Colorado State was blown out by Air Force Saturday 42-21 Saturday as the Falcons ground game flew high for 459 yards and four touchdowns.
In the game, CSU’s starting quarterback Garrett Grayson was injured, getting crushed as two Air Force players fell on him at the same time and his left (non-throwing) shoulder took the brunt of the weight. Following the game, he told reporters he broke his left collarbone on the play, meaning he’ll miss multiple weeks if not the rest of the season.
And when Grayson was forced from the game, senior M.J. McPeek came in and jump started the Rams offense.
On his first throw, the first play of the second quarter, McPeek dropped a 55 yard TD right over the shoulder of a wide open Lou Greenwood down the left sideline. It was CSU’s first score of the day, and brought the game from 21-0 to within two scores. That was good.
His next two throws were wildly underthrown. Those were bad.
But he bounced back on his third drive, throwing a high ball for the tall Marquise Law to go up and get. A few plays later he hit Kivan Cartwright across the middle for 16 yards to continue the Rams move downfield. On the next play, the senior overthrew a wide open Dominique Vinson in the endzone, which would have been a score. But a few plays later, on third and seven from the six yardline, McPeek threw it low to tight end Crockett Gillmore, who slid in and caught a 13-yard touchdown. More good by McPeek.
Air Force fumbled the ball and the Rams recovered on their own 40. He completed two passes in a row but the ball was fumbled back to Air Force, who scored again. McPeek went 11-15 151 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, which was really just over a quarter of play.
In the second half, McPeek started out slowly but continued to play efficiently, until he threw an interception that was way over the intended receiver’s head. The pass wasn’t close to anyone in a green and gold and gave the Falcons a short field to score on. That was the ugly.
He didn’t let that break his confidence though, going 3-5 on the Rams next drive including a 58-yard strike to Lou Greenwood down the middle of the field. CSU scored three plays later, capping off a 95-yard TD drive with a Kivon Cartwright fumble recovery touchdown to make it 35-21. That drive was good, really good, and the team’s longest of the year.
But, a little later, McPeek threw another interception as he forced a pass into a receiver, that was tipped and picked. Another ugly play, one that ended the Rams’ chances of winning.
The quarterback finished the game going 22-34 (64.7 percent) for 292 yards and two scores, along with those two interceptions.
Overall, McPeek played well considering he hasn’t been taking first-team snaps all season long, and that this was the most game action he’s seen in his four year career.
The senior stood tall in the pocket, he kept his eyes focused downfield and wasn’t afraid to make throws and make plays for the offense, a good sign for Colorado State moving forward.
McPeek may be asked to play for the rest of this 2012 season, and certainly for the next few weeks at the least, with Grayson’s collarbone break. If he can find a way to play more consistently and eliminate those turnovers, the Rams figure to have opportunities to win games.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist. You can follow Rich on facebook or twitter.