|CSU vs Nevada photo Slideshow|
The type of football where the Rams pound the run, suck in the safeties and hit some big plays in the passing game is exactly what 29,101 people at Hughes Stadium saw. It was the fourth largest opening day attendance in school history.
The running game propelled the Rams to a 42-21 victory over the University of Nevada-Reno.
The first drive set the tone with sophomore running back, Kyle Bell, taking four consecutive handoffs to start the game. That set up a 26-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Justin Holland to sophomore wide receiver Johnny Walker on a play action fake to Bell.
"Running the ball with Kyle in there early in the game, we had a couple lapses there, but they knew we were trying to establish the run," said head coach Sonny Lubick. "We established (the run) pretty good, so I'm pleased."
That initial drive set the groundwork for the rest of the day. Bell, in his first career start, finished the day with 183 yards on 33 carries and one touchdown, all career bests. The 183 yards for Bell were the best for a Ram runner since Henri Childs rushed for 237 yards against Brigham Young in 2001.
"I knew what I had to do out there today," Bell said. "I was nervous obviously, but it feels so good for this team to get a win."
The first Ram win of the season coincides with the first time the Rams have won the rushing battle this year, out rushing the Wolfpack 257 to 95.
"This was huge for us, we needed a confidence booster like that going into conference play," said senior offensive tackle Mike Brisiel. "This was a huge victory for us, (Nevada) has some talent, but we came out with a goal, and we accomplished our mission."
The talent of Nevada lies with junior quarterback Jeff Rowe, who picked his way through the Ram defense for 324 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. In all, the Wolfpack ran up 419 yards of total offense on the Rams.
"I think Reno is a good football team, their quarterback is a good player, he gets the ball out of his hands quickly and gets it to the receiver quickly," Lubick said.
The Wolfpack made a valiant comeback attempt, coming within 7 going into the fourth quarter, but the Ram running game proved too strong.
The Rams rushed for a total of 111 yards in the final quarter behind the strong legs of Bell. Of Bell's 33 carries on the day 16 of them were gains of five or more.
That type of success will need to continue for the Rams as it will be essential to control the ball and time of possession against a run oriented Air Force team.
The Rams have a quick turnaround this week, with the Air Force game on Thursday night at Hughes Stadium.
"We have to turn around and be ready to go Thursday," Lubick said. "We have to get a lot done in two-and-a-half practices."
The Rams will be back to the practice fields today. Student tickets for the Air Force game will be available today at the McGraw Center and Student Center Service Desk.