With their backs against the wall and a potential bowl game on the line, the Rams will travel to 'Sin City' to take on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday. After a loss last week, this week will end CSU's up and down regular-season filled with inconsistencies. However, it is not over until the Rams take on the Rebels with bowl eligibility this Saturday at 2 p.m.
On paper, the Rams should run the Rebels out of their home stadium, but as we saw last week, anything can happen in the Mountain West Conference. Head coach Sonny Lubick is still stressing the same thing from week one – stick to the basics.
"The bottom line is that we have to score some points and we have to be more consistent," said Lubick. "When we get across the 30-yard line, we have got to get some points on the board."
The Rams only scored 10 points against a San Diego State squad that allowed more than 27 points a game coming into the match-up. CSU allowed the Aztecs to score 30 points, something only three teams in the MWC have done to the Rams.
"On defense, we are giving up 20 points in the first half," Lubick said. "We got a nice blow to the chops, but we have to go back out, play, and bounce back."
The Rebels bring in an intriguing offensive attack that is centered around junior quarterback Shane Steichen, who was cleared to play this week after sitting out six games with a broken finger. Before being injured in the fourth game, Steichen was 29th in the nation in total offense. Steichen passed for 800 yards to go with seven touchdowns and just four interceptions. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound quarterback also has rushed for 244 yards and two scores on the season.
"It's been a real tough time sitting out and watching my team out there," said Steichen in a UNLV athletic press release. "I wanted to be out there so bad helping them and I am pretty excited to get back on the football field."
UNLV has lost seven of their last eight games behind junior college transfer Jarrod Jackson, who threw for 1,321 yards, six touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
"They play better at home and have that wide-open offense," Lubick said of the 2-8 Rebels. "They have taken their lumps, they have a lot of good young players…they will be playing their last game at home for their seniors."
In the Rams' last two games, they have given up 43 points and only have scored one touchdown to go along with three field goals.
Although the offense as a whole struggled last week against SDSU, sophomore running back Kyle Bell returned to mid-season form by running for 176 yards on 33 carries and CSU's only touchdown.
"We are throwing little wrinkles in the (offensive strategy), but nothing major, we are going out with the same attitude we have always had," Bell said about the upcoming game. "We know that this is a must win game, but we are still going to go out there and do what we have to do."
The Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego and Emerald Bowl in San Francisco would be likely destinations for the Rams if they win the game. This CSU team looks to become the 11th team in the Sonny Lubick era to become bowl eligible.
"It would be nice to go to a bowl, not only for the seniors, but for the whole team and for Colorado State," Lubick said.