Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, CSU Rams creep closer to bowl eligibility with 30-20 win over Nevada

FORT COLLINS — Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi wasn’t just getting outplayed by Brendon Lewis. He somehow found himself getting outgunned.

“I don’t lose confidence,” CSU’s redshirt freshman quarterback said of a rocky middle two quarters of a 30-20 win over Nevada on Saturday in the Rams’ regular-season home finale at Canvas Stadium.

“There’s no loss of confidence. I really know the player I am, who I can be.”

The lithe Texan showed it down the stretch, completing five of his last seven throws in the fourth quarter and using his arm — and legs — to preserve the fourth home victory for the Rams (5-6, 3-4 Mountain West), who can clinch bowl eligibility with a win at Hawaii (4-8, 2-5) next weekend.

Fowler-Nicolosi’s afternoon, like the game itself, wasn’t pretty. The CSU signal-caller misfired on 10 of 15 pass attempts in the second and third quarters as a 20-3 Rams lead evaporated into a 23-20 nail-biter to start the fourth stanza on Senior Day.

“I thought (Fowler-Nicolosi) was inconsistent today,” CSU coach Jay Norvell said of his young signal-caller, who was 15 for 30 on the afternoon for 245 yards and two scores through the air. “He wasn’t as sharp as he needs to be, and I think he’ll be the first one to tell you that. But he did make some big plays and some big throws.”

Despite some misfires in the pass game, the Rams were able to take advantage of the Mountain West’s worst rush defense to pile up 169 yards on the ground on 34 carries. The tally included six runs in the game’s final 3:54 that forced the Wolf Pack to burn three timeouts and helped notch a fifth win on the season, the most at CSU since 2017 (7-6).

“(Saturday) was hard,” chuckled Norvell, whose record in two seasons in FoCo improved to 8-15. “It’s hard, man — it’s hard to win games.

“But I’m very proud of our guys. And I know that they have more in them. I really do. I believe in our team, I believe in our players. We have some tremendous leaders on this team and they really want to lead this team to a successful season.”

CSU ultimately the won the day, but not without some physical costs along the way. Bruising tailback Avery Morrow left the game after scoring the game’s opening touchdown, with a lower-body injury that Norvell described as a possible hip-pointer, one that required hospitalization.

While the Rams started fast and finished strong, the middle was a muddle. And aesthetically, if you wondered what 2020 Rocky Mountain Showdown that never happened — thanks, COVID — might’ve looked like, Saturday offered something of a tease.

Different offense, at least where the Rams were concerned. But the Pack had a familiar feel.

That was because Nevada coach Ken Wilson turned the reins of his offense over to Lewis, who played QB for the CU Buffs from 2020-22. The redshirt sophomore entered the portal last Oct. 17 — before Coach Prime showed up and cleaned house in Boulder — and …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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