CSU football has looked like two very different teams this season.
The Rams (3-6, 2-3 MWC) have been thoroughly dominant at home, with the exception of a loss against No. 3 TCU in early October.
They average just fewer than 30 points a game at home and that is including scoring zero points against the Horned Frogs, while surrendering a shade more than 21 within the friendly confines of Hughes Stadium.
Then there are the road Rams.
CSU gives up on average 47.5 points to opponents on the road and scores severely less at 12.25 points per game.
Coach Steve Fairchild has been looking for consistency away from home in order to produce the type of season he expects.
â€œWe have to find a way (to win on the road) because thatâ€™s what good football teams do; they find a way to win on the road against good teams,â€ Fairchild said. â€œSo it will be a big challenge for us. But with the program that we want to be, we have to figure out how to win a game like this Saturday.â€
Saturday CSU faces San Diego State (6-2, 3-1), sitting in third-place in the Mountain West Conference standings and boasts the No. 22 scoring offense in the country.
The Aztecsâ€™ formula for success has been to beat teams deep with the long pass and run the ball with talented true freshman running back Ronnie Hillman.
The combination is potentially dangerous for a defense that has struggled this year when facing high-powered offenses.
According to CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr, there is a connection between the tough part of the schedule and the failure on the road.
â€œI think some of it has to do with the teams weâ€™ve played,â€ said Kerr at Tuesdayâ€™s practice. â€œYou like playing at home, obviously, but some of the teams weâ€™ve played at home we matched up with better than some of the teams weâ€™ve played on the road.â€
The teams CSU has played on the road have a combined record of 25-9, while the teams it has faced at home have a combined record of 14-19, nine of those wins coming from the Ramsâ€™ only home loss to TCU.
The players look at this upcoming week as a chance to prove they can win on the road and a sign of a young team growing up with experience.
â€œI just feel like weâ€™re going to compete out there and try to beat those boys,â€ redshirt freshman running back Chris Nwoke said. â€œWeâ€™ve struggled on the road, but I feel like weâ€™re putting all three phases together each week and weâ€™re going to have a good week and beat those guys.â€
San Diego will not feel like a road game for all the players, however. Quarterback Pete Thomas is from the area and is expecting to receive lots of support from friends and family.
â€œItâ€™s going to be pretty cool, Iâ€™m obviously excited,â€ Thomas said. â€œI grew up going to that stadium.â€
Football Beat Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.