A CSU football team that is surrounded by turmoil takes the field Saturday against the University of Wyoming trying to snap a seven-game losing streak and possibly save coach Steve Fairchildâ€™s job.
Speculation has been rampant for the past few weeks about the status of the coaching staff. That picture was muddied even more Thursday when Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk was fired and replaced by Jack Graham.
Graham said itâ€™s too early to determine Fairchildâ€™s fate, but that a decision will be made â€œwithin a timeline thatâ€™s appropriate.â€
The job of the team is to now try and push all of the distractions aside and win back the Bronze Boot from Wyoming on the last game in the careers of 15 seniors.
â€œLast year we ended on a really bad note; it was a slap in the face,â€ offensive tackle Paul Madsen said. â€œI donâ€™t want anyone else to feel that, I think it will really help my teammates and the team to win this game and have that going into the off season.â€
To get the win against their rival, the Rams will have to deal with the Wyoming offense that is scoring almost 28 points a game and is led by freshman quarterback Brett Smith.
â€œHeâ€™s a dual-threat guy,â€ Fairchild said. â€œHe certainly can tuck the ball and go. Heâ€™s got some speed. Youâ€™ve got to be aware of his ability to run. Then they spread the ball out and throw the ball around that way. Theyâ€™ve got a good little scheme.â€
Smith is completing an impressive 61 percent of his passes while throwing 16 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions.
And on the ground he has rushed for 555 yards and 10 touchdowns on more than 100 attempts.
But for CSU, the focus isnâ€™t as much on Wyoming as it is on closing out the season the right way for a coaching staff that the players seem to be fully behind.
â€œI think weâ€™re on the right path and going in the right direction,â€ senior linebacker Myke Sisson said. â€œI feel like we have established that foundation that we can build on for next year. Iâ€™ve got total faith in the coaches.â€
And the seniors feel like it is part of their responsibility to finish the year on a winning note to push a young squad toward the road to success.
â€œUs seniors, just turning the team around and kind of catapulting this team into next year starting with a win and breaking that losing streak,â€ senior receiver Matt Yemm said. â€œItâ€™s a big deal for so many factors. A win in your last game is a big boost.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.
What: University of Wyoming vs. CSU
When: noon Saturday
Where: Hughes Stadium
Live chat: Collegian.com
What is your favorite memory at CSU?
â€œAll the camaraderie that Iâ€™ve had. All the people Iâ€™ve met. Those are the best memories: the relationships Iâ€™ve made.â€
â€œMy favorite memory is being a freshman, redshirting, getting to know everybody. And obviously as a redshirt freshman going to the bowl game.â€
â€œLast yearâ€™s Idaho game was really fun, winning on that last-second field goal and breaking that long losing streak. Just the excitement we had as a team was a lot of fun.â€
â€œBeating CU down in Boulder.â€