Nov 012004
 
Authors: Jon Pilsner

Sonny Lubick knows his football team has a challenge this

week.

Coming off a 26-17 loss this weekend to New Mexico, the CSU head

coach said Monday that the Utah team the Rams play on Saturday may

be the best conference foe he’s seen in a few years.

“They’re probably as well-rounded football team as any,

offensively and defensively,” Lubick said at his weekly press

conference. “We’re going to have to play hard.”

The biggest problem in the Rams’ loss to UNM was consistency on

offense and special teams, Lubick said. CSU committed two turnovers

and gave up a big punt return to start the second half, all of

which sparked UNM to score 13-unanswered points and take a

permanent lead.

“You’re not going to beat many people when you turn the ball

over,” Lubick said. “The defense played pretty well. We, as

coaches, try to keep things in perspective.”

The Rams (3-5, 2-2 Mountain West Conference) must win the

remaining three games against Utah, UNLV and Air Force to become

eligible for postseason play. The Utes, ranked sixth in the Bowl

Championship Series rankings, will provide the toughest

challenge.

“I don’t think you can say ‘win out’ (to our team),” Lubick

said. “We just gotta go play one game at a time.”

Lubick said Utah quarterback Alex Smith, a Heisman Trophy

candidate, is a playmaker the Rams will have to worry about. Smith,

who leads the MWC in total offense, is a dual-threat passer, who

has 1,905 yards passing and 384 yards on the ground.

“(Smith) is very fluid, very composed,” Lubick said. “He not

only can run, but he can make people miss. He’s like a nice sleek

halfback.”

Utah, which averages over 43 points a game, averages almost 500

yards of offense per game this season.

“We’ll defense them well,” Lubick said. “We have a freshman

quarterback who will have to play excellent.”

As to the thought that CSU would prefer Utah win their remaining

games and make a BCS bowl, Lubick doesn’t see it that way.

“We go out to play and win, I’m sure Utah wouldn’t want it any

other way,” Lubick said. “We want this game as badly as we

can.”

Concerning injuries, Lubick said he received a list of 12

players who were injured in the UNM game this weekend. The most

serious was to defensive lineman Blake Smith, who suffered an ankle

injury after a questionable block. His status for Saturday’s game

against Utah is uncertain. Junior linebacker Courtney Jones is also

questionable. Redshirt freshman Nathan Pauly, who had four tackles

against UNM, is expected to start in place of Jones.

“(Nathan) played OK. He made redshirt freshman mistakes,” Lubick

said. “He’s going to be a good football player. He just has to grow

up faster than we expected.”

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