If the CSU football team beats Nevada-Las Vegas in Las Vegas
Saturday, the Rams have a very good chance to go to a bowl game.
But don’t tell quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt that.
“Screw bowl games, screw the postseason,” Van Pelt said after
CSU’s 21-6 win against San Diego State Saturday. “Play for your
pride, play for yourself, play for your teammates.”
Van Pelt said he addressed the team with similar comments before
the SDSU game. He said sometimes the team has been caught worrying
about the future instead of the game ahead.
The Mountain West Conference has contracts with the Liberty
Bowl, the Las Vegas Bowl and the San Francisco Bowl. Utah clinched
a share of the conference title by beating Wyoming 47-17 Saturday
and looks to play in the Liberty Bowl. New Mexico looks like a
strong candidate for the Las Vegas Bowl, as the school travels well
and has wins against Utah, CSU and Air Force.
At 6-5 with a 3-3 Mountain West Conference record, the Rams are
tied for third in the MWC with Air Force and BYU, with Wyoming at
2-3. However, BYU has been eliminated from bowl contention and
Wyoming needs wins against New Mexico and UNLV just to become bowl
The San Francisco Bowl is contractually obligated to take the
highest remaining finisher in the MWC not selected by the Las Vegas
or Liberty bowls. So with a head-to-head win against Air Force, San
Francisco would have to take CSU over Air Force if both teams
finish 4-3 in the MWC. However, Las Vegas could conceivably select
Air Force, bumping New Mexico to San Francisco, but the MWC is
looking for a possible fourth bowl slot.
“For the players, you would like to see those kids earn and
deserve a bowl game,” said coach Sonny Lubick at his weekly press
conference Monday. “There’s always, every year, somebody that is
unhappy. The big thing we have to do is win and play real well, and
if that’s not good enough that’s not good enough.”
The Rams’ defense hopes to duplicate Saturday’s performance in
which they forced two interceptions and eight punts while only
giving up six points. Rams cornerback Ben Stratton said the defense
knew they could dominate teams all season, it was just a matter of
executing and playing with emotion.
“One thing I learned today is that you can’t play unless you got
emotion,” Stratton said after the SDSU game.
However, the linebacker corps is a little thin heading to Las
Vegas. With Eric Pauley already out for the season and Courtney
Jones nursing a knee injury, the Rams were hindered even further
Saturday when Jahmal Hall went down with a knee injury.
Lubick said Monday that Hall underwent an MRI exam and is
doubtful to play against the Rebels. That leaves junior college
transfer Adam Lancisero to get the start at linebacker with seniors
Drew Wood and Jeff Flora.
Lubick said Lancisero has impressed since arriving at CSU and
did well replacing Hall last week. Wood has his own injury problems
as he partially separated his shoulder against SDSU. However,
Lubick said he likely would play Saturday.
The offensive side looks healthier. Guard Albert Bimper is the
only starter not likely to play. However, Van Pelt is nursing
bruised ribs and running back Rahsaan Sanders has battled hip and
ankle injuries all season. Lubick said running back Jimmy Green
should get significant playing time against UNLV.