FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The last time Earle Bruce won a football game as a Division I coach, he beat Michigan in his Ohio State farewell, the Saturday after he was fired.
There won't be another one like that as long as he lives, but Bruce got one with a bit of sweetness to it Saturday, guiding Colorado State to its first victory in his three-game tenure as coach by beating Cal State Fullerton, 42-14, in front of 20,098 at Hughes Stadium.
Colorado State lost on the road to two nationally ranked teams, Tennessee and Colorado, in its first two games.
The Rams took a 14-point halftime lead but saw Fullerton trim it to seven in the third quarter before breaking open the game with three fourth-quarter touchdowns.
"I'm really pleased with our first win," said Bruce, who was fired at Ohio State in 1987 and coached at Division I-AA Northern Iowa last year. "That's the way we want to do it."
It was not at all the way Fullerton wanted to do it. The Titans committed seven turnovers, including four interceptions by starting quarterback Dan Speltz and a fumbled punt reception at their own 16-yard line that quickly became a Ram touchdown.
"When you've got a mediocre team and you turn the ball over seven times, you don't expect to win," Fullerton Coach Gene Murphy said. "I don't care if it's football, baseball or dominoes."
With the Titans' help, Colorado State rolled to only its third victory in the past 27 games.
Saturday's victory broke a six-game losing streak dating to Oct. 22, 1988, when the Rams beat San Diego State. Before that victory, the Rams had lost 11 straight.
They had not scored so many points since the third game of the 1986 season.
Fullerton now must contemplate a nonconference season that has gone awry.
The Titans were fortunate enough this season to get a break in a brutal nonconference schedule that has included Florida, Louisiana State, West Virginia and Wyoming in recent years and will include Auburn and Georgia in the next two.
This year, the Titans had four opponents who combined to go 17-27 last season. A 4-0 start seemed possible; 3-1 would have been acceptable. But after three games, the Titans are 1-2, with the only victory a come-from-behind victory over Division II Cal State Northridge.
The Titans lost to Northern Illinois in their opener, and will finish the nonconference season against San Diego State Saturday.
"I guess the objective of any head football coach is to win every game you play, but if you don't win, you expect to get better as a football team," Murphy said. "We got better individually today, but I don't think we got better as a team."
Todd Yert, a Mission Viejo High School product, scored four touchdowns, all from three yards out or less, tying a Titan record he set two years ago.