Last summer Colorado State third-string running back Chad Dixon worked two jobs, as a supervisor at a Mexican fast-food joint and as a waiter at a Holiday Inn, and still fit in workouts with his teammates. That's the life of a walk-on who's struggling to pay tuition, a life Dixon endured for three years without complaint—and without appearing in a game. He was the only senior who didn't play against Air Force on Senior Night, as the Rams call their last home game. Coach Sonny Lubick told Dixon he would try to get him in at New Mexico, the last game of the season, but when the Lobos rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie the game, Dixon never left the sideline.
With the Rams leading North Texas 31-14 and 13:34 remaining in the New Orleans Bowl, backup running back Henri Childs ran to the one-yard line and lost his right shoe along the way. "When Coach Lubick looked around [for a replacement], I was the only back standing there," Dixon says. "I usually stand around the offensive coaches. You never let your hopes die." On first down Dixon's number was called, but he was stuffed for a one-yard loss. On second down he thought the play was a halfback pass when, in fact, it was a toss sweep. "I ran the wrong play, but I was going in the right direction," Dixon says. "I saw my receiver blocking, so I saw an alley and fought to get into the end zone."
Dixon was so excited about scoring that he circled the end zone. "As a walk-on, you don't feel like you're completely part of the team," he says. "I remember looking over at the sideline and seeing everybody looking at me. They actually cared that I scored."