FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) – Nick Stevens threw for 289 yards and five touchdowns in his first career start, and Colorado State rolled past Savannah State 65-13 on Saturday to give Mike Bobo a victory in his head coaching debut.
The rout would have been worse but with little more than five minutes remaining, Colorado State return man Jordon Vaden, flapping his arms sideways to celebrate what would have been a 100-yard kickoff return, dropped the ball an instant before crossing the goal line. The ball rolled into the end zone for a touchback, giving possession to Savannah State.
Four of Stevens’ scoring passes came in the first half, when Colorado State bolted to a 45-7 lead over the Tigers, who lost their 22nd game in a row in a streak dating to September 2013. Stevens was lifted in favor of backup Coleman Key after throwing his fifth touchdown, a 12-yarder to Joe Hansley early in the third quarter that gave the Rams a 51-7 lead.
PHOTO GALLERY: CSU Rams 65, Savannah State 13
Colorado State led 38-0 before the Tigers got on the board with a 63-yard scoring run by Richard Williams late in the second quarter. It was the first touchdown scored by the Tigers since the third quarter of their game against Howard on Nov. 8, 2014.
Colorado State began the runaway with a defensive touchdown 47 seconds into the game, when linebacker Kevin Davis pounced on a fumble in the end zone, the result of a second consecutive botched shotgun snap.
The Rams’ offensive display quickly followed.
Stevens, who completed 20 of 28, also had scoring passes of 9 yards to Kivon Cartwright, 12 yards to Rashard Higgins, 35 yards to Xavier Williams and 4 yards to Jasen Oden.
Deionte Gaines added an 18-yard touchdown run for Colorado State, which won its school record ninth home game in a row.
Savannah State’s Tino Smith finished 6 of 14 for 50 yards with an interception.
Colorado State defensive end Martavius Foster had three sacks, the first of his career.
Stevens played sparingly last season as the backup to Garrett Grayson, now with the New Orleans Saints.
Bobo, an assistant for 14 years at Georgia, his alma mater, took over at Colorado State after Jim McElwain left to become head coach at Florida following a 10-win campaign by the Rams last season.
– By DENNIS GEORGATOS, Associated Press
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