This weekend is not a matter of revenge for the CSU Rams, it’s a matter redemption.
The Rams (3-0,0-0) are on their way to Provo, Utah, to face the BYU Cougars (2-1,0-0) in a rematch of one of last year’s most exciting all Mountain West Conference games.
The Cougars stole a win from CSU last season at Hughes Stadium, sneaking past the Rams in a thrilling 45-42 shootout. BYU won the game on a last minute touchdown pass from quarterback Max Hall to tight end Dan Pitta, breaking the hearts of many CSU loyal fans.
Wide Receiver Dion Morton, who had 129 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the loss, remembers the game well and is using it to muster up motivation for this year’s showdown.
“When I saw they were the fourth game of the season this past spring, I was already thinking about it,” the senior said. “I’m not one for revenge; it’s more about redemption. You get revenge when someone takes something from you that you didn’t own, and we owned that game. It gives our team confidence. Our defense is going to come out ready to play, and we will be fine.”
CSU offensive coordinator Greg Peterson admitted that the loss to the Cougars was tough to swallow but was hesitant to call it a reason to seek vindication.
“Any time that you lose a game in the last minute, that’s a hard loss,” the second year Rams assistant coach said. “You’re motivated to play a very good football team in BYU. You’re motivated to go on the road and be 1-0. Is there payback in mind? I don’t know if there is.”
Even though he acknowledges both teams’ offenses were impressive, Rams head coach Steve Fairchild said that BYU rightfully won last season’s game. The former quarterback shared that this season’s game might be even more important to the green and gold.
“They deserved to win the game last year, we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch to win,” Fairchild said. “This is a very important game for us. It’s a conference game. We’d like to think we could go on the road and win it.”
Morton said that he is expecting the Rams defense to step up more this year than a year ago, but explained the offense will be ready if this season’s game turns into another shootout.
The Rams offense struggled with consistency early this season, but stepped up last Saturday, dropping 35 points on Nevada.
“Who knew we were going to be ready last year,” Morton, a former high school quarterback said. “When the time comes, we step up. That’s why we practice so much and put in every play we have. I definitely think we are ready. It’s the same plays we had last year and even a little more.”
Fairchild is expecting the game to be more defensive than last season, but stressed that CSU has to be ready in any situation.
“We don’t plan on getting in shootouts, and I think we are a better defensive team this year,” he said. “We have to be ready to win 6-0 or 56-0, it doesn’t matter. We just have to be able to find a way to win.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 4 p.m. with television coverage shown on the Mtn. For a live in-game blog and analysis of the game, go to collegiansports.com.
Assistant sports editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.