Football Game Notes: Colorado State vs. New Mexico, Nov. 24

Nov. 19, 2012

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 5:07 p.m. (MT) Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium (32,500)
 Fort Collins, Colo. ROOT Sports


The Rams (3-8, 2-5 MW) celebrate Senior Day on Saturday when they welcome New Mexico (4-8, 1-6) to close out the 2012 slate, the school’s first under head coach Jim McElwain. Colorado State will honor 16 student-athletes before their final appearance in a Rams uniform. CSU has won two consecutive home games, and seeks to win three home games in a row in the same season for the first time since 2008. The last time the Rams won three Mountain West games in a row at home was in 2005 (Air Force, Utah, Wyoming). Colorado State has matched its win total from each of the past three seasons. With a win in the final game the Rams would secure their best record since 2008 when they finished 7-6.

Colorado State holds a 34-25 advantage in the series, and has claimed victory in 15 of the 26 games with New Mexico played in Fort Collins. The Rams have won two games in a row and three of the last four in the series with the Lobos, and have won two in a row against New Mexico at home. The Lobos’ last win in Fort Collins came in 2006 (20-19).

TELEVISION: The game will be televised by ROOT Sports with Tim Neverett (play-by-play) and Sed Bonner (analyst) calling the action and Jenny Cavnar reporting from the sidelines. A live webstream is available through Rams All Access on the official website of Colorado State Athletics, Due to contractural agreements, the webstream will not be available in the ROOT Sports broadcast footprint of Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

RADIO: The Colorado State Radio Network, originating from AM 560 KLZ in Denver carries the broadcast, with Brian Roth (play-by-play), former Rams great David Anderson (analyst), Kevin McGlue (analyst) and Marty Cesario (sidelines) on the call. The broadcast also airs on KCOL 600 AM (Ft. Collins) KSIR 1010 AM (Ft. Morgan) and KNZZ 1100 (Grand Junction).

NOTES IN 140 < #CSURamsNotes | #MWFB (A Twitter-friendly look at this week’s top notes from Colorado State Football)


>> The Rams have won 2 games in a row at home for first time since 2010 and seek a third consecutive in same season for first time since 2008.

>> Colorado State has scored four defensive touchdowns in its last two home games (2 INTs vs. Hawaii, 10/27; INT & Fum vs. UNLV, 11/10)

>> A school-record 18 CSU players have scored TDs this year, tied for most in the nation (FBS) with Marshall & Fresno State.

>> Among the 18 players to score touchdowns this season, 11 have scored the first of their career this year, 2nd-most in the nation (Navy, 14)

>> CSU has had 19 players make their first career start in 2012, fifth-most in NCAA FBS (Hawai’i 29, AFA 24, Temple 22, TCU 21)

>> The 8 teams to beat the Rams this year have a combined record of 63-25 (.716) & outscore opponents on average 33.0 to 20.9 (2,904-1,841)


>> The Rams’ offense is tied for 24th in the nation & ranks 3rd #MWFB in red zone scoring (87.0%; 20-23). CSU is 14-16 in conference games

>> The Rams’ 24.2 yards-per-catch average at Wyoming (11/3) is third-highest by any #MWFB team this year, & 387 pass yds. are 5th-most

>> Colorado State’s 8.8 yards per play average at Wyoming (11/3) is fourth-best by a #MWFB team this season

>> RB Chris Nwoke posted CSU’s 4th 100-yd. rushing game in a row & his 2nd of the season (5th career) 119 & 1 TD at Boise State (11/17)

>> Nwoke’s 72-yard TD run at Boise State was longest rush of his career, longest by a Ram in 4 years & T-8th-longest TD rush in CSU history

>> CSU had a rushing TD from a freshman in 4 straight games (T. Morris 1 each at SDSU & vs. UH; Donnell Alexander 1 at Wyo., 2 vs. UNLV)

>> CSU has started 3 different QBs this season (Garrett Grayson, M.J. McPeek & Conner Smith) because of injuries to Grayson & McPeek

>> Only two other schools, Maryland (5) & Southern Miss (4), have started more QBs this year. Five others have started 3 QBs like CSU

>> The 1981 Rams started 3 QBs--Tom Thenell (5), Terry Nugent (4) and Mark Miller (3)--in struggling to an 0-12 record

>> QB Conner Smith’s 326 passing yds. at Wyo. (11/3) were most by a Ram since Pete Thomas threw for 387 vs. San Jose State Oct. 1, 2011

>> WR Charles Lovett is the only Ram with a reception in every game this season. He leads the team with 31-393 & ties for 2nd in TDs (2)

>> WR Thomas Coffman’s 75-yd. TD reception at Wyoming is tied for the 3rd-longest reception in a #MWFB game this season

>> Coffman’s 146 receiving yards at Wyoming (11/3) were the most by a Ram since Lou Greenwood had 149 vs. San Jose State on Oct. 1, 2011.


>> The defense ranks 5th #MWFB in pass efficiency defense (134.0), sacks (20) and pass yds. allowed (203.0; 30th FBS)

>> DE Lanston Tanyi is tied for 2nd on team w/73 tackles (6.6/gm.), 2nd-most by MW defensive lineman & 2nd-most by a CSU DL since 1988

>> Tanyi had career-high 13 tackles vs. Hawaii (10/27) & has 4 of the top 6 single-game tackle totals by a CSU defensive lineman since 2007.

>> Tanyi’s 6 QB hurries are the most by a Rams player in at least the past 13 seasons, dating as far back as the statistic has been tracked.

>> CB Shaq Bell is tied for 6th in the nation (FBS) in fumble recoveries, most by a Ram since DE Jesse Nading had 3 in 2007

>> With 3 fumble recoveries and one interception Shaq Bell ranks third the Mountain West in takeaways with 4

>> LB Cory James ranks 2nd #MWFB with a CSU freshman-record 7.5 sacks, T-32nd NCAA FBS. He’s also T-4th in TFL (10.5)

>> LB Aaron Davis leads the team in tackles w/career-high 78 & ranks 9th among all #MWFB LBs. He posted a career-high 13 at Wyoming (11/3)

>> Davis’ 10 solo tackles vs. Fresno St. (10/6) were the most by a CSU player since Shaq Bell had 10 at Nevada in 2010 (9/11)

>> CB DeAndre Elliott owns the 4th-longest interception return by a #MWFB player this season (76-yds., TD, vs. Hawaii, 10/27)

>> Elliott’s two interceptions in #MWFB games (both vs. Hawaii, 10/27) are T-3rd in conference-only games & T-7th overall by MW players

>> S Trent Matthews ranks 7th among #MWFB DBs w/66 tackles...11 pass breakups T-7th in MW (T-46th NCAA)...T-1st MW-only games (9)


>> P Pete Kontodiakos leads #MWFB & ranks 5th in NCAA FBS in punting average at 46.2. It is 46.5 in 7 Mountain West games

>> Kontodiakos’ 46.2 avg is on pace to break the school record (46.1, Mike Deutsch, ’76). He owns the top 3 punts in #MWFB this yr (73, 72, 72)

>> Earned 2nd career #MWFB Spec. Tms. Player of Week in win over Hawaii (10/27) w/conference-record 61.8 avg. on 4 punts, & 2 inside the 20

>> Kontodiakos has 3 @CFPerformance honorable mentions for national punter of the week: at SJSU (9/15), at AFA (9/29) & vs. Hawaii (10/27)

>> His 73-yard punt at Air Force (9/29) is the longest by a MW punter this season, and tied for eighth-longest nationally.

>> K Jared Roberts, #MWFB Spec. Tms. Player of the Week 11/12, leads MW in FG pct. (88.9%) & ties for longest FG in MW this year (49)

>> Roberts’ 49-yard field goal vs. UNLV was the longest by a Rams player since Oct. 18, 2008 when Jason Smith nailed a 52-yarder at Utah

>> WR Thomas Coffman ranks 4th in MW in kick-return average (24.6; 38th NCAA), on 17 returns...ranks 2nd in #MWFB-only games (25.0)

>> Coffman’s 73-yd. KOR at SDSU (10/13) was longest by a Ram since Derek Good (74) vs. UNLV, 10/16/10, & 3rd-longest in an MW game this yr.

>> WR Joe Hansley returned a punt 76 yds. vs. Hawaii (10/27), 11th-longest in CSU history and longest since ’99 (Dallas Davis, 77, at UNLV)

>> Hansley, whose 76-yard return vs. Hawaii is second-longest #MWFB this season, has 2nd-best PR avg. in conference-only games (16.2)


All-time, overall: 34-25-0
All-time, in Fort Collins: 15-11-0
All-time, in Albuquerque: 18-14-0
All-time in Las Vegas: 1-0-0 (1997 WAC title game)
First meeting: Nov. 28, 1935; CSU won, 7-6
Last meeting: Sept. 3, 2011; CSU won, 14-10
Last meeting in Fort Collins: Oct. 30, 2010; CSU won, 38-14
Series streaks: CSU has won two in a row and three of the last four. 

CSU Jim McElwain: 3-8, first season as head coach
New Mexico – Bob Davie: 4-8, first season as head coach at New Mexico
Head to Head: first meeting
Against Opponent: McElwain first meeting vs. UNM; Davie first meeting vs. CSU

Bob Davie became New Mexico’s 31st football head coach on Nov. 17, 2011. Davie, 57, has been a college football analyst on television since 2002. He has served as the lead analyst on ABC Saturday Night Primetime college football telecasts, as well as ESPN and ESPN2 Saturday Night Primetime games.

Prior to that, Davie served as head football coach at the University of Notre Dame for five seasons (1997-2001). He was defensive coordinator for three years (1994-96) with the Fighting Irish under head coach Lou Holtz before taking over the program in 1997.

• The Lobos roster features four players from the state of Colorado. (FB Chris Biren, LB Joseph Harris, TE Christian Rebhun, and LB Trey Thygerson).
• Two sophomores from Tampa, Fla. will meet Saturday. CSU’s Charles Lovett and UNM’s Tevin Newman.
• New Mexico’s inside linebackers coach Kevin Cosgrove was a linebackers coach here at Colorado State for one year in 1989.
• SEC ties are prominent in Saturday’s meeting between the Lobos and Rams. Coleman Hutzler (UNM special teams coordinator) coached at Florida in a similar position during the time CSU Head Coach Jim McElwain was at Alabama

• In the 2011 season-opener as a team the Rams set a CSU record sacking New Mexico nine times.
Chris Nwoke rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown in 2011 and back in 2010 he ran for 98 yards.
• In 2011 Joe Brown pulled in a career-high seven receptions.
Crockett Gillmore hauled in his first-career TD against the Lobos in 2011. It put the Rams into a 7-3 lead. 

Colorado State, at Boise State  
11/17/12 -- Boise, Idaho

• RB Chris Nwoke notched his fifth career 100-yard rushing performance today (second this season) with a season-high 119 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries (11.9). His previous best this season was 115 yards vs. Hawaii (10/27/12).
• Nwoke had a career-long 72-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, tied for the 8th-longest scoring run in school history. It is the longest CSU scoring run since Gartrell Johnson’s 77-yard touchdown run against Fresno State in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl (12/20/08).
• Fifth-year senior M.J. McPeek made his third career start for Colorado State today, and his first since Oct. 13, 2012, at San Diego State. McPeek played just the first half and completed 4 of 9 passes for 19 yards. He was sacked twice and threw two interceptions.
• Redshirt-freshman Conner Smith played the second half and completed 4 of 11 passes 53 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marquise Law.
• The 30-yard touchdown pass was Smith’s fourth of the season, and was the second touchdown reception of the year for Law, as well as being the longest reception of Law’s career.
• Senior punter Pete Kontodiakos, who entered the game with the third-best gross punting average in the nation (46.8), averaged 42.9 yards on 8 punts. He had three punts of 50 yards or longer and placed one inside the 20.
• WR Charles Lovett caught one pass for a 3-yard loss, continuing to be the only Colorado State player to catch at least one pass in every game this season.
• Lovett returned three kickoffs for 48 yards, including a career-best 25-yard return in the first half.
• CSU’s game captains today: DE Lanston Tayni, P Pete Kontodiakos, RB Mark Woodbury, TE Austin Gillmore.
• Boise State won the coin toss and elected to defer.


Colorado State Head Coach Jim McElwain

(On the effort)
“At halftime I told these guys plain and simple it’s their opportunity to show us who they are, each individual, by how they play and compete. A year ago in this same game, at our place, we kind of threw our skirt up and let them run over us. I did see some young guys take that to heart.”

“I thought we had some guys that actually were out there not worried about the scoreboard, not worried about anything but their teammates and how they could do their job and those are things to build on.”

(On falling behind early)
“They absolutely came out and took it to us right off the bat. I felt we missed a couple things in the run game up front early and that’s disappointing.”

(On learning from Boise State)
“I think this could be a great lesson to take from a team like this, how they approach everything they do and the importance of it. I think there are some great lessons out there and that’s what we’ll teach from.”

(On a possible talent gap between the teams)

“I’m not down on our guys. We just have to play harder. Whether there is a separation in talent that doesn’t matter, there isn’t a separation in will and that’s what it’s all about.”

Head Coach Jim McElwain

Jim McElwain became the 20th head football coach in Colorado State program history on Dec. 13, 2011.

McElwain, 50, came to Fort Collins from Alabama, where he had served as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2008-11. McElwain played a key role in navigating the team to two national championship victories in the last three seasons. Alabama defeated No. 1 LSU in January 2012, several weeks after becoming CSU’s new head coach, after having topped Texas to claim the 2009 championship.

By leading his Rams team to victory over Colorado in his head coaching debut on Sept. 1, McElwain became the first CSU mentor since 1970 to win in his first game since Jerry Wampfler. McElwain also became the only Colorado State coach to win in his first matchup against rival Colorado.


• McElwain hasn’t lost a season-opener at the college level since 2004, when he was assistant head coach at Michigan State.
• McElwain has been to a bowl games in nine of the past 11 years, including two national championships with Alabama (2009, 2011).
• McElwain’s offenses at Alabama led the nation by committing only 57 turnovers in his four years. Ohio State was second with 59.
• Sent two players to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York: 2009 winner Mark Ingram and 2011 finalist Trent Richardson.
• Played key role in Crimson Tide’s 47-6 record from 2008-11.
• Ranked among the top units in the Southeastern Conference.
• In 2011 `Bama led the SEC with 219.8 rushing yards per game, and finished second with 433.4 total yards per contest, and third in scoring (36 points per game). In 2010, the team was third in both total yards and scoring.
• The offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Fresno State in 2007, McElwain improved the Bulldogs’ output from 338.2 total yards per game the year before his arrival to 419.5 (No. 38 in the nation), and from 23.0 points per contest to 32.9 (No. 32). Fresno State went 9-4 in his only season, including a 40-28 win over Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl.
• In 2006, he coached the quarterbacks of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, under Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Shell.
• Coaching wide receivers at Michigan State in 2003, McElwain helped lead the team to the Alamo Bowl, establishing school records with 312 receptions and 3,510 receiving yards.
• In 2004 he coached an All-American, punter Brandon Fields, and the Big Ten’s scoring leader, kicker Dave Rayner. And prior to his departure for the NFL, Michigan State set a school mark with 24 touchdown receptions in 2005, when five of his wideouts had at least 28 catches.
• Coached against Colorado State in the 2000 Liberty Bowl in his first season with Louisville.
• In his three seasons with the Cardinals, four of his players earned first-team all-conference honors. Three of his pupils ranked among Louisville’s all-time leading receivers, including future Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch.
• McElwain started his coaching career at his alma mater, Eastern Washington in 1985 as a graduate assistant.
• During his time on the staff, the Eagles earned a berth in both the 1992 and 1995 Division I-AA playoffs, and a share of the 1992 Big Sky crown.
• A 1984 graduate of Eastern Washington. Played quarterback from 1980-83.
• McElwain earned his degree in education.
• Jim and his wife Karen have three children, JoHanna, Elizabeth & Jerret.



KONTODIAKOS REACHING RARE STATUS: Senior punter Pete Kontodiakos has punted 215 times in his career, tied for seventh-most among active punters in the NCAA. Remarkably, 64 of his 215 punts (29.8%) have gone for 50 or more yards. His career punting average of 43.7 ranks 13th in the nation among active players and third-best among the group with 200 or more career punts. That figure ranks No. 1 among Mountain West punters and No. 2 all-time at CSU.

TWO-TIGHT END ALIGNMENT: The Rams have started 10 of the 11 games this season in a two-tight end set, with Kivon Cartwright (all 11), C. Gillmore (9) and Austin Gillmore (1). The last time a CSU team had begun a game with two tight ends prior to the season-opener was Sept. 10, 2011 versus Northern Colo. (Crockett Gillmore and Blake Jones). Crockett Gillmore and Cartwright each surpassed 100 receiving yards this season in just three games and 200 yards in seven games.

The last time a Rams team had two tight ends with 200+ yards was 2004 (Joel Dreessen, 427; Kory Sperry, 225).

Two TE sets since 2005: 2012: 10/11...2011: 1/12...2010: 0/12...2009: 0/12...2008: 3/13...2007: 1/12...2006: 12/12...2005: 4/12.

TANYI’S TACKLES: Defensive end Lanston Tanyi, in his first year with the Rams after transferring from Appalachian State, ranks second among Mountain West defensive linemen with 73 tackles. That total ties for second on the team and already is second-most by a CSU defensive lineman in a season since 1988. He has recorded 8 or more tackles six times this year (13, 12, 10 twice and 8 twice). His 13 stops vs. Hawai’i on Oct. 27 were second-most by a Rams defensive lineman since 2005, and most since Jake Pottorff had 16 at Houston in 2007 (Sept. 22).

BEAST OF THE DEFENSE: Junior linebacker Shaquil Barrett has a career average of 6.9 tackles per game in 23 games and has scored three touchdowns in his two years at CSU. His 49-yard interception return for a score ignited the Rams’ 33-11 win over UNLV on Nov. 10. Barrett had 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.

FRESHMAN IMPACT: Redshirt-freshman running back Donnell Alexander has made five starts this year, and in his fourth, vs. UNLV (11/10/12), registered his second 100-yard game in a row with a career-high 139 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries (6.6). He had 114 on 20 carries the week before at Wyoming (11/3), the first 100-yard game by a CSU freshman since 1995 (Jaime Blake, 170, vs. Hawaii). Alexander, who ranks second on the team in rushing yards (475), and leads in yards per carry by a running back (5.1) and rushing touchdowns (3), ranks fifth on Colorado State’s all-time freshman rushing list with one games to play. He added a career-best two touchdowns vs. UNLV (11/10/12).

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 4 vs. Utah State: Sophomore WR Charles Lovett, senior DE Lanston Tanyi, senior LB Davis Burl and sophomore QB Garrett Grayson.
• Game 5 at Air Force: Junior H-Back Jake Levin, junior CB Shaq Bell, sophomore LB Max Morgan & junior LS Tanner Hedstrom.
• Game 6 vs. Fresno State: Senior QB M.J. McPeek, senior T Joe Caprioglio, sophomore CB Bernard Blake & sophomore DT Alex Tucci.
• Game 7 at San Diego State: Senior WR Dominique Vinson, Junior G Jordan Gragert, sophomore LB Aaron Davis & junior DT Curtis Wilson.
• Game 8 vs. Hawaii: Senior WR Lou Greenwood, freshman S Trent Matthews, sophomore S Conner Roggy & sophomore K Jared Roberts.
• Game 9 at Wyoming: Senior LB James Skelton, senior DT Zach Tiedgen, senior T Joe Caprioglio & sophomore TE Kivon Cartwright.
• Game 10 vs. UNLV: Junior T Brandon Haynes, junior LB Shaquil Barrett, freshman RB Donnell Alexander & freshman CB Jasen Oden.
• Game 11 at Boise State: Grad. Student DE Lanston Tanyi, senior P Pete Kontodiakos, senior RB Mark Woodbury & senior TE Austin Gillmore.


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

Game 5--at Air Force (9/29)
College Football Performance Awards, Honorable Mention, National Punter Performer of the Week--Pete Kontodiakos

Game 8--vs. Hawai’i (10/27)
Mountain West Player of the Week--P Pete Kontodiakos (special teams)
College Football Performance Awards, National DB of the Week--DeAndre Elliott
College Football Performance Awards, Honorable Mention, National Punter Performer of the Week--Pete Kontodiakos
National Football Foundation Colorado Chapter Player of the Week--Lanston Tanyi
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Mountain West Player of the Week (online vote)--CB DeAndre Elliott

Game 10--vs. UNLV (11/10)
Mountain West Player of the Week--K Jared Roberts (special teams)
College Football Performance Awards, Honorable Mention, National Defensive Back Performer of the Week--CB Shaq Bell

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 was recognized for the honor at halftime of the homecoming game against Fresno State on Oct. 6. Myers 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 a trophy case so those in the program could continue to recognize and draw inspiration from the special accomplishment Myers achieved as a Ram.

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.