When it comes to road trips, CSU football has had some flat tires the past few years.
The Rams have struggled away from Hughes Stadium since 2004, with a dismal road record of 4-11, not counting games against Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
This year’s team gets a chance to start a better streak when the Rams (0-2) travel to take on the Houston Cougars (1-1) tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. (CSTV).
It will be the Rams’ first road trip of the season and is the first of two games in Texas, as they face TCU the following Saturday in Fort Worth.
Coach Sonny Lubick said he can’t quite put a finger on what has caused the recent road wearies.
“In the past, we went down to Virginia thinking that it would be hot and muggy and we pulled it out there and won,” Lubick said. “Usually it doesn’t have too much to do with the road, it has more to do with how your team is playing and whom you’re playing.”
Since his arrival in Fort Collins in 1993, the Rams have picked up road wins against quality programs such as Michigan State, California and most recently Fresno State, whom the Rams defeated 35-23 last year.
Senior defensive lineman Erik Sandie said the key to that road victory, which he called the team’s “best win of the year,” was preparation.
“That’s an away game with a mean crowd and we played pretty well,” Sandie said. “And the reason we beat them was because we out-conditioned them. They were telling us on the field – how are you guys still going?”
But that was the only road highlight of the 2006 campaign, as the Rams proceeded to lose all their remaining away games.
“I think people can lose focus when you go on the road,” said Sandie. “Some people get their minds elsewhere. You get talked to by the fans and you lose focus sometimes and that can be huge.”
Co-offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt said he feels this year’s team is less prone to struggle on the road than previous years.
“I think this team this year has nothing to do with past teams,” he said. “We’ve got some experience, we’ve got some confidence. Last year it seemed that every game it felt like, we got to be perfect or else we’re going to be in trouble.”
But Hammerschmidt had a simple explanation for the Rams’ poor road record.
“I think it’s probably more of us not being good enough the last few years,” he said.
With the team off to an 0-2 start, the window of opportunity to improve is getting smaller.
But there might not be a more perfect way to start a win streak than on the road.
“I’d always rather play at home,” Lubick said. “But going on the road, it usually comes down to how well our team is playing, how well we are executing.”
CSU’s road record the last three seasons: