Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School alumnus Ben DeLine said it was the best moment of his college career.
It was a pretty sweet one for Colorado State University, too.
DeLine, a standout kicker for the Steamboat Springs High School football team before graduating in 2008, booted a 35-yard field goal for CSU as time expired Saturday to give the Rams a 36-34 win against the University of Idaho. It was the team’s first victory in more than a year, snapping a 12-game losing streak.
“The locker room after that game was a cool place to be,” DeLine said. “Kicking that game winner, that definitely ranks up there with my fondest memories so far.”
What made the kick all the sweeter and all the more important was an extra point DeLine had missed a few minutes earlier in the fourth quarter.
Colorado State had scored with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 6 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
DeLine, who already had converted two field goals in the game, including a 30-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 27, had a chance to tie things up again with an extra point.
He missed, however, pushing the chip shot wide right.
“I just got a little too lax,” said DeLine, who said he was immediately eager for a chance to redeem himself. “I was thinking, ‘Get me back in there. If they don’t score a touchdown, get me back in. Nothing would make me happier than to get back out there.’”
He got his chance.
“After that (point after touchdown) went wide right, I was not going to miss the next, just for the team especially,” DeLine said. “For the team and the coach or for any personal reason, I wasn’t going to miss it.”
DeLine, a junior with the 1-3 Rams, has made seven of his nine field goal attempts this year and 23 of the 30 attempts in his college career.
Saturday’s was only the second that he’s ever won a game as time expired, he said, even including his years kicking in Steamboat.
Winning Saturday’s game might have been a big deal for Colorado State, but if DeLine and the Rams can make it two in a row, it will be a big deal across the nation.
The Rams welcome Texas Christian University, the No. 5-ranked team in the nation, for a 12:06 p.m. game Saturday in Fort Collins.
“They’re a beatable team,” DeLine said, “but they’re a really good team. It would be awesome if we could go out there and show them what for.”
— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org