Hey, CU Buffs! Until you want it as badly as Jay Norvell’s CSU Rams wanted it at Nevada, you’re never getting off Loser Island.


The Buffs woke up Saturday all alone on Loser Island. I mean, CSU didn’t even leave a note.

Thanks to a kicker named Michael Boyle, a defensive back named Ayden Hector, a tailback named Avery Morrow and the fact that Nevada coach Ken Wilson is a giant doofus, CU (0-5) is now the only program in the Football Bowl Subdivision without a victory.

The Rams (1-4) got off the schneid late Friday with an ugly, scrappy, Bronco-esque 17-14 victory in Reno. Offensive-minded Jay Norvell notched that elusive first win at CSU, snapping a 10-game program losing streak in the process, on the backs of two defensive touchdowns and a field goal. Of course.

“Definitely a lot of frustration, but the end goal was just finish no matter the cost,” Morrow told CSURams.com after the game. “We really wanted this win bad.”

The loudest fireworks at Mackay Stadium launched during warm-ups. As cameras closed in, Norvell and successor Wilson exchanged heated words, going nose-to-nose with all the brotherhood of a UFC weigh-in.

The evening stayed on a knife’s edge the rest of way. Not surprising, given the baggage.

Norvell is to Reno what Mel Tucker is to Boulder, only the Wolf Pack’s version is still on the league’s fight card. Feelings were raw on both sides over accusations that the first-year CSU coach crossed the line in luring some of the cream of Nevada’s roster to follow him east.

Wilson took a 2 x 4 to the hornet’s nest when he criminated Norvell for raiding his roster and telling Nevada players “not to play in the bowl game and (telling) players to go to the NFL Draft.” (Wideout Tory Horton and quarterback Clay Millen, both Wolf Pack transfers, countered that Wilson was full of baloney.)

Nevada legend/crabby grandpa Chris Ault poured gasoline on proceedings when he referred to the proliferation of former Pack players on the CSU roster as “The Green Infection.” It was deliberate, shameless triggering, a not-so-veiled reference to the exodus of then-Pack coach Jeff Horton to rival UNLV in 1993, a move dubbed “The Red Defection” a generation earlier.

In that context, it proved remarkable in hindsight that no actual punches were thrown between the white lines. The most delicate moment probably came with 9:16 left in the third quarter, as Horton got shoved into the home sideline.

Once there, Nevada offensive lineman Jacob Nunez appeared to make an awkward situation worse by nudging the smaller Rams receiver straight into the metal benches behind them.

Nobody threw a flag, of course. As a literal Pack of black jerseys closed, Horton fortunately thought better of striking back against 50-to-1 odds. Flanked by referees and teammates, a path was cleared for him to jog back to safety.

And for once, football karma remained stalwart. Hector, a Washington State transfer, opened the scoring with a pick-6 with 9:03 left in the first and stayed at it all night, recording eight tackles, two quarterback hurries, and breathing down the neck of Nevada signal-caller Nate Cox from the jump.

While Rams freshman QB Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi doggie-paddled through 78 passing yards and two interceptions, Morrow, another of those “infection” imports, kept CSU afloat with single-game collegiate highs in rushing yards (168) and carries (24).

On Boyle’s first crack at a game-winner from 48 yards out as time expired flew wide left, but a pile of Nevada defenders landed at his feet once the ball was away. Officials called the hosts for running into the kicker, moving the ball five yards closer.

Boyle nailed his second attempt to end the tilt, a high-arcing rainbow from 43 yards out. A lifeline.

“There was a lot of talk and this and that,” Morrow told CSURams.com. “We came out with the (win), and that’s all that matters.”

While Nevada got what it deserved, Buffs athletic director Rick George really let a golden opportunity slip through his fingers last Sunday when he handed coach Karl Dorrell a pink slip.

Want to put CU football back on the national map? Want to get the locals genuinely jazzed about the Buffs again? Why not turn the rest of this lost 2022 season into college football’s first coaching reality show?


Source link