DENVER (AP) — Phillip Lindsay ran for 140 yards on 19 carries and Colorado capitalized on a flurry of debatable judgment calls by the Pac-12 officiating crew in a 17-3 victory over Colorado State on Friday night in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
The Rams (1-1) were whistled for three pivotal offensive pass interference flags after making key catches either in the end zone or close to it and a hands-to-the-face foul. Altogether, the calls negated two touchdown throws from Nick Stevens to go with catches at the Colorado 5- and 15-yard lines.
The Rams, who opened their season and new on-campus stadium with a 58-27 win over Oregon State last week, lost to the Buffaloes (1-0) for the third straight time.
The Rams were rocked by the offensive pass interference call on Olabisi Johnson’s 21-yard catch at the 5 on Colorado State’s opening drive, quickly surrendering 17 points before settling down.
In the second half, the Rams watched two long touchdown throws nullified in a three-play span to the chagrin of the team and its green-clad fans.
First, Detrich Clark’s 27-yard TD grab was negated by offensive pass interference. Two plays later, Johnson’s 40-yard touchdown catch was wiped off by a hands-to-the-face flag on offensive lineman Jeff Taylor.
Lastly, a 33-yard grab at the 15 by Michael Gallup was wiped off by yet another questionable offensive pass interference flag, this one drawing an especially loud rebuke from Rams supporters in the crowd of 73,932 at the Denver Broncos’ stadium while CSU coach Mike Bobo stared on in disbelief.
After the first offensive pass interference call pushed the Rams back and eventually forced a punt, the Buffaloes scored on three consecutive possessions.
Wyatt Bryan’s 31-yarder pulled the Rams to 17-3 at the half.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Colorado State cornerback Kevin Nutt had a pair of interceptions on passes Montez threw to Devin Ross. The first one at midfield was bobbled by Ross and wrested away by Nutt, whose second interception came in the end zone.
DOUBLE TROUBLE II: Stevens was sacked on his final two snaps of the first half. After freshman Jacob Collier dumped him for an 8-yard loss, the Buffaloes ran off the field toward their tunnel. But the Rams called timeout to give Stevens a chance at a Hail Mary on fourth-and-23 from the Buffs’ 46.
He was smothered by linebacker Rick Gamboa for a 10-yard loss as time expired.
COLORADO STATE: The Rams will try to rebound like they did last year, when the lost to the Buffs 44-7 to open their season but bounced back to go 6-5 and earn their second straight bowl berth.
COLORADO: The Buffs are hoping to show their 10-4 season last year wasn’t a fluke and a big win over their in-state rival is a good way to start.
COLORADO STATE: The Rams host Abilene Christian next weekend before their big game at Alabama on Sept. 16.
COLORADO: The Buffaloes’ next three games — against Texas State, Northern Colorado and Washington — are all at Folsom Field.