Rams primed for a smackdown

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Sep 242002
 
Authors: Lee Miller

One word: blowout.

That’s what we need from the Rams this weekend. One game of unadulterated, one-sided, hardnosed CSU football, that leaves the Nevada football players crying in their jockstraps.

The Rams need to ditch this last minute miracle crap and beat a team that we can beat with no questions left unanswered. And they will.

There are many great things to be said about a close football game, where all of the action goes down to the last minute and keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. And the Rams have done that this season – four times. And they’ve made a pretty good living out of it too.

But the margin of victory the Rams have put up in their three wins adds up to 14.

The Rams don’t really have any easy games this season. We all knew this at the beginning when they were able to beat three out of four big conference teams in order to gain national attention.

Next week they play Fresno State, and then it’s on to the conference schedule, which is never easy, no matter how the rest of the teams are playing.

That is why this is CSU’s week to make a statement.

What separates the BCS teams from the last 15 teams in the top 25? It’s their ability to beat big-conference teams and to consistently play well in their own conferences, which are normally very tough.

But all of the great teams, like the Florida teams and the Nebraskas and the Oklahomas, always set a few games aside to play little Eastern Tennessee State and the University of Baton Rouge so they can put on a clinic and show the rest of the nation how good they are at completely beating the tar out of the weak and overmatched. It also allows them to drive up point totals, pad stats and gives their teams a few low risk “practice” games before the big dogs come out to play.

Now obviously, the Rams haven’t reached this level yet. They are getting closer, but it is critical that they win the remainder of the games this season and do well in the Liberty Bowl. All of this will create attention going into next season, where the Rams will again have to beat tough, big-conference opponents in order to get recognition.

The Rams aren’t getting many chances to beat teams by 20 plus points, so now will be a good time to try. But it might not be as easy as it used to be.

Nevada is fired up this season. They’ve all ready beat BYU this year and they smell blood. They are especially interested in beating the Rams because CSU is 6-0 against the Wolfpack and has been administering whoopins to them for the majority of the series. In 2000, the Rams won 45-14 and last year they won 35-18.

Nevada is also a better team this season than they have been in the past. Quarterback Zack Threadgill threw for over 400 yards last week against Rice, and the Rams’ pass defense was suspect in the fourth quarter against Louisville.

Nevada has, however, been allowing 173.3 rushing yards per-game and has yet to face a running game that has a “Diesel.” Their pass defense will match up a little better, having recorded nine sacks this season.

It’s not going to be as easy for the Rams to put the smack down on Nevada as it has in the past. But they are definitely capable of doing it.

So if by chance the Rams find themselves in a blowout situation early in the game Saturday, they should take full advantage of it.

Because that’s what making a statement is all about.

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