In the last home game of the season, CSU finally got the win it was looking for.
The Rams made big plays on offense and defense, blowing the Rebels out 45-10. At his weekly press conference at C.B. & Potts, head coach Sonny Lubick praised his team's play, especially on defense.
"Defensively we kept everything in front of us and kept (UNLV) at bay for the most part and produced some turnovers," Lubick said. "All of the defense played their assignments well and that is why we didn't have any huge plays against us."
Lubick also saw bright spots on the offensive side of the ball, but he would have liked to see more.
"I thought the offensive line blocked well enough to get some 20-yard runs, but when Marcus (Houston) ran through, a guy would stick out an arm and take him down. We need to break some of those tackles. Sometimes it is luck or sometimes it is able to explode through those holes," Lubick said.
Toward the end of the game, CSU was able to play second- and third-string players who aren't used to seeing a lot of playing time.
"It is good (to get them in). It seems like we have three games each season where we can do that, but that hasn't happened this year," Lubick said. "This was our first chance."
Sophomore linebacker Luke Adkins, who suffered a knee injury against UNLV, will most likely not be returning for the Air Force game. Original starter Courtney Jones, freshman Nathan Pauly, and Adam Lancisero, who made the transition from safety last week, are expected to be the starting linebackers on Saturday. The Rams have struggled to stay healthy at the linebacker position all season.
"Luke has been playing really good for us. Jahmal (Hall) would be good in a game like this because he is so quick and could make some open-field tackles, but they are not here," Lubick said. "We started the season with seven linebackers and we are down to two from the original seven. It will be difficult for us, but it also gives us a chance to evaluate some new players."
Currently sharing the fourth-place spot in the Mountain West Conference, the Rams have no bowl game to look forward to for the first time in five years.
"It is sad for the seniors. It is sad for everyone. There is no doubt that there is excitement in practicing for a bowl game," Lubick said. "It would be a lot more fun if we would have won one or two more games this season. It is always exciting and fun to go to bowl games."
Now the Rams will focus all of their attention to the season finale at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Air Force.
"Air Force is a team we have had some real close games with. It is two teams who are going to play hard. There will be no give up, no quit," Lubick said. "It is a good rivalry, a great stadium to play in and our guys are going to go out and play. It is not just another game to close out the season, it will be important to everybody."
If the Rams win, they will end the season with a winning conference record of 4-3.
"It is always fun to win your last two games. I think we have all the motivation we need," Lubick said. "The seniors are playing hard and it would be nice to win."