After losing two straight games and still having a bowl berth in their sights, the CSU Rams are as determined as ever to reach the post season.
Immediately in the Rams’ way stand the New Mexico Lobos (4-7, 2-5 MWC), a team CSU (4-6, 2-4 MWC) lost to on last second field goals the past two seasons — falling 20-19 in 2006 and 26-23 in 2007.
Senior linebacker Jeff Horinek, who will play his last game at Hughes Stadium Saturday, explained that this week’s game has taken on more importance for the Rams.
“We’re still trying to finish this season with six wins and finish with a bowl,” he said. “Every game you want to win, but this is something we really want.”
Head coach Steve Fairchild is well aware of what has happened the previous two seasons against New Mexico, even though he wasn’t a part of the Rams team at the time. The San Diego native said that it isn’t changing the way the team is viewing the conference.
“There is quite a bit on this game irregardless of what’s happened in the past,” the first-year head coach said. “We just know based on looking at them this year and seeing our games that this is going to be a very hard fought close game.”
Running back Kyle Bell said he’s ignoring the recent history of the match-up in preparing for the Lobos. The senior said that he is focusing on the present instead of letting past mistakes overshadow the Rams current situation.
“The fact is, it’s a conference game and a must win if we want any hopes at post season shot,” the Colorado native said. “The main thing in our minds is that we have to win this game regardless of what’s happened in the past. We have to care of business now.”
New Mexico is out of the race for a bowl berth in the MWC and can only hope to ruin the bowl hopes of CSU. Horinek explained that the Lobo’s situation reminds him of last year’s Rams team, and that makes them very dangerous. CSU’s bowl hopes ended in late October last season.
“They have nothing to lose,” the senior said. “All they want to do when they get knocked out is go try to screw everybody else up. That’s what we thought about last year. As soon as we were knocked out all we thought about was going to mess up other teams chances. Misery loves company.”
Defensive lineman Tommie Hill was back on the field for the Rams after sitting out Tuesday’s practice in street clothes. The senior dressed in shoulder pads, sweats and a red jersey during Wednesday’s work out.
Fairchild explained that Hill re-aggravated a shoulder injury against Air Force last Saturday and is unsure if how much action will see Saturday against the Lobos.
“Tommie (Hill) did a little bit today and he’ll do a little more tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll decide Saturday how much if any he can go.”
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com