Football Game Notes: Rams vs. Utah State, Sept. 22, 2012

Sept. 17, 2012

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 • 5:06 p.m. (MT) • Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium (32,500) • Fort Collins, Colo. • KTVD-20


The Rams (1-2) return home this Saturday to close the non-conference portion of their schedule, for second week in a row battling a Western Athletic Conference foe that will next year be a member of the Mountain West. Utah State (2-1) travels to Fort Collins for a 5:06 p.m. kickoff at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium having won three of its last four road games and seven of its last eight regular season games overall. The game will air on KTVD-20 and can be heard across the Colorado State Radio Network.

With the annual Ag Day celebration serving as a backdrop, the Rams entertain the Aggies of Utah State, who seek to avenge a 35-34 double-overtime home defeat at the hands of CSU last season (9/24/12). Colorado State holds a 36-30-2 advantage in the all-time series with Utah State, and has won each of the last four vs. Utah State.

ON THE AIR: The game will be televised in HD by Denver's 9News to air on KDTV-20 (Comcast 657), with Bill Doleman (play-by-play) and Reggie Rivers (analyst) calling the action and Natalie Vickers reporting from the sidelines. CSU fans can find the radio broadcast on the Colorado State Radio 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. The game video and audio will be streamed online via the official website of the Rams, For information on this subscription-based service, please visit the website and set up your account today.


Senior P Pete Kontodiakos, a candidate for the Ray Guy Award, has recorded a punt of of 50 yards or more in four consecutive games, dating back to last season. His 72-yard punt Saturday at San Jose State is the longest by a Mountain West punter this season, tied for second nationally. It was the second-longest of his career and raised his season average to 46.8, on pace for the highest season gross punting average in school history (Mike Deutsch, 46.1, 1976. Kontodiakos booted a 69-yard punt in the opener vs. Colorado, now third-longest in his career (longest is 76 yards; vs. New Mexico, Oct. 30, 2009).

Kontodiakos, who is on the verge of his 40th career game when Utah State visits on Saturday, continues to have the best year of his career. The punter is averaging 46.76 yards per attempt, which ranks 6th in the nation (1st MW).

By throwing two touchdown passes and rushing for one at San Jose State, sophomore quarterback Garrett Grayson became just the third CSU quarterback in the last four seasons to rush for a touchdown and throw for multiple scores in the same game. He is the only Ram to do that in a road game in that period.

Player, Game (TDs)
Garrett Grayson, 2012 - 9/25 at SJSU (3, 1 rush)
Pete Thomas, 2011 - 10/1 vs. SJSU (4, 1 rush)
Grant Stucker, 2009 - 9/19 vs. Nevada (3, 1 rush)

Grayson had a career day on a number of fronts against San Jose State, setting five career highs and tying a sixth. His 337 yards of total offense (40 rush yards) are fifth-most by a Mountain West quarterback this season.

Grayson has been effective distributing the ball evenly among his receivers this season. His five touchdown passes ahve gone to five different targets, and six players have five or more receptions on the year. The sophomore standout also has recorded two multi-touchdown games this season, while avoiding any multi-interception performances.

Breakout Performance: Wide receiver Charles Lovett set career highs in receptions (five) and yards (99) at San Jose State Saturday, while recording his first career receiving touchdown. The sophomore wideout came up 1 yard short of the team's first 100-yard receiving performance of the season. The last CSU receiver with a 100-yard game was Lou Greenwood, who accomplished the feat on 10/1/11 vs. SJSU (6 receptions, 149 yards, 2 TD). Lovett currently leads the team in receiving yards (127).
Consistent Cartwright: Tight end Kivon Cartwright caught four passes at SJSU, marking the third-straight game that he has recorded three-or-more receptions. Last season, only two Rams strung together comparable streaks (Chris Nwoke: five-straight games and Crockett Gillmore: 10-straight games). Cartwright (11-118-10.7-1 TD) has proven to be a nice addition to Gillmore in the receiving department, almost mimicking Gillmore's 2011 production through the first three games (13-164-12.6-2).

Sack Artist: Freshman linebacker Cory James recorded his fourth sack of the season against San Jose State (originally credited to Zach Tiedgen in the play-by-play, but now corrected in the official stats). James' four sacks ties him for 8th in the nation (1st in MW) in sacks (4.0) and sacks per game (1.33). James is the only freshman ranked in the nation's top 15 in sacks. Additionally, James has recorded 4.5 tackles for loss, ranking him 2nd in the Mountain West.

Cleaned Up Play: After registering two games of 8+ penalties, the Rams recorded their fewest penalties this season against San Jose State (3-20 yards).


All-time, overall: 36-30-2
All-time in Fort Collins: 16-13-1
All-time in Logan: 20-17-1
First meeting: Oct. 11, 1902, in Logan; CSU won, 24-5
Last meeting: Sept. 24, 2011, in Logan; CSU won, 35-34 (2OT)
Last meeting in Fort Collins: Sept. 10, 1994; CSU won, 41-16

Series streaks: CSU has won the last four games by a combined score of 170-91, but last year's double-overtime thriller produced a 35-34 score...CSU has scored 35-plus points in each of those four games.

CSU - Jim McElwain: 1-2, first season as head coach
USU - Gary Andersen: 17-23, fourth season as head coach
Head to Head: (first meeting)
Against Opponent: (McElwain: first meeting, Anderson: 0-1)

Gary Andersen is entering his fourth season as Utah State head football coach, after being named to the role on on Dec. 4, 2008, by USU Athletics Director Scott Barnes. Andersen is the 26th head coach in 115 years of Aggie football.

Only John Ralston and Charlie Weatherbie took Utah State teams to a bowl game in fewer years than Andersen did, as Ralston took the Aggies to the 1960 Sun Bowl and Weatherbie took the 1993 Aggies to the Las Vegas Bowl, both doing so in their second year... Andersen joins John L. Smith who took the 1997 Aggies to this same bowl, then known as the Humanitarian Bowl, as Aggie coaches who led USU to a bowl game in their third season... Ralston also took the 1961 Aggie squad to the Sun Bowl, while the Aggies' stadium namesake, E. Lowell Romney, guided USU to the 1946 Raisin Bowl in his 27th season and the 1947 Grape Bowl in his 28th year.

The Aggies' three-win turnaround from four wins in 2010 to seven wins in 2011 was among the top 15 in the Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2011 season.

Notable Connections with Utah State

  • Colorado State offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin was Utah State's offensive coordinator the past three seasons (2009-11)...Kendrick Shaver, USU cornerbacks coach, was a secondary coach for Northern Colorado...Aggies WR coach Jovon Bouknight played for Wyoming, seeing the Rams several times.
  • Utah State head coach Gary Anderson was the defensive coordinator at Utah between 1997-2002 and 2004-08, going 5-4 against CSU...USU head basketball coach Stew Morrill coached the Rams from 1991-98.
  • The Rams and Aggies combine to have four players from Miami, Fla.: Marquise Law for CSU and Quinton Byrd, Rashard Stewart and Tavaris McMillian for USU.
  • Former foes meet again for the first time since their high school days in Aurora, Colo.; M.J. McPeek (Rangeview) and Davis Burl (Grandview) are wearing the green and gold, and Terell Thompson (Eaglecrest) is in the blue and white.
  • Donnell Alexander and Aggie Kellen Bartlett are both graduates of Blue Springs South in Missouri.
  • Former teammates will meet Saturday as Jevon Hasten and the Rams' Robert Ruiz both graduated last year from Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Calif.

Notable Performances vs. Utah State

  • In last season's double-overtime thriller Colorado State swept the Mountain West Players of the Week. Chris Nwoke (offense), Shaquil Barrett (defense) and Tanner Hedstrom (special teams) took home honors.
  • Nwoke rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Barrett recorded a then-career-high 14 tackles and had a fumble return for a touchdown.
  • Tight end Crockett Gillmore caught the game's lone receiving touchdown.

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. For more information please visit

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.


San Jose State 40, Colorado State 20 -- Sept. 15, 2012 -- San Jose, Calif.

  • QB Garrett Grayson rushed for a touchdown on a 15-yard run around the left side to open the Rams' scoring and cap a four-play, 74-yard drive. The second-quarter touchdown run was Grayson's first of the year, second of his career. His first came in his first collegiate game played, vs. San Diego State, 11/12/11.
  • With two touchdown passes Grayson now has five on the season and seven for his career.
    The two touchdown drives by the Rams were efficient, covering 0:58 and 1:47 (74 yds & 80 yds.).
  • The Rams scored two touchdowns in the second quarter (Grayson by rush; Grayson-to-Cartwright pass), the first time scoring two touchdowns in the same quarter this season. The drives were keyed by a no-huddle offensive approach by the Rams.
  • Colorado State outgained San Jose State 191-101 in the second quarter to end the first half with 244 yards to the Spartans' 267.
  • P Pete Kontodiakos booted a third-quarter punt 72 yards to be downed at San Jose State's 2-yard line. It was the second-longest of his career, tied for 9th-longest in CSU history and was the longest since Kontodiakos' personal-best 76-yarder vs. Nevada on Sept. 19, 2009.
  • Two Rams recorded their first career touchdown receptions in the San Jose State game. The fourth-quarter 38-yard touchdown reception by Charles Lovett was the first of his career after he threw two touchdown passes in 2011. The second-quarter scoring reception by Kivon Cartwright also was the first of his career.

POSTGAME QUOTES: Head Coach Jim McElwain

(opening statement)
"I think we got a little better today, I really do. I know it's in a loss, and credit due to coach MacIntyre and what he's done. In the three years he's been there this is a totally reshaped team than what I saw in his first year. We missed some open creatures running around out there. We've gotta hit those you can't leave that much offense on the field. You just can't leave it out there and expect to win."

(on his team)
"We created some explosive plays and I felt like, you know, when they went up early on us you know we hung in there, we kept playing, I think that was a positive, and you know third downs and explosive plays that's probably the story of the game."

(on QB Garrett Grayson)
"I thought Garrett did some good things, made some throws I know he'd like to have back, but he'll be able to learn from it and you know guys, I think we have the making of a pretty good quarterback."

(on San Jose State)
"Credit him (MacIntyre) and his coaching staff. He's got some good players and they're playing fast. I thought they had a good plan they went on double cadence and saw the blitzes and knew where they needed to go to and that's a credit to what they're doing on offense."

(on falling behind 14-0 early in the game)
"I didn't get a chance to finish a cup of water. It was in a hurry. The good thing is the guys fought and hung in there."

(on the failed 2-point conversion attempt)
"If they give us a look (we go for 2), we got the look and didn't execute it.

(on San Jose QB David Fales)
"I'm really impressed with this quarterback. This guy puts it where it needs to go you can tell he's in rhythm and knows exactly what they're asking him to do."

KONTODIAKOS REACHING RARE STATUS: Senior punter Pete Kontodiakos has punted 177 times in his career, seventh-most among active punters in the NCAA. Remarkably, 51 of his 177 punts have gone for 50 or more yards. His career punting average of 43.18 ranks 15th in the nation among active players (min. 15 games played, 3.6 punts per game), and fourth-best among the group with 177 or more career punts. That figure ranks No. 1 among Mountain West punters and 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 two touchbacks this season, but high return yardage by CSU opponents has dropped his season net just below his 2011 average.

FRESHMAN IMPACT: Redshirt-freshman running back Donnell Alexander rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries (4.9) in the first start of his college career versus North Dakota State Sept. 8. 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).

RANKINGS ROUNDUP: Through three games the Rams' defense is tied for second in the Mountain West sacks (8.0) and in opponent fourth-down conversions (50%, 3-6). In other stats:
--Cory James: T-8th NCAA in sacks (4.0), 1st MW; 2nd MW tackles for loss (4.5; T-36th NCAA)
--Aaron Davis: T-6th MW in tackles (26), 2nd among linebackers
--Lanston Tanyi: 2 FR, most in MW; 2nd in tackle (20) among MW defensive linemen
--Shaq Bell: T-7th in MW in tackles among defensive backs
--Jared Roberts: 48-yard field goal vs. Colorado is longest by MW kicker this season
--Shaquil Barrett: 8.0 tackles per game in 15 career games, most in MW and 14th NCAA among active players with minimum 15 games played

BEAST OF THE DEFENSE: Junior linebacker Shaquil Barrett led the Rams with a career-high 15 tackles vs. North Dakota State Sept. 8, 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). His performance included a sack for a loss of 6 yards. Barrett's previous high of 14 came vs. San Diego State on 11/12/11 and at Utah State on 9/24/11.

TANYI'S TACKLES: Defensive end Lanston Tanyi, in his first year with the Rams after transferring from Appalachian State has recorded 8 and 10 tackles, respectively, in the last two games. His 8 stops vs. North Dakota State on Sept. 8 were the most by a Rams defensive lineman since C.J. James recorded 8 tackles against New Mexico last season, 9/3/11. He surpassed that with 10 at San Jose State, most in the category since Oct. 31, 2009 when Guy Miller recorded 12 vs. Air Force.

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, Lanston Tanyi--at San Jose State, Sept. 15, 2012
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

BIG PLAYS: CSU through three games has nine offensive plays of 20-plus yards and one of 40-plus, including at least one play of 37 yards or longer in each game. Prior to the San Jose State game opponents haD just two plays of 20-plus yards (both for 23 yards by North Dakota State) and none of 40-plus. The Spartans had six plays of 20-plus and three of 40-plus.

LONG-DISTANCE THREAT TOO: Junior tight end Crockett Gillmore's 69-yard touchdown reception from Garrett Grayson vs. North Dakota State Sept. 8 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, and is the fourth-longest by a Mountain West player this season.

TEAM CAPTAINS: The Rams in 2012 under Jim McElwain will have weekly game captains, instead of season captains.
Game 1 at 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.
Game 3 at San Jose State: Sophomore TE Kivon Cartwright, senior LB Broderick Sargent, senior CB Momo Thomas and senior RB Mark Woodbury.

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
Game 3--at San Jose State (9/15)
   College Football Performance Awards, Honorable Mention, National Punter Performer of the Week--Pete Kontodiakos

BACK TO OUR ROOTS: 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.

COIN TOSS: In the Bold New Era under first-year head coach Jim McElwain the Rams won the coin toss in the first two games and each time they 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 AT A GLANCE:
    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.

CSU LEGEND MYERS TO ENTER 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.

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 AT COLORADO STATE: The 2012 season is the Rams' first under the leadership of director of athletics John C. "Jack" Graham, hired Dec. 1, 2011. From that moment 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 energized the department under the motto, "Dream big, work hard and settle for nothing less than excellence." Graham, a Rams quarterback from 1973-74, went to work quickly on his plans. 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.