DENVER — Colorado State senior middle linebacker James Skelton is well versed in the rivalry with the University of Colorado and that’s what made last Saturday’s Rams victory special.
“I grew up watching this game since I was five years old,” said Skelton, who was credited with five tackles in the 22-17 win. “My brother went to school here. I have no words for what the win means. I’ve been a Ram my whole life.”
Skelton, who graduated from Chatfield High School, was one of 65 former Colorado high school players listed on the rosters for both teams (37 on the Rams roster and 28 on the Buffs roster).
“Just knowing that both teams have a lot of Colorado guys gives the game a little more edge,” said Skelton.
“It makes you want to win that much more.”
Two local players who had an impact on the CSU triumph were freshman wide receiver Joe Hansley from Highlands Ranch High School and sophomore place kicker Jared Roberts from Mullen.
However, neither player was allowed to talk with the media because of CSU’s restrictions.
There are only 34 CSU players who can do interviews. Freshman and new players are off limits.
Hansley, listed as fourth on the depth chart, caught two passes for 40 yards including a swing pass from quarterback Garrett Grayson that went 32 yards for a touchdown to give CSU a 16-14 lead with 8:37 left in the third quarter.
“What you saw today is what he’s been doing all camp,” Grayson said of Hansley. “We’re going to use him in all different ways. We’re all excited about him and he has a bright future here.”
Hansley also carried the ball once and gained four yards.
Roberts, a native of Littleton who was awarded a scholarship Aug 23, kicked field goals of 47, 49 and 32 yards .
“He did that all spring and he did it in the fall,” head coach Jim McElwain said. “The reason you are a kicker is you’re supposed to make it and he did.”
CSU’s starting running back Chris Nwoke, a junior from ThunderRidge, left the game in the third quarter with what McElwain described as an ankle injury.
“The guy has a bad ankle,” said McElwain.
“Someone else had to step up. That hurt us a little bit because he’s (Nwoke) a good football player. He wanted to be out there.”
Nwoke carried the ball 11 times for 47 yards before leaving the game.
He also caught two passes to stretch his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 14.
Three local players who contributed to CU’s defense were linebacker Jon Major (Ponderosa), safety Parker Orms (Wheat Ridge) and linebacker Brady Daigh (Mullen).
Major had six tackles while Orms and Daigh each had four. Daigh also forced a fumble.