The Rams 28-20 victory over Utah on Saturday left a big mess in Salt Lake City. The loss was the fifth straight defeat for Utah head coach Ron McBride’s team, and even before the CSU game, there had been talk in Utah media sources of the losing streak costing the veteran coach his job.
“What more does a guy have to do?” CSU head coach Sonny Lubick said Monday at his weekly media luncheon. “I think it’s bad. I’m not going to say ‘That’s the way it is,’ because it shouldn’t be that way. Ron McBride’s a heck of a football coach, he’s proven himself.”
Several Utah players, with tears in their eyes, defended McBride after the game.
“He’s a good coach,” wide receiver Paris Jackson said. “All these people talk (trash) about him. It’s not right.”
Starting quarterback Brett Elliott insisted that any talk of the losing streak costing the 13-year head coach his job was not justified.
“We were going to win it for Coach Mac,” Elliott said. “All the headlines and stuff, talking about how he’s going down – we wanted to win it for him. I feel so bad that we didn’t.”
McBride, however, was reserved following the game and said he wanted his players to concentrate on their upcoming game with New Mexico, rather than his job status.
“They can’t worry about that, they just got to worry about playing football,” McBride said. “In this life, you get whatever comes your way and you accept it and you do your thing. Sometimes you’re on a roll where you can’t miss and sometimes you have some things like this happen where you just can’t seem to get to where you need to go for some reason. But you can’t ever lose sight of what you believe in and what you want.”
Possibly the most valuable player on the field for the Rams on Saturday was punter Joey Huber. Despite a season that has been marred with inconsistency and a dreadful 2-yard punt in Reno, Huber came up huge for the Rams in Salt Lake, averaging 47.3 yards per punt. He was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for the effort against the Utes.
“I can’t remember a game in my whole career when I’d been consistent like I was today,” Huber said. “It’s usually the times when I try to hit it harder that I end up shanking it, so today I was focusing on doing what I normally do and not trying to press.”
Five of his six punts were downed within the Ute 20-yard line, including the 72-yard bomb that had everyone talking after the game.
“That one punt midway through the fourth quarter, a 72-yarder, that was a thing of beauty,” Lubick said. “Joey Huber just had a very exceptional day. That was huge for us because field position played such a critical part of that football game.”
Wide receiving weapons
Wide receivers Joey Cuppari and Chris Pittman and H-back Joel Dreessen have each caught at least one pass in every game this season. Dreessen has caught at least one ball in 18 straight games dating back to last season, the longest active streak for the Rams.
Despite having only five catches on the season, tight end Matt Bartz leads the Rams receivers in touchdowns. Bartz scored his third touchdown of the season in the first quarter against the Utes.
-Edited by Jon Ackerman and Josh Hardin