It might have been their worst performance of the season, which made the victory all the more special.
Colorado State climbed to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Western Athletic Conference - and to No. 24 in the latest Associated Press poll - with a 19-17 win over San Diego State in Fort Collins on Saturday.Four weeks into the season, the WAC still boasts two undefeated teams.
While the Rams remain the front-runner, they aren't finding it easy to put distance on their pursuers. Utah also stayed unbeaten, going 4-0 and 1-0 with a 41-7 rout of Wyoming in Salt Lake City.
Brigham Young, upset by CSU two weeks ago, got back on the winning track by outlasting New Mexico 49-47 in Provo to give coach LaVell Edwards his 200th career victory. The Cougars are 3-1 both overall and in the WAC.
After four non-conference games, Fresno State went to 1-0 in the WAC (3-2 overall) with a 31-16 win over Hawaii in Honolulu.
The remaining WAC contest found Air Force bombing Texas-El Paso 47-7 in San Antonio.
In conference play next weekend, CSU plays at winless New Mexico, Air Force travels to San Diego State, and Hawaii is at UTEP.
CSU, aroused by a disputed SDSU punt return for a touchdown, converted two turnovers into two scores in the third quarter en route to its seventh straight victory.
"I've heard that the mark of a good football team is to play ugly and win," junior linebacker Garrett Sand said. "That's what we did today."
Anthoney Hill ran for one touchdown and passed for another. Sand, one of 15 San Diego-area players on the CSU roster, had a fumble recovery and an interception to spark CSU's 13-point third-quarter outburst.
The bizarre play came when CSU's Steve Standifer appeared to be downing a punt and teammate Prentice Davis slid into it. The ball squirted out and, as CSU players eased up thinking the play was over, Ray Peterson scooped it up and dashed 37 yards for the score with 9:51 remaining in the third quarter, giving SDSU a 10-6 lead.
Sand called the return "the real turning point of the game. From that point on, there was no way we were going to lose. We felt cheated in a way."