SPORTS RAMS RE­CEIVER GAIN­ING NA­TIONAL AT­TEN­TION»

Is Colorado State’s Gallup the best re­ceiver in col­lege foot­ball?

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Kyle Fredrick­son

FORT COLLINS» Michael Gallup hears it all the time, and quite frankly, he’s tired of the praise. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Colorado State wide re­ceiver is eas­ily rec­og­niz­able across town as the na­tion’s lead­ing re­ceiver (1,298 yards). Gallup says it’s all any­one wants to talk about.

Hey, Mike, what’s it’s like to be one of 10 Bilet­nikoff Award semi­fi­nal­ist?

Oh, I didn’t know, man. “And I just keep mov­ing,” he said. That’s Gallup. The unas­sum­ing star. If you’re look­ing for a more brash eval­u­a­tion of his abil­ity, just ask the last Rams re­ceiver to gar­ner this kind of na­tional at­ten­tion. Rashard “Hol­ly­wood” Hig­gins, now a mem­ber of the Cleve­land Browns, is glad to help.

“When (Gallup’s) num­ber is called, he puts on a show,” said Hig­gins, who tal­lied 3,649 yards re­ceiv­ing and 31 touch­downs at CSU from 2013-15. “I feel like for me, it was the same way. Not only that, but we make plays when it mat­ters the most.”

And yet, when the an­nual na­tional honor for col­lege foot­ball’s top pass catcher, the Bilet­nikoff Award, is an­nounced Dec. 7, it is un­likely Gallup will win. A Group of Five re­ceiver has not claimed the Bilet­nikoff since 1998 (Troy Ed­wards, Louisiana Tech), and based on past win­ners’ statis­tics, one num­ber puts Gallup on the out­side look­ing in. Since 2008, the award has gone to a re­ceiver who ranks in­side the top three na­tion­ally in touch­downs. As it stands to­day, Gallup’s seven scores rank No. 33.

“I hope a lot of guys take the time to watch some of his games in­stead of

just look­ing at his stats, be­cause he’s mak­ing an im­pact in every way at the re­ceiver po­si­tion: screens, block­ing, deep routes, in­ter­me­di­ate routes and un­be­liev­able catches,” CSU coach Mike Bobo said. “He’s just tak­ing over ball­games.”

There’s no doubt­ing the le­git­i­macy of Gallup’s Bilet­nikoff can­di­dacy. In con­sec­u­tive per­for­mances against Hawaii, Utah State and Ne­vada this fall, Gallup recorded 28 catches for 563 yards — the most pro­duc­tion over a three-game span in school his­tory. He has eclipsed the cen­tury mark re­ceiv­ing in six of 11 games. And per Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus, CSU quar­ter­back Nick Stevens car­ried a 106.8 passer rat­ing in last week’s home de­feat to Boise State on 16 tar­gets to Gallup, who stepped up with 11 catches for 102 yards and a touch­down.

“I don’t know if any­body else in the coun­try has a guy that does as much for their of­fense as he does,” Bobo said.

Nat­u­rally, Gallup’s suc­cess has bred com­par­isons to Hig­gins, who was one of three Bilet­nikoff Award fi­nal­ists in 2014. It was Alabama’s

Only the best

CSU se­nior re­ceiver Michael Gallup is one of 10 Bilet­nikoff Award semi­fi­nal­ists. Here is how they stack up: Player School Rec. yards Michael Gallup Colorado State 1,298 James Wash­ing­ton Ok­la­homa State 1,158 Steve Ish­mael Syra­cuse 1,131 Keke Coutee Texas Tech 1,064 A.J. Brown Ole Miss 1,015 Trey Quinn SMU 1,008 Deon­tay Bur­nett South­ern Cal 911 An­thony Miller Mem­phis 905 David Sills V West Vir­ginia 856

Darren An­drews UCLA 773 Amari Cooper who took home the tro­phy that year, de­spite Hig­gins fin­ish­ing the sea­son with more yards (1,750) and touch­downs (17) — fu­el­ing a per­cep­tion about the Moun­tain West that doesn’t agree with Gallup.

“At the end of the day, if you can play ball, you can play ball. That’s just pol­i­tics,” Gallup said. “I’m sur­prised I’m even up there. They don’t re­ally give the Moun­tain West much of a chance.”

Satur­day will be Gallup’s final op­por­tu­nity to im­press the Bilet­nikoff com­mit­tee be­fore a Sun­day vote that nar­rows 10 semi­fi­nal­ists to three fi­nal­ists. And if all goes to plan, Rec. 87 53 92 71 62 96 69 67 55 60 YPC 14.9 21.8 12.3 15.0 16.4 10.5 13.2 13.5 15.6 12.9 TDs 7 9 6 9 9 8 9 11 18 10 CSU’s pass­ing of­fense should feast start­ing 1:30 p.m. Satur­day against San Jose State on Se­nior Day, as the Spar­tans are one of only 19 teams in the coun­try to al­low at least 20 pass­ing touch­downs this fall.

It will be Gallup’s last home game in green and gold. And while all fans want to talk about are his statis­tics, the hum­ble play­maker would like to be re­mem­bered for a dif­fer­ent rea­son.

“How much I had fun here,” Gallup said.

Marco Gar­cia, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Colorado State wide re­ceiver Michael Gallup stretches to­ward the py­lon in at­tempt­ing to score against Hawaii this sea­son. Gallup has caught 163 passes for 2,570 yards and 21 touch­downs dur­ing his two sea­sons in Fort Collins.

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