Senior running back Nnamdi Ohaeri will always remember his first game at Hughes Stadium.
He just might not want to remember his last.
“I remember my first game at Hughes,” said Ohaeri. “I got here and saw all the support the fans gave their football team. It’s always been my opinion that you have to have a sense of school spirit and stick with your team through thick and thin. I came in on a high note and left on a sour note.”
For this year’s group of seniors, it doesn’t get much more sour than the 45-14 clobbering they endured at the hands of the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday night.
To add insult to injury, Saturday’s senior night drew in the smallest crowd of the season – a crowd that continually shrunk as the game went on.
The small crowd disappointed some of the seniors, but they held themselves responsible for the small turnout.
“It hurts to not have the support of our classmates, but I don’t blame them,” said Clint Oldenburg. “We wish they would be behind us 100 percent, but in reality it’s not fun to come out here and watch us get beat like this. I wish it could be different.”
The whole team wishes things could have been different in a day marked to celebrate the careers of their seniors. After the Rams’ last loss to Utah that officially erased any chance of postseason play, Head Coach Sonny Lubick was asked what there was left to play for.
“The seniors,” said Lubick. “They’ve been warriors all season.”
But in a year when things seemed to always go from bad to worse, it appeared that a win over one of the hottest teams in the conference was too much to ask for.
Despite the fact that the loss marked the last time the seniors would run through the tunnel in front of a home crowd, their disheartened expressions after the game weren’t about never playing in Fort Collins again.
These guys are just sick of losing.
“It was a disappointing game, it’s been a disappointing season,” said Oldenburg. “Ram football should not be like this. My first game at Hughes was against Minnesota and we lost, it wasn’t a great memory. I thought that better times were ahead, but we just haven’t been able to do all we’ve wanted.”
Although not the perfect ending to their careers at Hughes, the class of ’06 said the loss wouldn’t affect them more than any of the other losses this season.
“Obviously it’s burning me thinking we couldn’t get a win,” said Dustin Osborn.
“But one game doesn’t define me as a player. This game is a little special because it was the last, but I went out every game and every practice like it could have been my last. That’s what these coaches asked of us and I’ve tried to do it my whole career.”
This season has been a trying one for the Rams. While the losses piled up, the fans’ support disappeared. On Saturday, with Hughes virtually empty when time expired, the team did what they’ve been doing all year – got support from each other.
“Down the road I’m not going to remember the win or the loss,” said Oldenburg.
“I’m going to remember the guys and the coaching staff. We go through the tough times and the good times together. We all wanted to be able to remember a win tonight, but it didn’t happen.”
Football beat writer Brett Okamoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.