The Game I'll Never Forget: Mason Crosby

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A game-tying field goal. Then a game-winning kick. All part of a total of 20 points put up over the final 2 1/2 minutes by two rival schools.

No wonder Mason Crosby, who also turned 21 that day, will never forget his Colorado Buffaloes' 2005 season opener against Colorado State.

"It was one of those games with everything, total excitement the whole time," said Crosby, the kicker drafted by the Packers in the sixth round this year. "One of those games that just sticks in your mind, and one of my best experiences playing football."

Most of a record crowd at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo., was pretty down after three quarters, with the home Buffs trailing 21-10. But the rally started with a long touchdown run and two-point conversion in the opening minutes of the final period.

Then, with just 2:32 remaining in the game, Crosby was called upon to drill a 48-yard field goal to tie the score at 21. It appeared one more score should win the game, right? But this wild finish was just getting started.

Two plays into Colorado State's next possession, Colorado intercepted a pass and returned it to the CSU 23-yard line, setting up a one-play scoring drive for a 28-21 lead with 1:30 left.

Then CSU countered with an 80-yard touchdown march in just 54 seconds, re-tying the score at 28.

Colorado returned a squib kick to the 40 and had just 30 seconds to work with. A 22-yard pass and an 8-yard run put the Buffaloes on the CSU 30, and it was the birthday boy's turn again. This time Crosby hit from 47 yards out with just 4 seconds left for a wacky 31-28 Colorado victory.

It was Crosby's first true game-winning field goal, and he would go on to hit another one, from 50 yards, later that season as Colorado began the year 6-2 before a rough finish.

"At the time I didn't think about it, but after I took a breath after the game, it was one of those things where it started us on the right track," Crosby said. "We had a pretty good year. We kind of fell off at the end, but I felt that kind of set the stage, and the rivalry made everything a little more intense and more exciting."

That rivalry between Colorado and Colorado St. doesn't attract as much attention nationally as Michigan-Ohio St. or USC-UCLA, but Crosby said to those involved, the rivalry is plenty intense.

"It was usually our first game, and everything would build up to that pretty much the whole summer," Crosby said. "It was a great way to kick off the season.

"You get kind of immersed in it. CSU plays in a lower-ranked conference and stuff, but they stepped up and played, every time we played them."

Having to answer the bell not once, but twice, with his strong right leg late in the game was another stepping stone in a stellar college career for Crosby. To perform like that in a rivalry game, on his 21st birthday, simply made the celebration that much sweeter.

"It was personally awesome for me, but the team win was unbelievable," he said. "So many guys made so many great plays, it was one of those days everything was going right.

"Just that whole fourth quarter was kind of unreal. We were down 11, but we finished it off, and that's what that rivalry brought. No team was ever out of it."

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