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CSU Linebacker Sisson Back as Defensive Playmaker

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Diminutive Sisson Looks To Continue Imposing His Will

Last Oct. 30, Colorado State linebacker Mychal Sisson treated the New Mexico Lobos like the heavy bag in a boxing gym.

When the afternoon was over, Sisson had eight unassisted tackles, 12 total tackles, three tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.

The Lobos recovered both fumbles, not that it did them much good; CSU won, 38-14.

“I thought they imposed their will on us,” New Mexico coach Mike Locksley said afterward.

No one imposed on the Lobos more than Sisson did that day. But then, it’s not as if he were making a special project of UNM.

Last season, among Mountain West Conference players, Sisson finished second behind San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris in tackles for loss with 15. He led not just the conference, but the nation, in forced fumbles with seven.

All this defensive havoc was wreaked by one of the smaller linebackers on an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision roster. Sisson, from Duncanville, Texas, is listed at 5-foot-11 and 207 pounds.

At last month’s Mountain West media days in Las Vegas, Nev., Sisson was asked if there was a secret to his knack for forced fumbles.

If there is, he’s not saying.

Well, not exactly, anyway.

“Basically, I give all my glory to the defensive line,” he said. “They help me, and our coaches put me in a lot of different positions to make plays.

“It’s just technique from the coaches. They teach you to put your hat on the ball and let it all work out from there.”

Clearly, for Sisson, there is no “I” in “team.”

Yet, as defensive linemen (and coaches) have come and gone, Sisson has never stopped making plays.

Sisson signed with CSU in 2007 as part of former coach Sonny Lubick’s final recruiting class, but never played for him. As a redshirt freshman, playing for current Rams coach Steve Fairchild, he led the team with 105 total tackles and was a consensus freshman All-American.

Sisson has started 35 of the 37 games the Rams have contested since he first suited up. He has been a second-team all-MWC selection the past two years.

Despite his contributions, the Rams have gone just 13-24 during his career. One of the most bitter and damaging defeats was a 29-27 loss to previously winless New Mexico two years ago in Albuquerque.

Last year’s rout of the Lobos in Fort Collins, Colo, Sisson said, hasn’t entirely erased the sting. He hopes to take care of that on Sept. 3, when CSU opens its season at UNM Mexico.

“It could be a stepping stone for the rest of the season,” he said.

If so, it wouldn’t be the first time Sisson has walked all over the Lobos.
— This article appeared on page D10 of the Albuquerque Journal

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