Sarkisian went on to throw two more touchdown passes during BYU's second win of the season.
The Rams, however, mounted a late-game rally that fell just short. CSU scored three TDs in the 4th quarter Ñ the last coming with 1:38 left in the game Ñ but had no time outs left to stop the final seconds from ticking off the clock.
With the win, BYU improves to 2-1 in the WAC. CSU drops to 1-1.
POST GAME NOTES:
BYU QB Steve Sarkisian finished the game with 254 yards on 17 of 32 passing with 3 TDs and 2 INTs.
Sarkisian's day was not a total bed of roses. He was driven to the turf four times for negative 22 yards by CSU defensive end Brady Smith. "I thought (Brady) played hard all game," CSU coach Sonny Lubick said. "He was the one guy who seemed to have good footing out there. He got some sacks and pressured the quarterback all day." Smith recorded all of the Rams' sacks today, and tied the school record with four.
CSU wide receiver Paul Turner hauled in four passes for 56 yards and two TDs. His best pass came when he dove to haul in a Daren Wilkinson pass with one hand in the 2nd QTR.
CSU back up Moses Moreno replaced Wilkinson in the 4th QTR and threw for 128 yards on 8 of 14 passing. Two of Moreno's passes went to Turner for touchdowns. One possible reason for Wilkinson's shaky start (2 of 7 for 20 yards in the first half) was the fact that he ripped his right contact lense on the game's first play. An unfortunate turn of events, but it may have been a blessing. The scoreboard was not a pretty sight for most of the game. "We were counting on this game to get us into the lead for the WAC," Wilkinson said. He finished the game 7 of 18 for 80 yards with 2 INTs.
Third-down conversions may have been the key to this game. BYU converted 42 percent of its, while CSU only converted 8 percent."We couldn't get it done on third down," Lubick said.
The Rams gained 14 total rushing yards on the day. E.J. Watson finished with 35, but Wilkinson and Moreno each finished with negative 10. Turner was pushed back for negative 2, and Damon Washington picked up positive one.
The CSU injury report: WR Paul Turner (right shoulder sprain) is probable for Utah State; WR Ronald Antoine (left hamstring pull) is day-to-day; LB Karl Ballard (right shoulder sprain) is probable; DT Kirk Bowman (left knee Ñ torn ACL last week) will undergo surgery this week.
BYU has now beaten CSU eight straight times at Hughes Stadium.
Today's attendance, 33,650, is the fifth largest in school history. All temporary bleacher seats were sold out early in the 1st QTR. No standing room only tickets were sold.
Cornerback Ray Jackson's INT is the 14th of his career, tying him for second on the school's all-time list. He is one shy of tying Selwyn Jones for first.
CSU's 204 total yards is the lowest total by the Rams since they gained 168 in a 30-3 loss to San Diego State in 1993.
All of the WAC teams, except leader Utah, have at least one loss in the conference. "We'll have to play every game as hard as we can," Lubick said. "As far as the race goes, there's too many games left to think about that."
"We did everything we could to make it exciting in the last four minutes," Cougars' coach LaVell Edwards said. "This was a great victory."
"It wasn't fatigue," Ram free safety Greg Myers said about the defensive letdown in the second half. "Air Force was a much tougher game physically."
CSU MLB Karl Ballrd continued his assualt on opposing offenses. He finished today with 14 tackles, and had 23 two weeks ago against Air Force.
The Rams will travel to Utah State next week, and return to WAC action at Utah on Oct. 14.
RAMLINE STAFF for today's Game
Brian Clark, Writer
Josh Brauer, Producer
Shane Isaminger, Photographer