Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 | 10:03 p.m.
All Weber State quarterback Cameron Higgins had to do was take the snap as time was winding down, then fall forward to set up a chip-shot field goal to beat Colorado State.
But Higgins couldn't secure the center-snap exchange. The ball deflected off his hands, and so did the Wildcats' chance for an upset.
Guy Miller recovered the fumble deep in Colorado State territory with 42 seconds left as the Rams avoided an upset by winning 24-23 Saturday.
"It happened so fast," Higgins said. "We tried to change up the stance of the center (Kyle Mutcher) to a four-point stance, and it threw us off. The ball went out of my hands."
Weber State had driven to the Colorado State 11 before the fumble.
"That was a nice little surprise," Miller said of his good fortune. "I fired off the ball and was lucky to see the ball on the ground and to fall on it."
Weber State coach Ron McBride said the play was "just stupid. It was our game to win, and we can't kick an extra point and we can't kick a chip-shot field goal."
Grant Stucker threw for a touchdown and caught a TD pass for the Rams (2-0). Stucker finished 10 of 23 for 203 yards with an interception. His reception was a 40-yarder from wide receiver Dion Morton.
The Rams were 0-for-8 on third-down conversions.
"We were awful for the second week in a row on third-down offense," Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild said.
Higgins was 29 of 47 passing for 258 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Weber State (0-2).
With Colorado State trailing 20-17 at halftime, Stucker was intercepted by Jordan Brown. The Wildcats turned it into a 47-yard field goal by Mike Snoy.
Rams linebacker James Skelton later stepped in front of Trevyn Smith to intercept a pass and return it 18 yards to the Weber State 44. Colorado State reached the 1 on a 42-yard pass from Stucker to Rashaun Greer, and two plays later, Stucker found Eric Peitz in the corner of the end zone put the Rams ahead 24-23 with 8:31 remaining.
The Rams scored first on Morton's 40-yard toss to Stucker and a field goal by Ben DeLine with 2:21 left in the first quarter. The Wildcats countered with a 9-yard TD run by Smith, but Jon Williams hooked the PAT attempt, and it was 10-6.
Colorado State caught a break on its next possession. Leonard Mason fumbled running from the Weber State 3, but center Tim Walter fell on the ball in the end zone with 8:16 left in the second quarter to give the Rams a 17-6 lead.
Higgins and tight end Cody Nakamura took over the rest of the half. Higgins connected on 10- and 14-yard scoring passes to Nakamura to give the Wildcats a 20-17 halftime lead.
"We didn't really play smart enough to win the football game," Fairchild said. "We made enough plays that we were fortunately able to come away with the win."