Sep 172002
 
Authors: Joelle Milholm

So the CSU football team may not be ranked as high as hoped, but there are still a lot of things to be excited about.

* Battling through the toughest opening schedule in school history, the Rams are 3-1. They have beat three exceptional teams and their only loss comes from No. 22 UCLA.

* According to the USA Today/EPSN poll, CSU still ranks 25th.

* Running back Cecil Sapp is third in the nation in rushing yards and is on off to a sensational year.

But the best part about this season, the thing that makes me smile when I wake up in the morning: CU isn’t ranked.

After the Buffs fell to CSU in one of the most exciting games ever, they lost again, this time to the University of Southern California. Although I am not sure if you can call it a loss, with a score of 40-3, it might be a massacre.

When CU’s statistics are compared to CSU’s, they look a little ridiculous. CU’s quarterback Robert Hodge threw nine passes for one completion of only 20 yards, with one interception and three sacks on Saturday. CU’s rushing game was just as pathetic, with 35 attempts for 37 yards.

CSU on the other hand, got 496 total yards on Saturday, with quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt going 11-for-25 with 170 yards, and Sapp rushing 30 times for 130 yards and three touchdowns. As for CSU’s defense, well, Louisville ran 32 times for 72 yards. Yeah, that is an average of only 2.25 per carry. A defensive shutdown like that will work any day.

It seems like this country fails to see that there is more than one college football team in Colorado. Although CU does have a strong, successful history, CSU is knocking on the door with six bowl invites in nine years and ranking in the top 15 in the nation in total victories since 1994. CSU is here to play and here to stay.

The Rams are also building a strong core of alumni in the NFL with 10 guys playing on nine teams. Linbacker Joey Porter, who is in his fourth year since graduating, tops this list after a great season last year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And he’s off to a good start this year after a fantastic Sunday night game, picking off two of Raider Rich Gannon’s passes.

CSU’s list may not be as long or distinguished as CU’s, with Kordell Stewart running the show in Pittsburgh and Bronco stars Tom Rouen and Matt Lepsis making impacts in Denver, but it’s getting there.

The Rams have nine games left, seven of which will be against all of the other opponents in the Mountain West Conference. There has been criticism that CSU can’t put teams away and allows the final score to be a little closer than it should be. But the bottom line is the Rams are getting victories.

If they can put together four strong quarters of football and win conference games, fans should be very excited about how far the Rams can go.

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