Oct 262006
Authors: Aaron Schoonmaker

A tough road schedule this fall and some key wins have landed the CSU men’s rugby team in the top ten and placed them in a position to clinch the league at home in their finale this weekend.

Ranked seventh in the nation, the Rams finished their brutal fall road schedule with a win over No. 6 Air Force last weekend. CSU is 9-1 this fall and have seen their home field just once in nearly two months. The Rams’ fall finale will be a home contest this Saturday in a winner-take-league game against No. 4 New Mexico.

“We’re out to one of the best starts in school history, if not the best,” said Head Coach Blake Stevens of the team’s impressive start.

From the beginning of the season, Stevens knew it was going to be challenge having to play three of their four conference games on the road due to a quirky schedule. The Rams knocked off a Wyoming team on Sept. 24, which made a Sweet 16 appearance last year. Then they disposed of rival Colorado and nationally recognized Air Force the past two weeks. All three of those conference matches were on the road.

“We showed some real fortitude this season so far,” said senior Jake Silverman. “We got behind in a couple games early but were able to come back and that says a lot for our team.”

This Saturday stands to be the final conference hurdle for CSU.

“This weekend should be a good chance for us to show our fans how good we really are,” said Stevens. “We can get our team some recognition on campus for our great season.”

New Mexico comes to Fort Collins for the fall finale with an unbeaten conference record as well, making the stakes unequivocally high.

“It definitely helps us that they have to come out here,” said Silverman. “It’s always good when you get a chance to play with your fans on the sidelines.”

The top three teams from the conference, which right now figure to be CSU, New Mexico and Air Force, will advance to the West Tournament.

CSU won both meetings against the Lobos last season with the most recent game going in the Rams favor 22-15 in Albuquerque, N.M. on Oct. 29, 2005.

This Saturday’s start time is 1 p.m. on the intramural fields and will follow the women’s rugby team, which is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.

Staff writer Aaron Schoonmaker can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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