession, the Trailblazer defense returned the favor as pressure forced Fowler-Nicolosi to scramble out of the pocket. Syrus Webster managed to track the quarterback down and strip him of the ball, which was recovered by Dondi Fuller at the CSU 33.
Tracy quickly turned the Rams' miscue into points on the very next play as he found Beau Sparks over the middle for a 33-yard touchdown strike to cut the deficit to 14-10 just 17 seconds into the first quarter. For Sparks it was the freshman's second touchdown grab of the season.
Mother Nature then got into the act as a 46-minute lightning delay at the 14:42 mark in the period sent both teams to their respective locker rooms.
When play resumed Colorado State put together a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a Fowler-Nicolosi 4-yard naked bootleg around the right side and into the end zone to extend the Ram lead to 21-10.
The Trailblazers clapped back with an extended drive of their own as they covered 75 yards on 13 plays and took over seven minutes off the clock.
Tracy and the offense converted on third down three times on the drive, the last of which came when the redshirt-junior quarterback hit Sparks in the corner of the end zone from 8-yards out to make it a 21-17 game.
Utah Tech would trim the deficit to 21-20 midway through the third quarter when Brooksby connected for a 52-yard field goal. For Brooksby, the kick was a season-long for the junior and was the longest made field goal made by a Colorado State opponent in Canvas Stadium's history.
Unfortunately that would be as close as Utah Tech would come to pulling off the upset win over an NCAA Division I FBS opponent as CSU would find the end zone again just before period's end thanks to a 2-yard Vann Scheid dive. However the Rams would miss the PAT, which made the score 27-20 through three quarters complete.
Following a Trailblazer punt, Nicolosi-Fowler hit a pair of long pass plays, the last, a 42-yard catch-and-run by Dallin Hooker, who weaved through the Blazer secondary and into the end zone to extend the CSU lead to 34-20 with 11:18 remaining.
The Rams would tack on another touchdown later in the frame and held Utah Tech at bay the rest of the way to close out the home win.
Utah Tech put up 349 yards of total offense on the night, highlighted by a season-best 164 yards rushing. Walker Jr. tallied a season-high 83 yards on 20 carries, while his backfield mate Chris Street carried the ball 10 times for 78 yards, which was also a season high.
Meanwhile Tracy went threw for 185 yards on 21-of-33 passing with the two touchdowns.
Rickie Johnson led the Blazer receiving corps with 69 yards on eight catches, and in the process vaulted into sixth place on Utah Tech's career receiving yards list (1,527). Sparks wound up with 67 yards on a career-high tying seven receptions to go with his two touchdown grabs.
Defensively, Webster racked up a team-high 11 tackles, his third double-digit tackle game of the season and his career. The junior defensive lineman (21.0 TFLs) also tallied 2.5 tackles-for-loss, which moved him into a tied for ninth place on UT's career list.
Jared Fotu also collected 10 tackles, all of which came after halftime.
Colorado State finished with 586 total yards, with Fowler-Nicolosi throwing for 462 of those yards on 26-of-32 passing and four touchdowns. Horton accounted for 227 of those yards and three of the TDs on 10 receptions.
After three-straight road games, Utah Tech finally returns home for its United Athletic Conference debut game next Saturday night, Oct. 7, when the Trailblazers host Stephen F. Austin. Kick-off inside Greater Zion Stadium is set for 7 p.m. (MDT).