FORT COLLINS — Maybe Steve Addazio needs to try coaching the rest of the season by Zoom. From Cape Cod.
Hey, it’s a small sample size, we’ll grant you. But isn’t it funny? The farther the Daz was from his CSU football players on Saturday night, the leaner, meaner and better the Rams generally looked.
First quarter, with Daz in the press box nursing what the sports communication staff described in a news release as a “lower leg injury”: Rams 13, Boise State 0.
Second quarter, Daz still in the press box: Rams 16, Boise State 7.
Final, Daz down on the sideline: Boise State 28, Rams 19.
“Tale of two halves,” Addazio said after his CSU squad dropped its second straight heartbreaker on Saturday night, this one at Canvas Stadium, and its 11th in a row to the Broncos, all-time, without a win. “We had our opportunities.”
Here’s the good news: If the Rams’ coaching staff spends more time in the coming days working on red zone plays and less of it reading mean tweets, they’ve got a shot at hanging on to the Bronze Boot.
The bad: New week. Same culprits.
Special teams mistakes. Ill-timed penalties. Chip-shot field goals where touchdowns should’ve been. Explosion pass plays going over defenders’ heads. Opponents marching on long drives — two 97-yarders, in this case. Enough little things (again) that combined (again) to overshadow a strong night (again) by quarterback Todd Centeio (276 passing yards, 65 rushing yards).
The Rams (3-5) are about six or seven plays away from bowl eligibility. But they’re also three wins short with only four games left on the docket. November looms, and the calendar doesn’t care how many times you’ve come close.
From tight end Trey McBride (10 receptions, 103 yards) to Centeio and return ace Thomas Pannunzio, CSU, to a man, has an easy team to like. Just not when their coach suddenly, without warning, closes its practices off to local media, a trick Addazio pulled from this past Tuesday through the end of the week.
“It was more of an issue of being locked in and getting ready to play Boise,” the coach explained after the Broncos loss. “I felt like we needed to really make sure we had our complete focus (on the game). So that was our decision.”
And let’s give belated credit where it’s due. The wounds from The Mayhem At Maverik Stadium still fresh, Adazzio took questions professionally via Zoom after the debacle against Utah State. If Buffs coach Karl Dorrell had lost a game in that fashion, that dramatically, that comically, he might’ve punched the nearest mascot on his way up the tunnel.
Daz tried to thread the needle, claiming that the kids on the field-goal team ran out on their own, without parental supervision, before admitting, ultimately, those same kids are his responsibility.
Naturally, he took a beating from Tacoma to Tallahassee. Whether it was the news conference this past Monday or the Twitter snarks that broke the camel’s back, Daz wouldn’t say. Not to us, at least.
Wagons circled, the tenor of the week shifted from bemusing to surreal a few minutes before kickoff, when CSU put out a news release to explain why the Daz would be coaching one of the biggest games of a roller-coaster season from the press box instead of on the field. Doctor’s orders.
“I couldn’t be on my leg for that length of time,” Addazio explained. “So I did exactly what (the doctors) said that I should do. I followed those instructions.”
And from the outset, at least, the view from the crow’s nest worked like a dang charm. For the first 20-25 minutes, the Rams appeared air-tight. The hosts scored on their first three drives en route to a quick 13-0 lead — two chip-shot field goals with a gorgeous 30-yard touchdown pass from Centeio to Cameron Butler sandwiched in between.
Meanwhile, the Broncos of Boise bore an eerie resemblance to the Broncos of Denver. Whupped at the line of scrimmage. Secondary a step late. Mercurial tackling. Dumb penalties. And maybe none dumber than the flag Boise’s Divine Obichere incurred after throwing tailback David Bailey to the sideline with 1:04 left, which put the ball at the Boise 6. The Rams kicked their third field goal of the first half three plays later, taking a 16-7 cushion into the break.
But the two-score lead had the locals nervous, and with good reason. On its first six possessions, the Rammies had a first-and-goal at the Boise 7, first-and-goal from the Boise 4 and first-and-goal from the Boise 6, only to come away from nine points, total, for their troubles.
Those are the kind of fine margins that can get you beat, even at home. Sure enough, those points CSU left on the field came back to bite the coach with the bad leg squarely in the backside.
A one-handed, all-time catch from McBride up the right boundary midway through the third quarter would’ve given the hosts, who led 16-14 at the time, possession at the Boise 17. Instead, a holding call wiped the whole thing out and pushed the ball back to the CSU 34.
Three plays later, the Rams punted. Boise marched 97 yards the other way to take its first lead of the evening.
Even the things CSU fans could count on started going sideways. With 11:23 left in the tilt, the Rams’ all-world punter Ryan Stonehouse got stonewalled by Boise’s Brandon Hawkins, who took a free path straight over the snapper for the block to give the Broncos the ball at the Boise 38.
Six plays later, the Broncos were back in the end zone, and a half-full Canvas Stadium — announced crowd: 25,221 — sighed before scattering, slowly, into the cold October winds. It was that kinda night. Been that kinda year.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)