Nwoke goes for 269 yards in another CSU loss
Sophomore Chris Nwoke ran roughshod over an opponent for the
second time this month and still walked off the field in
”It is a good feeling to get the yardage. But it is
disappointing that we didn’t get the win,” Nwoke said after
running for a career-high 269 yards in Colorado State’s 45-21 loss
to Air Force on Saturday night.
Nwoke became the first Rams rusher to record a pair of 200-yard
games in the same season. He had 232 in a loss to San Diego State
on Nov. 12.
”I’ve learned patience, to wait for the offensive line to get
their blocks. I have become confident in what they do,” Nwoke
said. ”As you grow, the game is fast, and you see a hole and you
want to hit it. As you get more experience, you tend to start being
patient waiting for those holes and getting those big runs
Nwoke had a 62-yard touchdown run and a 2-yard TD scamper
against the Falcons.
”He was very impressive,” Rams coach Steve Fairchild said.
”You get 29 carries, which is the high end of what we are looking
at. But I think he was over 9 yards a carry. … We knew he had the
ability to run a little better.”
And now the Falcons do, too.
”He’s powerful, he’s hard to tackle, and there were a bunch of
times that he hit us,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. ”And up
front they are really, really good. And there’s times they just
bounce you back just because their offensive line’s pretty darn
Calhoun said those beefy linemen were the reason the Falcons
started out slowly before getting on a roll a 31-point
second-quarter display to take a 31-7 halftime lead.
”As often happens with us, it’s just adjusting to the size of
the game,” Calhoun said. ”I don’t know how we do it, unless we
put cinder blocks in all of our scout team offensive linemen.
That’s just something that’s hard to rehearse for.”
Fueling that second-quarter outburst was Tim Jefferson’s three
TD throws to Zack Kauth that covered 33, 40 and 50 yards.
The Falcons (7-5, 3-4 Mountain West) were expected to have their
best season under Calhoun but a spate of injuries left them
battling for a bowl on their season finale instead. Their
resounding win marked the first time in the program’s history that
Air Force has won seven or more games in five straight seasons.
The Rams (3-8, 1-5) lost their seventh straight game overall and
their sixth in a row to the Falcons, despite Nwoke’s big night.
His 269 yards were the third-most ever by a Rams rusher behind
Tony Alford’s 310 yards at Utah in 1989 and Gartrell Johnson’s 285
against Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl in 2008.
They also were the most yards ever by any player in the 227
games played at Hughes Stadium, which opened in 1968. The old mark
was held by Air Force’s Chad Hall, who gained 256 yards on Oct. 13,
After the Rams drove 87 yards for a score on their first
possession, they managed just 12 more yards before halftime and
entered the locker room down by 24 points thanks to Kauth’s TD
catches that covered 123 yards.
Air Force tied it on the first play of the second quarter when
Kauth raced past cornerback Shaq Bell and hauled in a 33-yard TD
throw from Jefferson.
Kauth slipped past cornerback Momo Thomas and hauled in
Jefferson’s 40-yard touchdown toss in stride to put Air Force ahead
for good, and he beat Thomas again on his 50-yarder that made it
”I wouldn’t say blown coverage,” Rams safety Ivory Herd said.
”It was more miscommunication. We dropped back. We just didn’t
cover the right person.”
Things weren’t much better on offense for the Rams. Grayson, a
freshman subbing for injured starter Pete Thomas (knee), threw an
interception in the end zone, lost two fumbles and was sacked four
The only thing the Rams had going was Nwoke’s runs.
”Nwoke was carrying us,” Grayson said. ”He was carrying it up
the middle and that was our game plan going into this. We knew that
we could run it on them. We knew that on run defense, they were
going to give us a bunch of exotic blitzes. We pounded it early,
but got away from it in the second quarter, and things got out of
The Rams host Wyoming next week in their quest to end their long
losing skid dating to a 35-34 win at Utah State on Sept. 24. Coach
Steve Fairchild has a year and $750,000 left on his contract and
athletic director Paul Kowalczyk reiterated Saturday that he’ll
review his head football coach’s status after the season.
Kowalczyk told The Associated Press that the NCAA’s
recommendation for $2,000 annual stipends for student athletes
beginning in the next academic year would cost CSU about $300,000
in scholarship boosts but that would have no effect on his decision
whether or not to stick with Fairchild.
Connect with AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on