Football Games Notes: Rams at San Jose State, Sept. 15, 2012

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 • 6:07 p.m. (MT) • Spartan Stadium (30,456) • San Jose, Calif. •


The Colorado State football team travels to face San Jose State this week in its first true road game of the season. Kickoff is set for 6:07 p.m. (MT)/5:07 p.m. (PT, local). The Rams (1-1) face the Spartans (1-1) of the Western Athletic Conference for the second year in a row, in advance of San Jose State’s admission into the Mountain West starting next season. CSU holds a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series with SJSU, including a 1-1 split on the Spartans’ home field. San Jose State won last year’s matchup, 38-31, in Fort Collins. Colorado State offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin was head coach at San Jose State from 1997-2000, and was the Spartans’ wide receivers coach from 1980-83. Rams head coach Jim McElwain also returns to a familiar region, having been quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2006.

ON THE AIR: The game will be broadcast via webstream on Trey Bender handles the play-by-play, while former NFL offensive lineman John Fina (Buffalo, Arizona) provides color commentary. CSU fans can find the radio broadcast on the Colorado State network originating from AM 560 KLZ in Denver, with Brian Roth (play-by-play), former Rams great David Anderson (analyst), Kevin McGlue (analyst) and Marty Cesario (sidelines) on the call. The radio broadcast can also be heard on KCOL  600 AM in Ft. Collins, KSIR 1010 AM in Ft. Morgan and KNZZ 1100 in Grand Junction.

    Junior tight end Crockett Gillmore received honorable mention recognition for tight end Performer of the Week from the College Football Performance Awards. Gillmore’s 69-yard touchdown reception from Garrett Grayson Saturday vs. North Dakota State was the longest by a Rams tight end since Joel Dreessen’s 85-yard TD catch from Bradlee Van Pelt at California, Sept. 6, 2003.
  • Senior P Pete Kontodiakos, a candidate for the Ray Guy Award, has recorded a punt of of 50 yards or more in three consecutive games, dating back to last season. His long of 54 yards Saturday vs. North Dakota State raised his season average to 46.8, on pace for the highest season gross punting average in school history. Mike Deutsch holds the record of 46.1, in 1976. Kontodiakos booted a 69-yard punt in the opener vs. Colorado, the second-longest punt of his career (76 yards; vs. New Mexico, Oct. 30, 2009).
  • Kontodiakos has the fourth-best punting average among the 25 preseason Ray Guy Award candidates who have at least eight punts on the season. He also has the second-longest punt.
  • Redshirt-freshman running back Donnell Alexander rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries (4.9) in the first start of his college career last Saturday versus North Dakota State. His rushing total was the most by a Colorado State freshman in his first career start  since 1995, when Jaime Blake tallied 170 yards on 27 carries (6.3) vs. Hawai’i (11/11/95).
  • Through two games the Rams’ defense ranks 21st in the nation in total defense, determined by yards allowed (273.0) per game. That figure is best among all Mountain West teams entering the season’s third week. CSU is also allowing 90.5 yards per game on the ground, second in the MW and 27th nationally. Additional rankings include kickoff return average (26.9; 3rd MW/20th NCAA), sacks (3.0; 2nd MW/23rd NCAA), passing efficiency (153.32; 2nd MW/30th NCAA) and pass defense (182.5; 2nd MW/32nd NCAA).
  • Junior linebacker Shaquil Barrett led the Rams with a career-high 15 tackles vs. North Dakota State Saturday, including a sack for a loss of 6 yards. His previous high of 14 came vs. San Diego State on 11/12/11 and at Utah State on 9/24/11. Barrett’s 15 tackles were the most by a Ram since Ricky Brewer notched 15 twice in November 2008: 11/22/08 at Wyoming and 11/8/08 at Air Force.
  • Defensive end Lanston Tanyi recorded 8 tackles in Saturday’s game which were the most by a Rams defensive lineman since C.J. James recorded 8 tackles against New Mexico last season, 9/3/11.
    CSU Defensive Linemen with 8+ tackles in a game (since 2005)
    16, Jake Pottorff--at Houston, Sept. 22, 2007
    12, Guy Miller--vs. Air Force, Oct. 31, 2009
    10, Erik Sandie--vs. Air Force, Oct. 13, 2007
    10, Matt Rupp--at Houston, Sept. 22, 2007
    9, Cory Macon--vs. Utah, Oct. 10, 2009
    9, Jake Pottorff--vs. San Diego State, Oct. 6, 2007
    8, Lanston Tanyi--vs. North Dakota State, Sept. 8, 2012
    8, 7 others; most recently C.J. James--at New Mexico, Sept. 3, 2011

  • CSU through two games has six offensive plays of 20-plus yards and one of 40-plus. Conversely, opponents have just two plays of 20-plus yards (both for 23 yards by North Dakota State) and none of 40-plus.

All-time, overall: 3-2
All-time, in Fort Collins: 2-1
All-time, in San Jose: 1-1
First meeting: Oct. 7, 1961, in San Jose; CSU lost, 14-0
Last meeting: Oct. 1, 2011, in Fort Collins; CSU lost 31-38
Last meeting in San Jose: Oct. 11, 1997, in San Jose; CSU won, 55-20

CSU – Jim McElwain: 1-1, first season as head coach
SJSU – Mike MacIntyre: 7-20, third season as head coach
Head to Head: (first meeting)
Against Opponent: (McElwain – first meeting; MacIntyre – 1-0)

  • Mike MacIntyre was named the 29th San Jose State University football coach on Dec. 17, 2009.
  • MacIntyre embarks on his third season as head coach after accepting a contract extension through 2017. The 2011 Spartans produced the fourth-best positive turnaround in University football history with a 4.5 games improvement. San Jose State exhibited the resiliency and resourcefulness to find a winning way.
  • Now in his 22nd season of coaching, the 47-year old MacIntyre came to San Jose State after two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Duke University. Those Blue Devil defenses were among Duke’s best statistically over a 20-year span. In 2009, Duke’s five wins were the most in a season by the Blue Devils since 1994. The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) named him its 2009 FBS Assistant Coach of the Year.

Notable Connections with San Jose State

  • CSU offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin was the head coach at San Jose State from 1997-2000. Baldwin coached against the Rams the last time CSU traveled to San Jose…Baldwin posted an 18-27 record during his four seasons in San Jose, including a 7-5 record in 2000…Baldwin was also the Spartans wide receivers coach from 1980-83…He was part of a bowl game for the first time while coaching the wideouts in 1981 (California Bowl).
  • Another coach on the Rams staff with ties to San Jose State is Jeff Hammerschmidt. For the Rams Hammerschmidt coaches the running backs and is the special teams coordinator but for the Spartans he coached the linebackers for a season in 2007.
  • Also listing time at San Jose State on his resume is co-defensive coordinator Al Simmons. Simmons spent one year (2005) with the Spartans coaching the cornerbacks.
  • Rams tackle Ty Sambrailo hails from nearby Watsonville, Calif., and has ties with several Spartans players. Sambrailo played against San Jose State defensive end Travis Johnson in high school when his St. Francis Central Coast High School went up against Johnson’s The King’s Academy squad in the Central Coast Section (CCS) state playoffs in 2008. The two also competed head-to-head in last year’s game in Fort Collins. Johnson was named WAC Defensive Player of the Week for last week after notching four sacks and 6.5 tackles-for-loss against UC-Davis.  As a defensive lineman Sambrailo also played against Spartans quarterback Blake Jurich when Jurich was a student at Scotts Valley High School in the Santa Cruz County Athletic League. 
  • CSU’s Immanuel Mitchell and SJSU’s Simon Connette played high school football in Corona, Calif.
  • El Cajon, Calif., will be represented in Saturday’s match-up by two players who met in high school: CSU’s Robert Ruiz and SJSU’s Jake Peterson and Hansel Wilson.

Notable Performances vs. San Jose State

  • In the 2011 CSU-SJSU meeting Lou Greenwood had a career day, registering six catches for 149 yards and two TD’s.
  • Thomas Coffman had two receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown in that game.
  • Linebackers Shaquil Barrett and James Skelton recorded nine and 10 tackles, respectively in that 2011 game.

POSTGAME NOTES:  North Dakota State 22, Colorado State 7
Sept. 8, 2012 -- Fort Collins, Colo.

  • P Pete Kontodiakos had a 54-yard punt today, registering a punt of 50 yards or more for the second week in a row. His season average is now 46.82 after two games, on pace for the highest season gross punting average in school history. He is targeting the current record held by Mike Deutsch , of 46.1, in 1976.
  • LB Max Morgan forced a third-quarter fumble that was recovered by Tanyi, giving the Rams a takeaway by fumble recovery for the fifth consecutive game, dating back to last season. CSU has now recorded a takeaway in each of the past 11 games.
  • RS-Fr. RB Donnell Alexander made his first career start tonight and rushed for  59 yards on 12 carries (4.9), including a 28-yard scamper in the second quarter. He also caught two passes for 19 yards.
  • The CSU defense held an opponent under 200 yards passing for the third game in a row, dating back to last year.
  • The Rams managed just 11 first downs and converted 1-of-10 third-down attempts. The last time CSU had just 11 first downs was 10/15/11 vs. Boise State. In the same game the Rams were 1-of-12 on third down.
  • When the Rams were held scoreless in the second half Saturday vs. North Dakota State it marked the first time since playing at Wyoming on 11/20/2010 that CSU failed to score a second-half point. Meanwhile, the Rams on Saturday held their opponent scoreless in the fourth quarter for the first time since 10/15/11 vs. Boise State.
  • North Dakota State converted 12-of-21 third-down attempts, keeping the CSU offense off the field for chunks of time. That allowed the Bison to run 81 offensive plays, to the Rams’ 48. That was the fewest plays run in a game by CSU since the 47 run in the 2009 home opener vs. Weber State (9/12/09).
  • Garrett Grayson connected with TE Crockett Gilmore for a 69-yard touchdown pass just 1:30 into the game to give CSU a 7-0 lead. It was the longest completion of Grayson’s career, topping his 66-yard completion to Ray Carter at TCU 11/19/11, in his first career start.
    The play was the longest passing TD for CSU since Oct. 16, 2010, when Pete Thomas found Lou Greenwood for a 73-yard touchdown.
  • The Rams were stopped for a safety on a Tommey Morris rushing attempt from inside the 1 in the first quarter. The last safety scored by a CSU opponent came in the final home game of 2011, Dec. 3, Wyoming.
  • North Dakota State blocked a 51-yard CSU field goal attempt in the second quarter.
    The block was the first of a CSU field-goal attempt since 10/29/11 at UNLV.
    The 51-yard field-goal attempt was the longest by a Ram since 9/25/10 vs. Idaho (51, no good, Ben DeLine).
  • The last CSU attempt of a greater distance came 10/18/08 at Utah (52, good, Jason Smith). The last attempt of greater length at home was 11/25/06 vs. TCU (56, no good, Jason Smith).
  • Junior center Weston Richburg, a watch list candidate for the Lombari Award, Rimington Award and Outland Trophy, keyed a rushing attack that logged 44 attempts for 125 yards in CSU’s season-opening win Saturday. CSU ran fewer plays than CU, but with the rushing attack still managed to enjoy a 33:30-26:30 advantage in time of possession.
  • The CSU defense recorded five quarterback sacks vs. Colorado, including the three by James, one of which forced a fumble). It was the most by CSU’s defense in a single game since the Rams racked up nine in a season-opening victory at New Mexico in 2011. James’ three sacks are the most by an individual in a single game since Nordly Capi’s 3.5 sacks in that same victory over the Lobos.
  • Colorado State debuted a new look this season with a return to a simpler uniform. The Rams also have added a pumpkin orange “A” on the back of their helmets as a nod to the team’s heritage as the Colorado A&M Aggies, symbolizing the school’s history as a Land Grant institution.


Senior punter Pete Kontodiakos has the 12th-highest career punting average in the nation among active players (min. 15 games played, 3.6 punts per game). His average of 43.05 yards puts him first in the conference in the same category and ranks him fourth all-time at CSU. The Florida native has also become a smarter punter each year he has been with the program. His net average increased in each of his first three years, while decreasing the number of touchbacks. He has just one touchback this season, but high return yardage by CSU opponents has dropped his season net below his 2010 and 2011 averages. Year--Net Avg.

Team Captains
The Rams in 2012 under Jim McElwain will have weekly game captains, instead of season captains.
Game 1 vs. Colorado: Junior RB Chris Nwoke, junior OL Weston Richburg, senior LB Shaquil Barrett and senior LB James Skelton.
Game 2 vs. North Dakota State: Senior WR Marquise Law, senior TE Austin Gillmore, senior CB Marcus Shaw and senior P Pete Kontodiakos.

Awards and Honors
Game 1--at Colorado (9/1)
    Mountain West Player of the Week--LB Cory James (defense), K Jared Roberts (special teams)
    College Football Performance Awards, National LB of the Week--Cory James
Game 2--vs. North Dakota State (9/8)
    College Football Performance Awards, Honorable Mention, National TE Performer of the Week--Crockett Gillmore

Coin Toss
In the Bold New Era under first-year head coach Jim McElwain the Rams have won the coin toss in the first two games and each time they have elected to receive the ball. In the past CSU deferred until the second half, and in fact, the last time prior to the 2012 season opener that the Rams won the toss and brought their offense onto the field first was at San Diego State on Nov. 6, 2010. The Rams scored three points on that first drive.

Sideline Switch
Head coach Jim McElwain introduced another new tradition with his choice to have the Rams inhabit the west sideline at Hughes Stadium for home games. The Rams had previously been stationed on the east sideline for their entire history at Hughes Stadium. In fact, it is believed that the last Colorado State team to use the west sideline for its home games was coached by Hughes Stadium namesake Harry Hughes, whose career spanned 1911-41. Jim McElwain:
Newly appointed Athletic Director Jack Graham hired Jim McElwain on Dec. 13, 2011.
McElwain, who opened up the Bold New Era with a win over in-state rival Colorado, still hasn’t dropped a season-opener at the college level since 2004 as an assistant head coach at Michigan State.
McElwain knows the territory of being bowl eligible. He has been to a bowl games in nine of the past 11 years, including two national championships with Alabama (2009, 2011. He compiled a 47-6 record at Alabama.

Notable game on the schedule:
All coaches stress the equal importance of each game, and many have previous ties to teams on their schedule. Among the notable games for head coach Jim McElwain on this year’s schedule will come Oct. 6 when the Rams host Fresno State. McElwain was the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator in 2007.

CSU legend Greg Myers going into the College Football Hall of Fame:
Former Jim Thorpe Award winner Greg Myers, a two-time All-American at Colorado State, was selected for enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame in late May. He became the third individual in the history of Colorado State’s football program to earn enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, joining consensus All-American Thurman “Fum” McGraw and former head coach Earle Bruce. In Fort Collins Myers led the Rams to a pair of league championships (1994-95) and consecutive Holiday Bowl berths. During Myers’ junior season, CSU appeared in the national rankings for 13 weeks, including the highest ranking in program history, No. 10 over the last five polls of the regular season prior to a loss to Michigan. The Rams finished No. 14 in the final 1994 rankings. Rams head coach Jim McElwain invited Myers to speak to the team on the first day of fall camp on Aug. 4, 2012. McElwain encouraged Myers to bring his Thorpe Award back to campus and gave it a permanent home in the football offices so those in the program could continue to recognize and draw inspiration from Myers’ special accomplishment achieved as a Ram.

2012 Preseason honor roll:
Over the summer RB Chris Nwoke, C Weston Richburg, TE Crockett Gillmore and P Pete Kontodiakoswere named to preseason watch lists for various awards.

  • Richburg leads the Rams with three nominations: Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy, and Rotary Lombardi Award.
  • Gillmore was named to the John Mackey Award watch list.
    Kontodiakos is listed among the players to watch for the Ray Guy Award.
  • Chris Nwoke, Kontodiakos and Gillmore also earned spots on 2012 College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) offensive awards watch lists.
  • Nwoke is the only MW running back named to the 2012 CFPA Running Back Trophy watch list.
  • Gillmore is among the top-42 tight ends on the CFPA Tight End Trophy watch list.
  • Kontodiakos was named to the 2012 CFPA Punter Award watch list.
  • Nwoke, Richburg, LB Shaquil Barrett, and Kontodiakos were named to the preseason all-Mountain West team.
  • In late May, 11 Rams received Phil Steele preseason honors. Nwoke, Richburg, Barrett, Kontodiakos and defensive lineman John Froland earned first-team preseason all-MW accolades, the national college football analyst announced. Linebacker James Skelton and offensive lineman Jordan Gragert received second-team honors and Momo Thomas was the lone Ram on the third-team all-conference squad. Also garnering attention from Phil Steele was offensive lineman Joe Caprioglio and kick returner Lee Clubb.

A nod to the past:
New Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain has said often since his hire that he intends to “reach back into our history to help our future.” Specifically, he has invited former players and coaches back to campus to be close to the program, and impart some of their wisdom on his current team. In addition to former All-American and Thorpe Award winner Greg Myers and his former head coach Sonny Lubick, speaking to the team, McElwain was proud to announce in August the hire of former CSU standout defensive lineman Greg Pollard in the Rams’ student-athlete academic services department.

Graham ushers in new leadership for CSU Athletics
The 2012 season is the Rams’ first under the leadership of director of athletics John C. “Jack” Graham, who was appointed to his position on Dec. 1, 2011. From the moment he was hired Graham has boldly placed Colorado State’s program on an ambitious path towards national prominence with his visionary leadership. A successful business leader and former Rams quarterback, Graham has integrated the department under the motto, “Dream big, work hard and settle for nothing less than excellence.” Graham, who played quarterback for the Rams from 1973-74, took on the duties of athletic director and quickly went to work. His first major initiative was to conduct a thorough evaluation of all athletic programs and to engage with donors and supporters about their goals for CSU athletics. Graham has been bold in his pursuit of a plan to build an on-campus stadium at CSU, the feasibility of which is being considered at this time by Colorado State University President Tony Frank.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, U.S. history; Colorado State, ‘75


  • Played quarterback for CSU from 1973-74
  • Drafted by the Miami Dolphins
  • Successful 30-year career in the international insur¬ance and reinsurance markets
  • Founded iCAT Managers, a leader in catastrophic risk insurance products
  • Advisory board member of the National Center of Atmospheric Research
  • Married to wife, Ginger Graham

Graham’s three objectives as AD

  • Maintain athletic department integrity
  • Uphold academic excellence
  • Win

Ag Day coming up Sept. 22
The Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Ram Athletics invite you to the 31st annual Ag Day, 1:30-4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, in the south parking lot of Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins. Ag Day precedes the Rams vs. Utah State Aggies football game, with kickoff at 5 p.m.  Ag Day is a great game-day tradition of Colorado-grown food, football, and fun! Each fall, the barbecue draws hundreds of CSU alumni and friends to enjoy our state’s tasty bounty. We’ll celebrate Colorado’s rich agricultural heritage with food from the state’s leading commodity groups before the game kicks off.

Ag Day supports agricultural scholarships
Event proceeds fund scholarships for CSU agricultural students. During 2012-2013 alone, 20 CSU students will earn Ag Day scholarships, so people are encouraged to bring friends and family in the shadow of the famed Aggie “A,” and savor a feast of Colorado beef, pork, lamb, potatoes, beans, wheat and dairy products, green salad, watermelon, and soft drinks. Beer will be available for those with ID.  You may also give directly to the Ag Day scholarship fund by visiting the secure online giving page. Ag Day meal and football tickets are available online, by mail, in person from the Ag Day ticket office, and on event day. Visit the Ag Day website to buy tickets online or to print a mail-in ticket order form.