Nick Fisher had no idea he was going to have a chance to make an impact on the biggest game of the season for the Colorado Buffaloes.
Given the opportunity, however, the sophomore safety delivered in a big way during CU's 38-24 win against Washington State.
"Tonight, my team needed me to step up and I tried to do that for them," Fisher said.
Going into Saturday, Fisher had played 39 defensive snaps all season, with 25 of them coming in mop-up duty during a 56-7 win against Idaho State on Sept. 10. In fact, Fisher had played just 96 defensive snaps during his career, registering just five tackles.
On Saturday, he was thrust into action when starter Afolabi Laguda was ejected for a targeting penalty on Washington State's first touchdown, with 7 minutes, 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
"I was nervous getting thrown right into it," he said. "After a couple plays, I was looking in (Tedric Thompson's) eyes and a couple of the other guys' eyes and they were like, 'We got this; make it like practice,' so I could be comfortable."
In the second quarter, Fisher broke up a Cougar pass at the goal line, forcing them to settle for a field goal.
Early in the fourth quarter, Fisher made one of the biggest plays of CU's season. Moments after CU had taken a 28-24 lead, Washington State went for it on fourth-and-4 from the CU 18-yard line. Luke Falk completed a pass to Kyle Sweet, and Fisher dragged him down for a 3-yard gain to end the threat.
"My guy was going vertical and I was just looking at the quarterback and I see a guy coming underneath and no one was covering him," Fisher said. "My first instinct was just to go shoot right now and he threw the ball and I made sure I wrapped up. It's a great feeling, the crowd is roaring and all the hairs on your back stand up."
Head coach Mike MacIntyre said Fisher's tackle "was really one of the turning points of the game."
Fisher finished with a career-best six tackles.
"Fisher has so much potential that he doesn't even know about," CU senior corner Chidobe Awuzie said. "When he's out there making those plays, it doesn't surprise me and it shouldn't surprise him either, because he can do so much more. Those are the type of plays we've come to expect from Fisher. Hopefully down the road he keeps making these plays and really reaches his potential."