FBC Colorado State v. Utah

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Nov 042004
 
Authors: Jon Pilsner

It all seems so familiar.

A team from a mid-major college football conference playing

top-notch football with athletes shunned by other larger schools. A

team ranked nationally, earning respect from the national media and

dominating the conference. A team with a coach nationally respected

for turning a program from nothing to a perennial contender.

It used to be CSU.

However, after a 7-6 season last year and a 3-5 start to this

one, CSU is no longer the top of the Mountain West. That title is

currently held in Salt Lake City, home of the Utah Utes.

Utah (8-0, 4-0 MWC), ranked sixth in the Bowl Championship

Series rankings, is trying to become the first non- BCS conference

school to earn a place in a BCS game. They are also the defending

MWC champs.

“I’d like to see a team break the BCS,” said junior wide

receiver David Anderson. “But, it’s not going to happen while I’m

at CSU unless it’s CSU.”

The Utes, who have averaged 46 points and almost 500 yards of

offense per game this year, are led by second-year head coach Urban

Meyer. Meyer is regarded as one of the best young collegiate

football coaches in the nation. He said CSU is the measuring stick

for his team.

“Right now, we’re a one-year wonder. Nothing more,” Meyer said.

“They are the champs several times over.”

Utah, winners of 12 straight games dating to last year, beat CSU

28-21 in the conference opener for both teams. In that game, CSU

lost four fumbles but still came back from a 21-7 deficit in the

fourth quarter to challenge the Utes before falling short.

Utah has dominated the MWC ever since.

The Rams hope to find their offense, one that has been

inconsistent all year. True freshman Caleb Hanie said the offense

needed to play with a sense of urgency to keep up with the

high-scoring Utes.

“We have to put some points on the board,” Hanie said. “It’d be

good to score consecutive touchdowns two or three times during the

game.”

Hanie also knows that turnovers will be a quick killer for

CSU.

“I’ve got to take care of the ball, and play error free

football,” Hanie said. “And you’re going to have to run the ball

well, too.”

The Utes also have the best scoring defense, giving up the

fewest points per game (18.4), and third in total defense (341

yards per game).

This game also carries more weight for CSU than normal. The Rams

must win their remaining three games this season to become eligible

for postseason play for a sixth consecutive year.

“We’ve been down a lot, especially this season,” Anderson said.

“But if we can pick up a win right here, we can make a lot of

things happen.”

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