Two conference games: the first saw true freshman Caleb Hanie
come in at quarterback after junior starter Justin Holland went
down, while the Rams were trailing on the road with time running
out. The second was a rivalry, Hanie’s first start and will be the
first game in 19 that the leading receiver (David Anderson) will
not catch a pass. Most teams would write those off as two tough
losses, but the CSU Rams (3-4, 2-1 MWC) are riding their first win
streak this year, and looking for three in a row as the Lobos of
New Mexico (4-4, 2-2 MWC) come to Fort Collins.
“I’m just proud of ’em and everything we’ve been through this
year,” said head coach Lubick after a big win versus Wyoming last
week. “To come back and play like we have with a new quarterback,
we played some tough football teams early in the year, and we hung
in there and didn’t give up. In the last few ball games we’ve
played our best few ball games.”
In those wins, the defense has stepped up to allow just 24
points. Safeties Ben Stratton and Adam Lancisero have been leading
the way in the secondary making receivers pay for coming across the
middle. The Lobo offense is led onto the field by sophomore
quarterback Kole McKamey, who has thrown for 772 yards and three
touchdowns, but also has five interceptions on the season.
“It’s big time, we know our work isn’t done though,” said senior
H-back Joel Dreessen. “We got a big game this week to try ad make
it three in a row.”
The Rams will have to focus on the running game this week as the
Lobos are led by junior running back DonTrell Moore. Moore comes
into the game with 677 yards and three touchdowns, and has been
assisted by McKamey who has rushed for another 132 yards and four
touchdowns on the ground.
“The biggest thing is wrapping up the running backs,” said
senior Adam Lancisero. “The biggest thing is shutting down the run
this week. They are going to come with some play action pass, but
we’ll be ready for it.”
The Lobos will be trying to confuse freshman quarterback Caleb
Hanie with their defensive alignments and shifts. This week at
practice, the Rams have worked on helping the Hanie’s defensive
recognition and the offensive line and tight ends have been working
to recognize their assignments and changes as well.
“We gotta get our running game going. We gotta be physical. They
have a defense where they are going to try and confuse you and make
you tentative,” said senior offensive lineman Erik Pears. “We have
to just come off the ball physically and open up some holes.”
The Rams will also be relying on their running game to help
their quarterback get going as well. Coming off of their first solo
100+ yard rushing performance this season (Jimmy Green) the Rams
will need more to give the play action and down field routes time
to open up, and to chew up some of the clock.
“It’s a lot easier blocking for guys who can break that first
tackle,” said Dreessen. “Just because he’s such a powerful kid, it
makes it easier blocking knowing those 2-yard gains are going to be
turned into 5-yard gains.”
The Rams are coming off of an emotional victory in the Border
War versus Wyoming, but do not think a let down is in store for
them. They know they have to keep winning to reach their goals for
the end of the season.
“I’d say we have some confidence built up now,” Lancisero said.
“We are playing with a lot of emotion right now and having fun. We
have a great group of seniors right now, and you can just tell we
want to win.”
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on Saturday and the game will be televised
on ESPNplus, which can be seen on KTVD-20.