At 5,000 feet above sea level, the human body experiences a decrease in oxygen.
On Saturday in Fort Collins, Colo., Illinois State’s football team took the air out of stadium with 26,000 fans in it.
The Redbirds (3-0), ranked 15th in the FCS coaches’ poll entering the game, racked up 538 yards of offense to steamroll FBS foe Colorado State, 35-19, in a game that ISU led since the second quarter.
The victory followed up ISU’s win at FBS Northwestern in 2016.
“We just came out and played harder and faster,” junior running back James Robinson, who rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns, told WJBC radio after the game.
After falling behind 6-0 in the first quarter, ISU used its impressive offensive balance to take a 14-6 halftime lead on scoring runs of 2 yards (Robinson) and 1 yard (Markel Smith).
Quarterback Brady Davis threw for 271 yards and two TDs, including a 12-yard scoring pass to Tylor Pekovitch in the third quarter.
Leading 21-13 heading into the fourth quarter, ISU put the game away with a 60-yard, Davis-to-Smith screen pass for a score and a 57-yard Robinson TD run.
“The linemen opened up a really big hole on that one,” Robinson said.
The Redbirds’ O-line opened plenty of holes throughout the day, helping ball carriers average 6.4 yards a carry.
“We handled them up front,” ISU head coach Brock Spack said. “Our kids really rose up.”
Colorado State coach Mike Bobo apologized to CSU fans in the postgame press conference.
“We’re not very good right now,” he said. “It was an embarrassment. They broke tackles. They finished runs. I was worried all week about their offense.”
5 Stats That Stood Out
2 – Sacks for sophomore defensive end Romeo McKnight, a transfer from Iowa.
10 – Career-high tackles from ISU senior linebacker Zackary Matthews.
51.4 – Average yards per punt by J.T. Bohlken, who punted seven times for ISU in the win.
111 – Career-high receiving yardage total for ISU’s Andrew Edgar, a redshirt freshman.
267 – Rushing yards for the Redbirds against CSU, the most in a game since piling up 299 last season against Youngstown State.
Illinois State opens Missouri Valley Football Conference play on the road at Missouri State. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Springfield, Mo. The game will air on ESPN Plus.