Oct 21, 2023; Annapolis, Maryland, USA;  Air Force Falcons quarterback Zac Larrier (9) drops back to the pocket during the second half against the Navy Midshipmen at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Air Force aims to bottle up Colorado State

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said last week that quarterback Zac Larrier would be “out a while” after being injured in the Falcons’ previous game.

Navy sure wishes Calhoun were right.

Larrier threw for 151 yards, including a school-record 94-yard touchdown pass to Dane Kinamon, as Air Force stayed unbeaten and rose to No. 19 in the Top 25 after a 17-6 win over the Midshipmen in Annapolis, Md.

Larrier and the Falcons (7-0, 4-0 Mountain West) will look to keep rolling Saturday when they make the short trip to Fort Collins, Colo., to face Colorado State (3-4, 1-2).

A knee injury during a 34-27 victory over Wyoming on Oct. 14 put Larrier’s availability in doubt but ultimately did not alter Calhoun’s game plan. Larrier ran the ball 15 times, on par with his per-game average, and threw for his second-most yards of the year.

“They got me ready to play, and I felt ready,” Larrier said of the training staff. “I know my coaches wouldn’t have sent me in if I wasn’t ready or if they didn’t believe I was ready, so they let me get in there. And I’m happy they let me get in there.”

Equally as important was the Falcons’ defense. Navy finished with only 124 total yards, including 78 on a late touchdown drive that foiled Air Force’s shutout bid. The Midshipmen were limited to 22 rushing yards on 35 carries.

The result put the Falcons in the driver’s seat for their second straight Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. A win at home next week against Army would give them their 22nd trophy, extending their series record.

“It’s always a big deal,” Calhoun said. “It just moves you beyond football, too. You have future service members that have made a commitment to do everything they can to make our country a better place.”

Meanwhile, Colorado State is coming off a bitter 25-23 loss last week at UNLV on a 28-yard field goal by Jose Pizano with three seconds left. The Rams took a one-point edge on a 55-yard field goal by Jordan Noyes with 44 seconds left but couldn’t make one final stop on defense.

It was Pizano’s sixth field goal of the day.

“We just made too many little mistakes at critical times that could have helped us either move the ball offensively or get off the field on defense,” said Colorado State coach Jay Norvell. “We didn’t play as well on special teams as we needed to with the field position.”

It was a 180-degree turn from the previous week, when the Rams came up with three touchdowns in the final five minutes, including a Hail Mary on the last play, to stun Boise State 31-30.

Wasted in the outcome against UNLV were 235 passing yards from Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi and seven receptions from Tory Horton, who in seven games already has 65 catches. That puts him on pace to finish with 110 for the year.

Air Force leads the series 38-21-1 and has won 14 of the last 16 meetings, including six in a row.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders on the sidelines in the third quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado’s Deion Sanders gifts shades as jab at Colorado St. coach

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders took to national television Friday to show just how “personal” this weekend’s game against visiting Colorado State has become.

On Wednesday night, Rams head coach Jay Norvell took issue with the pomp and circumstance surrounding the game in Boulder, Colo., with much of the attention cast on Sanders and the 18th-ranked Buffaloes (2-0).

“We had to do a bunch of ESPN videos, and it was great, I loved it,” Norvell said on his coach’s show. “But our kids came out of all those videos really with a chip on their shoulder. They’re tired of all that stuff. They really are tired of it.

“I sat down with ESPN today. And I don’t care if they hear it in Boulder. I told them I took my hat off and my glasses off. And I told them, ‘When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and my glasses off.’ That’s what my mother taught me.”

Sanders responded with a spirited speech to his team in Thursday’s practice, with the term “personal” being repeated multiple times by both himself and the team.

Sanders continued on Friday by presenting Prime 21 sunglasses from Blenders to every player, and gifting the same to the hosts of ESPN’s “First Take” and “The Pat McAfee Show.” Sanders has been known throughout his decorated career for his “Prime Time” nickname.

“I don’t like that it happened because this is another (Black) coach,” Sanders told McAfee. “”We started out right? He was complimenting me, I was complimenting him, but it just took a quick left. What happened? Who got to him?

“After what he said previously, it threw me off and I started, I really started to contemplate, what happened? Why would you go into that direction? You know me, you know how I get down. If we really want to talk, I can do this. I’m pretty good at this, but I don’t need to, because the kids, they’re ready.”

Sanders’ youngest son and Colorado quarterback, Shedeur, and cornerback Travis Hunter also addressed the situation on “First Take.”

“All respect (is) gone,” said Shedeur Sanders, who leads the nation with 451.5 passing yards per game. He also has six touchdown passes and no interceptions.

“We know he’s got a lot of pressure, and we’re the players that have to go out there and handle the pressure for him,” Hunter said.

Colorado State (0-1), which plays out the Mountain West Conference, was thumped 50-24 by Washington State on Sept. 2.

The Rams have dropped 24 consecutive games against ranked opponents since beating then-No. 7 Colorado in 2002 during Sonny Lubick’s tenure as their coach.

Colorado State has lost the past five meetings — the most recent was in 2019 — in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA;   Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) rolls out to throw a pass against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Conference preview? Washington State visits Colorado State

The seismic shift in college sports over the summer has left the Pac-12 gutted and the few remaining schools mulling new conference options.

Washington State is one of those teams in limbo, and it could get a glimpse into its future when it opens the 2023 season at Colorado State on Saturday night in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Cougars have been linked to several conferences since other schools have left the Pac-12, and one of those is the Mountain West Conference. So Saturday’s matchup could be a preview of a conference game starting next season.

Washington State finished 7-6 last season (4-5 Pac-12), capped by a loss in the LA Bowl to Fresno State.

The Cougars are the favorite going into Saturday’s matchup and will try to answer some questions in the game.

One is the offensive line. Head coach Jake Dickert plans to use a rotation of players to help protect junior quarterback Cameron Ward.

“We haven’t done that in my history here,” Dickert told the Spokesman-Review. “But I think guys are going to be better playing 50 to 60 snaps a game, having a really desired role on the team and then attacking that role each week. So that’s kind of the plan going into it and we’ll be able to adjust on the fly.”

The Rams were 3-9 last season, head coach Jay Norvell’s first with Colorado State, and it included a 38-7 loss at Washington State. The poor record has a silver lining — it matches Norvell’s record in 2017, his first at Nevada, and the team went 8-5 the following season.

Norvell sounded confident his Rams can make such a leap in 2023.

“We expect to win,” he told the Denver Post. “Is that seven games, is that eight games, is that nine games? I don’t know. I just know this: We’re better at every position, we’re a full inch taller at every position. I can’t say that at any program that I’ve ever been in. Physically, our profile is more of what (my staff) looks for.”

–Field Level Media

Washington State Cougars defensive back Sam Lockett III (0) recovers a fumble by Wisconsin Badgers tight end Clay Cundiff (not pictured) against Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Chimere Dike (13) and Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Jake Ratzlaff (25) late in the fourth quarter during their football game Saturday, September 10, 2022, at Camp Randall in Madison, Wis.

Mjs Apc Badgersvswash 0910221722djp

Washington State looks to continue trends vs. Colorado State

Washington State and Colorado State are going in different directions starting off the season under new coaches heading into Saturday’s game at Pullman, Wash.

The Cougars, in Jake Dickert’s first full season as permanent coach after he led the program on an interim basis for the latter half of 2021, are coming off a 17-14 win last week at then-No. 19 Wisconsin.

Washington State’s Cam Ward went 17 of 28 for 200 yards with two interceptions in the upset victory, which earned the Cougars (2-0) votes in the AP Top 25.

Colorado State lost to Middle Tennessee State 34-19 at home to drop to 0-2 under Jay Norvell, who was hired away from Nevada after last season. The Rams are suddenly trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2010.

Norvell said he called meetings with some of his players Monday after the turbulent start of the season, which launched with a 51-7 loss at Michigan.

“I think we still have a ways to go in understanding the type of preparation you have to have,” Norvell said. “Good football teams all over the country, they come back and watch film, they’re getting with their coaches, they’re spending extra time, really sinking their teeth into the game plan.

“We’ve got some guys who have done that; we’ve got some guys who don’t understand that at all.”

Washington State showed it is in sync with Dickert his staff by topping Wisconsin at Madison, Wis., in front of 80,000 fans.

“We believed we could do it,” Dickert said. “This wasn’t some upset of a lifetime. … We just kept throwing things at them. You can never do just one thing against a good run team.

Washington State’s defense limited Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen to 98 yards rushing, just the second time in his last 11 games that was held below 100.

“I’m so proud of our run defense,” Dickert said. “To not give up a huge, explosive run — which is something their offense really depends on — is important.”

Now the Cougars will line up against a CSU offense that has managed 72 net yards rushing on 73 attempts this season – an 0.99-yard average that ranks 130th out of 131 in the nation. That stat is certainly influenced by Colorado State quarterbacks being sacked 16 times — the most in the nation, or about once for every two completed passes (36).

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Colorado State Rams quarterback Todd Centeio (7) throws a pass against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Iowa rebounds to defeat Colorado St.

Spencer Petras threw a pair of touchdown passes Saturday as No. 5 Iowa recovered from a halftime deficit to post a 24-14 victory over Colorado State in Iowa City.

Keagan Johnson and Sam LaPorta each had a TD catch for the Hawkeyes (4-0), who were favored by more than three scores after beating two ranked foes (No. 17 Indiana, No. 9 Iowa State) in their first two games and trouncing Kent State in last week’s contest.

But things did not come easy for Iowa, which barely outgained Colorado State (278-262) and lost the time of possession battle, 31:18 to 28:41. The Rams (1-3) converted nearly half of their third-down opportunities (11 of 23), while the Hawkeyes managed to convert only four of their 13 chances on third down.

Petras finished 15 of 23 for 224 yards, while Tyler Goodson rushed 18 times for a game-high 57 yards.

Colorado State’s Todd Centeio was 16 of 30 for 155 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing score.

Trailing 14-7 at intermission, Iowa took advantage of a fumble by A’Jon Vivens that gave the Hawkeyes the ball just 6 yards from the end zone. On the next play, Tyrone Tracy Jr. scored to draw the hosts even at 14-14 midway through the quarter.

The Rams did nothing on their next possession and Charlie Jones returned the ensuing punt 38 yards to set up the Hawkeyes, who needed only three plays to cover 41 yards. Petras capped the short drive on a 27-yard hookup with a wide-open LaPorta.

Caleb Shudak kicked a 45-yard field goal early in the fourth to create a 10-point lead, and Colorado State never seriously threatened thereafter.

Following a scoreless first quarter, Iowa got on the board early in the second as Petras found Johnson streaking down the right sideline for a 43-yard touchdown.

Colorado State drew even with 3:55 to go in the half as Centeio scored on a 10-yard run.

On the next drive, Petras was intercepted by Robert Floyd, who returned the ball 62 yards to the Iowa 23. Centeio cashed in with 24 seconds remaining in the half as he found Gary Williams for a 3-yard TD.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras (7) in action during the third quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Iowa aims to keep rolling vs. Colorado State

With its highest ranking in nearly six years, No. 5 Iowa is putting a variety of impressive streaks on the line Saturday when it hosts Colorado State in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes (3-0) have won nine games in a row overall and have captured 14 straight nonconference contests (including bowls). They also have scored at least 25 points in nine consecutive games and have allowed 24 points or fewer in 25 straight games.

Tyler Goodson ran for three touchdowns in Iowa’s 30-7 rout of Kent State last Saturday. He scored on touchdown runs of 46, 35 and 2 yards for Iowa, which is averaging 33.9 points during its nine-game winning streak.

“We have a good offense and we have guys that can make plays,” Goodson said. “From this day, we have to take the momentum and get better and better throughout the season.”

Iowa’s first two wins came against ranked foes Indiana and Iowa State. Spencer Petras threw for under 150 yards in each of those victories, but he set season highs for passing yards (209), completion percentage (69.4) and completions (25) against the Golden Flashes.

Goodson had a rushing score in each of the first two games but had only 154 total rushing yards in the two contests. He nearly matched that figure with 153 rushing yards against Kent State.

“We still have a lot of things to work on,” said Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz, whose team hasn’t been this high in the rankings since it was fourth in November 2015.

“The execution is still not there. But yeah, there were some good things going on, kind of subtly. It was good to get Tyler going a little bit better.”

Defensively, Iowa has six interceptions — tops in the Big Ten and second nationally. The defense has accounted for a score in every game, totaling 20 points overall (three touchdowns and a safety).

Colorado State coach Steve Addazio has been impressed with the Hawkeyes’ physicality on both sides of the ball.

“I think we have to play a clean, consistent game. I’m looking for that. I want to see our physicality against what many would say would be one of the most physical football teams in all of America,” Addazio said. “I mean, you’re (ranked) five, you’re four steps from one. They’ve always been a physical team. This is not a new phenomena. I played against them. I know exactly what we’re up against.”

Addazio’s squad opened its season with home defeats against South Dakota State and Vanderbilt. The Rams (1-2) bounced back last Saturday with a 22-6 road win over Toledo, as Thomas Pannunzio returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown and Cayden Camper kicked five field goals.

David Bailey ran for 132 yards and likely will be a focus of Colorado State’s offense on Saturday.

“I think our team’s excited (and) we’re looking forward to this challenge,” Addazio said. “We’re not naive, we know how good this football team is. I mean, it’s pretty evident, they’re the No. 5 team in the country and they should be. But, in the same breath, we’ve got to focus on us. We’ve got to get better again this week.”

–Field Level Media

Colorado State defensive lineman Scott Patchan (1), and defensive back Rashad Ajayi (4) attempt to stop Vanderbilt's quarterback Ken Seals, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Canvas Stadium.

Ftc 0911 Ja Csu Vanderbilt Fb 005

Vanderbilt beats Colorado State with field goal in closing seconds

Joe Bulovas connected on a 38-yard field goal with 19 seconds left Saturday night as Vanderbilt rallied from an early two-touchdown deficit to nip Colorado State 24-21 in a non-conference game in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Commodores drove 40 yards in eight plays, aided mainly by a pair of 15-yard penalties on the Rams. Bulovas’ kick evened Vanderbilt’s record at 1-1 and presented new coach Clark Lea with his first career win.

Colorado State (0-2) tied the game with 3:07 left when Todd Centeio hit Trey McBride with a 3-yard touchdown pass. Centeio completed 20 of 38 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while rushing for 75 yards on 11 carries. McBride finished with eight catches for 114 yards.

Commodores quarterback Ken Seals overcame a slow start to hit on 26 of 41 attempts for 236 yards with two scores. Re’Mahn Davis rushed 17 times for 77 yards, while Cam Johnson grabbed eight passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Colorado State controlled most of the first half, taking a 7-0 lead just 2:03 into the game when Centeio found David Bailey for a 3-yard touchdown pass. The margin reached 14-0 when Bailey ripped off a 20-yard scoring run 52 seconds into the second quarter.

Vanderbilt’s offense, which was shut down by FCS opponent East Tennessee State last week in a season-opening 23-3 loss, finally found a rhythm late in the second quarter. Seals threw for 48 yards on a 58-yard drive, connecting with Chris Pierce on a 20-yard strike over the middle with 47 seconds left in the half.

Seals’ hot hand continued into the third quarter as he hit 6 of 7 passes on the tying touchdown drive, teaming up with Johnson for a 9-yard score at the 9:36 mark.

After a 3-and-out, Seals exploited the Rams’ secondary again for completions of 25, 11 and 15 yards before his 1-yard sneak with 5:32 remaining gave the Commodores their first lead.

–Field Level Media