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Kicker's Return Lifts Rams

Babcock grabs fumble and scores as No. 24 Colorado State defeats Air Force, 31-12.

November 01, 2002|From Associated Press

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Colorado State coaches asked Jeff Babcock to send the second-half kickoff through the end zone.

"I'm glad I didn't," Babcock said.

Air Force's Bryan Blew took Babcock's kick at the goal line and returned it to the 29, where he fumbled.

Babcock scooped up the ball and returned it for a rare touchdown by a kicker as No. 24 Colorado State defeated Air Force, 31-12, Thursday night. It was the third loss in a row for the Falcons (6-3, 3-2 Mountain West).

Cecil Sapp ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams (8-2, 4-0) won their fourth in a row.

Babcock's touchdown -- the first by a Colorado State kicker since 1961 -- gave the Rams a 28-12 lead.

"Scoring a touchdown was the greatest," Babcock said. "The only thing that could have been better would have been kicking a game-winning field goal.

"I reached the end zone and turned, expecting to see the refs whistling the play dead and saying someone was down. I was sure something was going to happen. I didn't think that could come true."

Colorado State quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt said the Rams' sideline erupted when Babcock scored -- with laughter.

"I think our whole sideline laughed," Van Pelt said. "I never saw a kicker run and score before. I don't know who teaches them."

Falcon Coach Fisher DeBerry said he felt good about his team's chances at halftime. Then came Babcock's score.

"I don't know of a worse way in the world to start the second half," he said.

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