SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Colorado State hadn't played since Halloween
night, and the Rams seemed intent on making up for lost time.
Bradlee Van Pelt threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more
as Colorado State (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) defeated San Diego State 49-21 Saturday
night, the Rams' fifth straight win.
Colorado State scored on four of its first five possessions to
take a 28-6 lead late in the second quarter. The Rams might have
scored on their first five drives, but Van Pelt fumbled the snap at
the Aztecs 6-yard line on their third drive, and San Diego State's
Matthew McCoy recovered.
Coach Sonny Lubick had been a little concerned with the Rams'
long layoff, but the players weren't.
"We knew if we're going to get more rest, we were going to come
out fired up,'' Van Pelt said. "And we showed it on the field.
Everything was clicking. We weren't perfect our first five drives,
but we made the big plays.''
Van Pelt completed 9 of 12 passes for 188 yards and rushed 13
times for 93 yards. He even outgained star running back Cecil Sapp,
who had 80 yards on 20 carries and scored once for the Rams (9-2,
5-0 Mountain West).
"We wanted to make a statement, to go out there and put up some
points,'' Sapp said. "We'd been rolling for the past couple of
weeks, and we didn't want any slackoff.''
Van Pelt said he wasn't too thrilled about his performance
because of the fumble and an interception.
"Little things like that get on me,'' Van Pelt said. "I was
far from perfect. I am satisfied and happy for the team to get a
victory, but I'm not walking away with my head high.''
San Diego State quarterback Adam Hall was carted off the field
with a concussion in the second quarter after he was dragged down
by the facemask by linebacker Drew Wood.
"Losing Hall shell-shocked us a little bit,'' Aztecs coach Tom
Craft said. "Lon Sheriff was thrown into the fire without a lot of
work. He handled it well.''
Lon Sheriff finished at quarterback for the Aztecs (3-8, 3-3),
completing 17 of 32 passes for 228 yards and two TDs.
San Diego State senior J.R. Tolver became the Aztecs' all-time
leader in receiving yards with 3,163. On a 10-yard pass from
Sheriff in the third quarter, Tolver moved past Darnay Scott, who
had 3,139 yards from 1991-93.
Tolver, who caught touchdown passes of 5 yards and 1 yard, also
became SDSU's single-season leader with 1,376 yards, breaking
Patrick Rowe's record of 1,372 yards in 1990.
Tolver, ranked second nationally in catches and yards per game,
finished with 10 catches for 96 yards. Teammate Kassim Osgood,
ranked third nationally in catches and yards per game, had 10
catches for 170 yards and one touchdown.
Van Pelt threw touchdown passes of 11 yards to Henri Childs and
80 yards to Joey Cuppari in the first half, and 17 yards to Matt
Bartz in the third quarter.
On first-and-10 from the Aztecs 31 late in the second quarter,
Van Pelt dropped back to pass but was flushed by blitzing safety
Marviel Underwood. Van Pelt scrambled for a touchdown and a 35-6
lead, with two Aztecs missing tackles at the goal line.
Van Pelt also scored on a 5-yard run early in the fourth
Rams freshman quarterback Justin Holland played one series in
each half and threw a 7-yard TD pass to Cuppari in the second
Hall threw a 5-yard TD pass to Tolver in the second quarter.
Sheriff threw a 34-yarder to Kassim Osgood to pull the Aztecs to
35-14 at halftime, and a 1-yarder to Tolver in the fourth quarter.
"We ran into an outstanding team,'' Craft said. "The past four
weeks, we have been playing teams that have had extra time to
prepare, and that's an advantage.''