Oct 022008
 
Authors: Adam Bohlmeyer

Last season, the CSU Rams Football team went into their week seven matchup with the University of Nevada Las Vegas winless. They came out with an impressive 48-23 victory.

While the 2008 season has gotten off to a better start for the Rams, the green and gold are hoping the end result against the Rebels will remain the same.

CSU (2-2 0-0) is slated to host UNLV (3-2 0-1) Saturday in the Rams’ first conference game of the season.

CSU head coach Steve Fairchild is hoping to see a lot of growth from his team this weekend, especially his offense.

“We had our moments where we have flashed being a pretty productive offense, but we haven’t put it together for any length of time,” the first-year head coach said. “This will be a good opportunity to go out and take a step forward.”

CSU comes into Saturday’s matchup on a one-game losing streak, falling to the University of California 42-7 last week.

UNLV enters the showdown winners in two of their last three contests, including upsets of Arizona State and Iowa State. Both games were decided in overtime.

Rams safety Klint Kubiak knows that the Rebels’ upset wins were big and explained that will give them momentum.

“Their confidence is up from beating some big teams,” the junior said. “That could make them dangerous.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Peterson agreed,adding that it’s a whole new season when conference play begins.

“They are going to come in a confident football team,” the first year Ram coach said. “They have played well and have a couple of big wins early in the preseason. For us, we know that the preseason is over, and now it’s conference.”

The Rebels are led by quarterback Omar Clayton. The sophomore has had a solid season for UNLV thus far, passing for 1,104 yards and running for 150 more.

Fairchild knows that stopping the Rebels begins with stopping Clayton.

“He can run, pass and create plays,” he said. “They have designed runs for him so we are going to have to make sure

he’s accounted for. He’s certainly dangerous.”

Peterson added that rejuvenating the CSU running game is also a key to a Rams’ win.

Senior running backs Gartrell Johnson and Kyle Bell combined 231 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in last season’s victory against UNLV.

“Those guys ran with a passion last year,” Peterson said. “Just look at how many yards after contact they had. Good backs do that, and we are going to have to ramp up our running game.”

Saturday’s game is scheduled to kick off at noon at Hughes Stadium.

Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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