Conference Awaits the Rams

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Sep 302004
 
Authors: Preston Cagle

The Mountain West Conference battle finally hits Fort Collins on

Saturday, as the Brigham Young Cougars visit Sonny Lubick Field at

Hughes Stadium.

The Cougars come into the game at 1-3 with losses at Stanford,

at No. 21 Boise State and versus top-ranked Southern California.

Their lone win came against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a

barn-burner, 20-17.

John Beck has been the leader of the BYU offense, completing

50-of-85 passes for 736 yards, three touchdowns and three

interceptions. He did not play in the Stanford and USC games after

going down with a shoulder injury in the first half of the Notre

Dame game. Last week he came back against BSU to throw for 390

yards and two touchdowns even though the Cougars lost 28-27 to

Boise State.

“It’s going to be tough; our conference is going to be tough,”

said junior quarterback Justin Holland Saturday after a victory

over Montana State. “BYU beat Notre Dame and played a hell of a

game (Saturday).”

Beck’s main target this year has been junior receiver Todd

Watkins. This year Watkins has caught 24 passes for 509 yards and

two touchdowns. Watkins pulled down nine passes for 211 yards and

one touchdown last week on the famous blue Bronco Field.

“They (BYU) moved the ball well against Boise State,” said

junior wide receiver David Anderson. “So we have our hands full. We

have to have a good week of practice.”

The Rams should have an edge rushing the ball this week. Last

week Cougar running backs combined for only 25 yards versus Boise

State. CSU running back Uldis Jaunarajs carried the ball 17 times

for 79 yards and one touchdown last week versus Montana State.

“BYU is no slack – they almost beat Boise State,” Jaunarajs

said. “We performed all right, but not to the level we need to be

at.”

The Rams moved the ball well against the Bobcats, behind

Holland’s 311 passing yards and two touchdowns. Holland’s arm has

been the feature in a Rams offense that is still looking to get the

running game fully on track. He has thrown 94 passes for 1,245

yards and five touchdowns but has been plagued by inconsistency and

untimely turnovers with nine interceptions on the year.

“We just need to work on getting one score, and then just

putting the dagger in,” said sophomore wide receiver Dustin Osborn.

“(We need to) score right after on two consecutive, and three

consecutive drives.”

This season, the Rams will look to win their fourth MWC title,

but it will be tough. For BYU, it is the Cougars’ first test on the

road, and their record is misleading until looking at their

opponents. They are looking for their third MWC title. The game

starts at 8 p.m. Saturday night at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes

Stadium.

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