FORT COLLINS — Joe Parker’s dented too many fenders to point fingers. But the more CSU’s athletic director thought about that fiery 12-car pileup in Pullman, the one that lit up college football’s express lane Friday night, the more he appreciated his call to keep the Rams trucking along the local.
“I love what (coach) Jay (Norvell) is doing,” Parker told me Saturday after CSU’s 30-20 win over Nevada pulled the Rams (5-6) to within one win of a bowl berth with a game to play. “I believed in him the moment that we had our first conversation through the (interview) process.
“And every day he just affirms that he’s got an incredible way to kind of focus on the things that matter. And what matters most is culture, building a program where every player in the locker room understands the points that they’re going to be held accountable for. And when it becomes less of coach leading those conversations, but more of the players really holding themselves and each other accountable, in a way, that’s healthy.”
CSU football’s coming. Loveable. Flawed. But still coming. The Rammies are creeping in the slow lanes, lurching ever forward. In September, Norvell’s squad averaged 10 penalties per game. In November, that number’s been trimmed to 6.3 flags a week. Giveaways have dipped from 2.5 per game in September to two per tilt in November.
That said, It feels as if the Rams are sometimes throwing the ball to try and prove a point when running it more might actually score them. You’d prefer to see the game in the hands of freshman tailback Justin Marshall — he’s piled up 217 rushing yards on just 37 carries the last two weeks — than in the mitts of fearless but erratic quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, truth be told.
That said, the latter’s strung together a quietly nice year (20 touchdowns thrown and 3,143 passing yards) with all kinds of upside bubbling underneath that skinny frame. When BFN is on, the kid’s touch is sublime. When he’s off — the Texan’s tossed 15 picks, and his two at Wyoming proved fatal — or gets locked into “hero mode,” best hide the sharp objects.
“I think he has to really get a handle on his process of playing,” Norvell said of Fowler-Nicolosi. “And when you’re a young player, I think you kind of think you’ve got it handled. But you really have to prepare yourself for all those situations. And he’s a young excitable guy. He’s full of confidence. We don’t want to take that out of him. But he just has to control his process to be a more consistent player week-in and week-out.”
Most nights, the Rammies are an enigma strapped to a roller-coaster. Yet this is also the healthiest CSU has been come late November in six years. That’s both a compliment to Norvell and a scathing indictment of the mess he inherited, a program at 5,003 feet fighting rug burns.
The hosts were far from superlative against Nevada, but the superlatives kept rolling in anyway. CSU just capped its first November with multiple victories since 2016. Its four wins at home were the most since 2017, when Canvas Stadium opened. Attendance for the woebegone Wolf Pack — 20,121, roughly 55% of capacity — was the highest for a CSU home football finale in six years.
Basically, the Rams are clearing some awfully low bars. Which is still good, even if the good’s hugging an asterisk. The next step?
“We really want to go undefeated (at home), to be honest with you,” said Norvell, whose postseason fate hinges on a sneaky-tough tussle at Hawaii (4-8) next Saturday. “But we want to play well in front of our home fans. We want to play well and get that good feeling when we’re in the stadium.
“And I’m gonna be honest — at the beginning of the year, it wasn’t (there). We did not have that good feeling in Canvas. But we’ve developed it and we’ve worked for it, and I believe we have it now.
“We want people to have a hard time when they come here. We want it to be a tremendous atmosphere. And I think we can be. And we have a lot to look forward to next year, (given) the schedule, and the type of atmosphere this place can be. And we’re excited about that.”
CSU lost by 26 points at home to Washington State in Week 1. CU just lost by 42 to those same Cougars in Week 12. Discuss.
“I think Jay has built a really strong model,” Parker said. “I see it every day.”
He smiled. Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race. Then again, what’s the point of being easy to find if you’re so dang hard to watch?
Colorado Mines back in D-II football semifinals after running over Central Washington
The Colorado School of Mines football program is two wins from a national championship — again.
And this time, the Orediggers had to grind it out.
Riding a rushing attack that racked up 255 yards, Mines scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to beat Central Washington, 38-14, at Marv Kay Stadium on Saturday afternoon and claim its third straight regional title.
With the win, the Orediggers moved to 13-0 for the first time in program history and locked up a third consecutive NCAA D-II semifinal trip as the No. 1 overall national seed.
Next up is Kutztown (12-2), which beat Slippery Rock 28-16 in its regional final, next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Golden. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. The other semifinal will pit Harding (13-0) against Lenoir-Rhyne (13-1). Get through that gauntlet, and the Orediggers will win their first national title.
Saturday did not produce a vintage John Matocha game through the air (225 yards, one interception on 16-of-25 passing), but the Orediggers more than made up for it by gobbling up chunks of turf on the ground.
Noah Roper and Landon Walker each ran in a pair of touchdowns, and Matocha added one of his own. Matocha (15 carries, 104 yards) and Roper (21-105) both crossed the century mark rushing as the Orediggers outgained CWU, 480-214.
The Mines defense also rose to the occasion, shutting out Central Washington (9-4) with three takeaways and allowing just seven yards total on the ground.
While Central Washington never led the game, the Wildcats did manage to tie it at 14-all going into halftime on quarterback Kennedy McGill’s 13-yard strike to Darius Morrison. McGill finished the game with 207 yards, two TDs and a pick on 16-of-33 passing.
After stopping CWU on a three-and-out to start the third quarter, Mines marched 65 yards for the go-ahead touchdown: a fourth-and-goal Walker score from the 1-yard line off a Wildcat formation.
Zach Hester stripped CWU’s Tyler Flanagan soon after, which the Orediggers cashed in for a 27-yard Hunter Pearson field goal. Jackson Zimmermann followed with a fourth-down pass break-up to set up Mines’ next score: a 1-yard Matocha run that gave Mines a 31-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Roper’s second and final touchdown with 46 seconds to go was just icing on the cake.
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December is Denver’s coldest month and 3rd snowiest
DENVER — December is a festive month as the holiday season goes into high gear. And perhaps we have only this month where snow is a welcome site. But how much snow should we expect in Denver in December? The short answer: not as much as you might think.
However, what we lack in snowfall, we make up with cold temperatures as the monthly mean for Denver is only 30 degrees. It’s Denver’s coldest month. And when we say cold, we mean c-cold!
The coldest it has ever gotten in Denver in December was -25 degrees. That bone-chilling temperature was recorded on both the 24th of 1876 and the 22nd of 1990.
The daily normal high temperatures for December hold fairly constant starting with a high of 45 degrees and ending the month with a normal high of 43 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
For low temperatures, December in Denver begins with a normal low of 19 degrees and finishes with a low of 17 degrees. But it’s not always cold outside, baby.
The warmest temperature ever recorded during December was 79 degrees on the 5th in 1939. That’s not a very festive temperature, but nearly 80 degrees in December does sound nice.
Let it snow!
And what about the white stuff? Well, December is Denver’s third snowiest month. We only collect, on average, 8.5 inches of snow. But the month is capable of producing some big storms, like the record-breaking snowfall we got in 1913.
Starting on the first of the month and ending on the 5th of that year, the heaviest and longest-duration snowstorm in Denver’s history dumped a total of 45.7 inches of snow!
That 1913 storm shut down the city for days and it wasn’t fully back on its feet for an entire month, according to the Denver Library Genealogy, African American & Western History Resources. City workers removed roughly six billion cubic feet of snow!
An article written by Brian K. Trembath on the library’s website states the event caught the city off-guard. It started with just a few inches a day, but by the fourth day, it began to dump, shutting down the city’s entire streetcar system.
“Fortunately, Denver’s other utilities, including phone systems, the electrical grid, and the water system worked without major problems,” Tremboth wrote.
Photos on the Denver Library’s archive show just how much snow fell and how the city dealt with what — unbeknownst to them at the time — would be the city’s biggest snowstorm.
What about are least snowiest December? In 1995, not one significant snowfall was recorded for the entire month in Denver. Here are five other Decembers where barely any snow fell:
- 0.1″ 1928
- 0.4″ 1890
- 0.5″ 1935
- 0.7″ 1977
- 0.7″ 1895
An El Nino winter?
You may have heard after three winters of cooler than average water conditions, we now have “warmer” and that’s called El Nino out in the Pacific Ocean. The El Nino effect puts a lot of energy into the atmosphere and it tends to change how the jet stream flows.
With the El Nino climate pattern, we tend to get more of a split Jet stream and more of a west to east flow. That is important because that tends to block the colder air up in Canada and we can get fewer Arctic outbreaks.
Mike Nelson has the 30-day outlook in the video below:
December weather outlook
December weather outlook
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Free and cheap things to do in Denver in December
Pet photos with Santa
Santa Claus knows when your furry family members are being naughty or nice. Make them part of all your holiday traditions, including getting a photo with the big guy. Both Petco and PetSmart are hosting events for pets to meet Santa. Santa is making an appearance at Petco at select locations on Dec. 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. On Dec. 16 and 17, PetSmart is hosting its Paws & Claus photo event from noon to 3 p.m. (Hours may vary by location at both stores, so check first.) Reservations are required at PetSmart. The Shops at Northfield (I-70 and Central Park Boulevard) in Denver are hosting a meet-and-greet with Santa on Dec. 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. petco.com; petsmart.com; shopsatnorthfield.com/events
Target gift cards
This weekend is right on target for holiday savings. On Dec. 2 and 3, get 10 percent off Target gift cards in-store or online. The offer is only available to Target Circle members. The one-time-use discount is only valid for a single transaction, so make sure all of the gift cards (in whatever denominations) are purchased at the same time. target.com/circle
Snarf’s SAMta event
Snarf’s Sandwiches is offering customers a chance to meet SAMta. Who? Sam is part of the trio (including Bev and Chip) that make up the popular local sandwich shop’s famous mascots. The 9-foot-tall Sam is making his first appearance as at Snarf’s Sandwiches (1490 S. Broadway) in Denver on Dec. 3 from 1 to 5 p.m. Each child will receive a free gift bag; the first 100 children will also go home with a free Snarf Scarf. Plus, a photographer will be on-site taking free photos to share. For more places around town to meet Santa Claus, visit milehighontheheap.com/meet-santa-denver-boulder. eatsnarfs.com
Holiday Pie Palooza
Sample, sip and shop your way to a tasty solution for the perfect holiday treat or gift. The Holiday Pie Palooza is Dec. 7 at the Kitchen Network (1895 Quebec St.) in Denver. From 5 to 8 p.m., the evet includes free tastings from local dessert businesses, beverage tastings, food trucks, a pie eating contest (with prizes!), a DJ and performances by students from the Denver School of the Arts. Participating vendors include Hinman’s Pies, D-Bar, Dirt Coffee, Bully Boy Baking, The Helping Hen, Totally Nutz and others. Tickets are $10 at the door or $7 online. Kids 5 and under get in for free. Proceeds benefit the Denver School of the Arts. eventbrite.com
Visit the Village
The Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Event Center (25690 E. Quincy Ave.) in Aurora is the site of Visit The Village on Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Holiday revelers of all ages can spend the day strolling through a Village Marketplace with local craft and artisan vendors; enjoy make-and-take crafts; meet with Santa; take horse-drawn carriage rides; and participate in lots of children’s activities (including a petting farm). Treats available for purchase. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased onsite. Children 2 and under are admitted for free. One member per family can get in for free by donating a new, unwrapped gift for any age. arapahoecountyeventcenter.com/visitthevillage
Boulder’s Freezie Fest
Celebrate winter and all things snowmen in Downtown Boulder (1300 Pearl St.). This year’s annual Freezie Fest is on Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy visits with Santa, train rides on the Snowflake Express, holiday crafts and loads of festive family activities along the Pearl Street Mall and beyond. Freezie Fest is also the last day to play Find Freezie. Find as many Freezies as you can in downtown Boulder businesses for a chance to win a gift card. boulderdowntown.com/light-up-the-holidays/events/freezie-fest
Superior Winter Festival
The Superior Winter Festival is a two-day extravaganza on Dec. 9 and 10 at the Superior Community Center (1500 Coalton Road) from 1 to 5 p.m. each day. The weekend celebration will offer something for everyone — naughty or nice. Shop local vendors (including food) at the Winter Market. Plus, families will enjoy meeting Santa, a reindeer encounter, riding The Polar Express, live music and more. Admission is free. superiorchamber.com/winter-festival
Teriyaki Madness BOGO
Chicken teriyaki lovers should get ready to be “bowled over.” Teriyaki Madness is celebrating National Chicken Teriyaki Day with a sweet (and savory) deal. On Dec. 11, buy a Chicken Teriyaki Bowl and get another bowl for free at the eatery. The offer is only available for Mad Rewards members. Join on or before Dec. 10 to enjoy the discount. Plus, every loyalty member who places on order on Dec. 11 will be entered to win free bowls for a year, with up to 25 winners. There are 12 locations in Colorado. teriyakimadness.com/national-chicken-teriyaki-day
Hundreds of tubas, euphoniums and other low-register brass instruments spread holiday cheer on Dec. 17 at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The holiday music is in the air from 11 a.m. to noon as part of TubaChristmas 2023, a nationwide series of free concerts performed by local, volunteer musicians. Afterward, jump on the free 16th Street Mall shuttle and explore downtown for holiday shopping and more festive fun. Thankfully the event is on Sunday because metered parking is free in Denver that day. tubachristmas.com
Many people fear the dentist not because of pain, but because of the expense. Comfort Dental is giving a generous gift to those who otherwise cannot afford care. On Dec. 23, the dental network is hosting its annual Care Day with free services from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Patients are assisted first-come, first-served, so plan accordingly. Choose from a variety of basic dental services, from a cleaning to an extraction. More serious issues are handled individually at the staff’s discretion. There are dozens of locations throughout Colorado. comfortdental.com/care-day
Recycle holiday lights
If you have broken, burned-out or impossibly tangled sets of holiday lights, don’t just throw them away in the trash. Recycle them for free instead. Thanks to Denver’s recycling program, locals can recycle holiday lights from Dec. 1 to 31 at two different locations – Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-Off (intersection of S. Quebec and E. Cherry Creek South Drive) and Blue Star Recyclers (953 Decatur St.). Days and hours vary by location. Light strings and wires for incandescent, LED, and icicle lights are all acceptable. Bubble (liquid-filled) or neon lights are not accepted. denvergov.org
More freebies, discounts and deals at MileHighOnTheCheap.com. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org 14 to 21 days in advance.
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