POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 28, 2012
FORT COLLINS, Colo. » The disappointment of the Hughes Stadium crowd was music to UH defensive back Marrell Jackson's ears.
Time and again Saturday night the assembled 16,573 played Jackson's tune.
"I loved it when they went ‘oooh' and ‘ahhh' because it meant I did something good," Jackson said.
And the freshman from Miramar, Fla., did plenty, forcing two fumbles, blocking a punt and making a team-high nine tackles to give the Warriors some of their best chances to make more of the night than the 42-27 defeat they left with.
"Coaches tell me to just do my job and that the sound from the crowd will tell you if you did it good or bad," Jackson said. "But when I hear the (road) crowd groan like that, I always get excited by the sound 'cause I know I did something really good."
Jackson set the stage for the Warriors' first touchdown — and first lead since the Lamar matchup the second game of the season — by forcing a Chris Nwoke fumble at the CSU 12-yard line that Jerrol Garcia-Williams ran in for a score.
"I saw how he was holding it and went for the ball," Jackson said. "My eyes just led me to the ball."
In the third quarter, Jackson again forced Nwoke to cough up the ball at the CSU 28-yard line. But UH eventually failed to push it in from the 2-yard line.
Later in the period, Jackson partially blocked a Pete Kontodiakos punt that gave the Warriors the ball at the Rams' 35 that UH turned into a field goal.
"I just tried to make a triangle with my hands and get as much of the ball as I could," Jackson said. "My hands were cold and it stung a little, but it felt good to get us the ball."
Coach Norm Chow said, "He's really coming along as a young player for us."
Saturday night reminded Jackson of just how far he has come in more ways than one.
"It was pretty cold there, not like home (Florida)."
Said defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer: "He's one of those young guys (in the secondary) who is really working hard and making plays for us."
Lister had a clue
UH running back John Lister said he had a "hint" something was up when CSU kicker Jared Roberts slowed up on a second-quarter kickoff, but never imagined he'd get a 43-yard return to the Rams' 2-yard line out of it.
"It is called a middle dribble (kick) and they must have seen something they thought we weren't good at and tried to take advantage of it," Chow said.
Lister said, "The coaches teach us to stay home until the kick, and when he slowed up I was glad I did because the ball bounced right to me. I was leaning forward to try to get some yards from it, but when two defenders went right past me I saw the opening and went for it."
After he caught his breath, Lister said he was kicking himself for not getting the touchdown.
"I was a little tired and ran out of gas," he said. "My focus was mainly ball security, clamping it down so I'd hang onto it."
Four plays later quarterback Sean Schroeder scored from the 1-yard line to close UH to 28-21.