Oct 262010
 
Authors: Joel Hafnor

What a difference one week can make.

Just seven days removed from a convincing 43-10 victory over UNLV, the CSU Rams (2-6, 1-3 MWC) were throttled in Salt Lake City by the No. 8 Utah Utes.

In the loss, the Rams’ defense was manhandled to the tune of 648 yards and 59 points. And though CSU faces the winless New Mexico Lobos this weekend ­–– a team producing just 269 yards of total offense per game ­–– defensive adjustments remain the primary focus at practice this week.

CSU senior linebacker, and leading-tackler, Ricky Brewer believes the defense must have the attitude of a champion in order for the Rams to start playing like one.

“This is our chance to go out and redeem ourselves,” Brewer said. “Make a statement and show everyone what we’re about.”

For the first time this season, the Rams will game plan for a true freshman quarterback, as the Lobos are expected to start Tarean Austin on Saturday. In five games played this season, Austin has averaged below 100 yards passing per game and has four interceptions to just two touchdowns.

Senior middle linebacker Alex Williams says the team will approach the Lobos like it would any other opponent.

“There’s no difference in scheme, and we are going to practice just as hard,” Williams said. “We don’t treat the quarterback any differently if he’s a senior or if he’s a freshman.”

Coach Steve Fairchild said he expects to get junior running back Raymond Carter back in action to some capacity this weekend. Carter, who has accounted for 279 yards of total offense and three scores, has been sidelined with a knee injury since leaving in the first half of the TCU game on Oct. 2.

“I think we are almost at full availability. We’ll get Raymond (Carter) back to some degree (this week),” Fairchild said. “I’m speculating, but based on what he did last week out on the field I’d be surprised if Raymond didn’t play some snaps for us at running back.”
 
The Rams have been decidedly better at home this season, averaging better than 26 points a game at Hughes Stadium compared to the 10.4 points per game they’ve managed on the road. The team will look to continue that trend as it hosts the New Mexico, one of the two remaining winless schools in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

Assistant Sports Editor Joel Hafnor can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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